Bikes, beers, and a backstreet adventure with a bunch of riders exploring the city, set against the grey backdrop of a drizzly autumn Melbourne day.
The idea for the Bikes and Beers Adventure was a simple one, formulated with our friends from Bridge Road Brewers, who share our passion for cycling and craft beer. Following our recent collaboration on the Life in the Peloton beer, we wanted to celebrate Good Beer Week by getting together with a group of like-minded lovers of bikes and beer to explore our own backyard in Melbourne. I wanted to design a course that would show people a back roads way around the city, carefully avoiding traffic while hitting up a few of my favourite local craft breweries.
And so, the Bikes and Beer Adventure was born. We set off from the laneways of inner-city Melbourne, from the Rapha Cycling Club HQ at Brick Lane, and headed for the gritty streets of the inner north suburbs of Preston and East Brunswick. It was early afternoon, and the sky was already grey with a light drizzle, something Melbourne cyclists are more than used to.
From the laneways of the CBD, we headed north for our first stop at a bar close to my heart – The Iron Bar. Also known as my old man Wazza´s very own backyard bar, where many a beer and good time has been had over the years.
By the time we had made the 23km journey there, everyone was well and truly thirsty. Mum and Dad served us in the backyard, told a few tales, and then farewelled us on our way, as we headed off towards Moon Dog World in Preston.
From this early stage, the group was starting to split, and many a war story was told once we regrouped together at Moon Dog. We needed a beer or two and a chat to refresh, and then we hit the roads of Preston again in search of Tallboy & Moose.
From here, it was through the backroads to East Brunswick, via the infamous Brunswick Velodrome, in search of the lofty premises of the newly opened Gales Brewery. At each of the stops, the group had split, but we regrouped each time, and everyone took on the adventure their own way. There were a few shortcuts taken, while some others were determined to do the whole thing to the letter, but we all met at each brewery and shared stories of our adventure. Each of the segments created its own little mini tale, like a series of short war stories. Someone took a shortcut, someone got lost, someone was covered in mud, someone took a tumble – but spirits remained high regardless.
Although it was already dark and getting late, we made our final journey, to the Bridge Road Brewers pop-up in East Brunswick, with its bar made entirely of cardboard. We sank a few of BRB´s finest to round out our journey, before saying our goodbyes and finishing up an incredible day of exploring.
The riding was longer and harder than I anticipated – which meant that we rode a good chunk of the day in the dark with just our front lights for guidance, and the conditions were tricky after a fair bit of rain hit the day before. We got a little bit off-road, hit a bit of single track, tackled a few hard climbs, got muddy, rode some new routes through the suburbs, and even did a few laps of the infamous Brunswick Velodrome, under lights. Although it would be hard to pick a highlight from the day, it was a special moment hitting the velodrome of my own club with some of the amazing fans and supporters of Life in the Peloton.
All told at the end of the adventure, it was all I had hoped for it to be – and I suspect I have got the legs to put together another fun adventure very soon. Stay tuned!