The Sober Cyclist

Portland is a trendy place these days. We’re so far ahead of the curve that we’re starting to circle back. The other day, I considered treating out of town guests by picking up vegan doughnuts at Voodoo Doughnuts – except it’s still so very trendy that the line was an hour long. For the record, Petunia’s Pies and Pastries is all vegan, with a lot less waiting, and a lot more choice.

One of the trends Portland is known for is beer – microbrews, craft brews, artisanal brews, you name a brew, we’ve got it. Now, it happens that I’m not a beer drinker. I’ve tried. In college, I tried a lot, but the fact is that I like sweet, fruity drinks. A couple of decades ago, when Portland wasn’t quite so cool, but still liked beer, I tried fruit beers – and chili beers, and cocoa beers, and basically any food you can put in a beer. I tried them all, and after careful consideration, I came up with a single unifying principle that encapsulated all the things about them I didn’t like: beer.

So I’ve missed out on one of Portland’s trends. But all is not lost. Portland’s also known as a bike-friendly city. We have group rides, health rides, naked rides, you name it, we’ll ride for it. It was only a matter of time until someone came up with a way to bring some of the trends together.

The folks at BrewCycle came with this undoubtedly clever idea – let’s put people on bikes, fill them up with beer, and set them loose on the city. I’m guessing that the original version was put on hold after they lost cyclists to the treacherous Willamette River. Or maybe it was just Portland’s famous communal spirit. In any case, what they now offer a bike/van/rickshaw hybrid in which a dozen people pedal (or likely, half pedal, and half fake it) and a jovial conductor takes them from bar to bar.

“It’s genius!” you say. “Where can I sign up?” It is genius. And you can sign up. There’s just one teensy detail they didn’t think through. Drinking, it turns out, makes people drunk. Drunking, in turn, makes people loud. So when you combine artisanal micro-craft beer and healthy social cycling, what you get is a dozen happy, noisy drunks wandering from bar to bar shouting their lungs out.

It looks like a good time. Try it out. Just make sure it’s not in your neighbourhood. Or mine. Or just go for doughnuts instead.

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