Bikes & Beers: A match made in heaven

Relaxed paced cycling events centered around a brewery, happening in a city near you.

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Some things are just made to go together: Peanut butter and jelly, Oreos and milk, Calvin and Hobbes. Add to that list one more thing: cycling and beer.

Go for a ride with friends and have a beer together. It’s a satisfying combination and a day well spent — and it’s the simple yet effective premise of the Bikes & Beers events held at breweries across the country.

Riders can choose between a 15-, 30- or 45-mile ride at a friendly pace, complete with coffee and breakfast beforehand, and rest stops along the way. Things are only getting started after the ride. Each Bikes & Beers event has an afterparty at the host brewery with live music, food trucks and, of course, beer.

Like so many events, Bikes & Beers has humble origins. While a nutrition grad student in San Diego, founder Sam Accardi, a recent transplant from Philadelphia, liked getting to know his new city by bike. He would do bar crawls with friends on bikes, which eventually led to partnering with local cycling advocacy organization BikeSD on a bar-crawl style event with four breweries. They were expecting at most 100 people to show up. Eight hundred did. “It was a flashbulb moment,” says Accardi, who realized the potential for this style of event. 

That was in 2013. After returning home to the east coast, Accardi organized another event in Philadelphia to great success. Since then, he’s been adding more events year after year, and event organizing has become a full-time job.

In 2022, there are 24 events across 14 states in locations as varied as Portland, Maine to winter reprieves in San Diego and Tampa, Florida. Over half the events are still to come, leaving plenty of opportunities to find one nearby this year.

While the expanding calendar of events started with Accardi reaching out, somewhat selfishly he admits, to breweries he liked and wanted to work with, now there’s so much buzz around the events that breweries are reaching out to him. And the events remain popular year after year. Seven of this year’s events are in their seventh year. 

Pricing starts at $40 for the 15-mile ride and goes up to $90 for a same-day entry to the 45-mile ride. And if you don’t want to ride, spectator tickets are available for the afterparty without the ride.

Participants get a pint glass made specifically for each event, two drink tickets, a beer koozie, and promotional giveaways — about a $100 value all in Accardi says. And there’s a charity component to the event as well. Each entry comes with a raffle ticket to win one of 10 prizes, with a total value of about $3,000.

No matter how far you want to ride, or even if you don’t want to ride at all, there’s a Bikes & Beers event for every cyclist.  

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