Bikes & Beers is returning to San Diego for a third year! It’s one of our favorite events. You can get tickets HERE (and we’re not even getting paid for saying so).
Saturday, March 26th, 2016
Bikes & Beers Ride
10:00 AM Saturday
1102 Market St
San Diego, CA 92101
Last fall we tagged along on the Bikes and Beers brewery ride in North County. The guys are back with another ride and new format March 28th in Downtown San Diego. This time instead of short rides from brewery to brewery, there will be one longer ride with a beer & music event at the new Quartyard facility downtown. We sat down with John & Tim of B&B over beers at Barrel Republic to talk about the new format and what people can expect from the new ride. You can get more info about Bikes & Beers, check out the ride map, and buy tickets on their website where they remind you to “Bike With Friends. Sample Beer. Support Charity. Have Fun!!”
SoCal Sessions: This Bikes and Beers has a big change from previous ones in that instead of riding from brewery to brewery there is just one long ride and festival at the end. Why the change? and do you think the new format will scare off more casual riders?
John: So part of the change was capacity issues. Our last event here (Downtown San Diego) we were completely maxed out capacity. Because brewery spaces are fairly small. So we wanted to get a big space to accommodate a bigger group at one time. That was one part of it. In terms of casual riders we think this will make it, the biking, easier and more enjoyable. Were not constrained to certain destinations (breweries). We can route the ride according to the best topography. And we’re going to have pit stops along the way so you’ll still have a chance to rest along the river, along Sunset Cliffs. Kind of nice picturesque spots to sit for a bit. We think instead of having a little of beer while you’re stopping, which kind of makes you tired and want to stay (at the brewery) longer, you’ll be looking forward to getting down to the end where you’ll have a wide selection of beers, full pints and music. So you can sit, relax and talk to people. You won’t feel like, “Ahh, I gotta get back on the bike. Instead of 4 hours for the ride it will be like 2 1/2 hours. Then you can stay as long as you want. I think for casual riders, the ride itself will be quite a bit easier.
Tim: I think part of the hope too is that we’ll be able to get engaged more in the civic discourse of biking as a means of transportation. That by doing a brewery to brewery tour there is the perception that it is a pub crawl, and if we do this style where we have a ride that is just a ride we can route it on existing infrastructure and have it be this big ride that is safe and people can enjoy it. I think we do a better job of targeting that goal of engaging more that that discourse on bicycles as transportation with this format.
SoCal Sessions: How many riders are you anticipating for this event?
John: Our goal is 1500 so I’d say that is how many we are anticipating. Last year for this event we had over 750. We sold out 600, added tickets due to demand, then sold that out again within 24 hours. So, I think there was appetite we didn’t satisfy last year so we hope to accommodate that and grow this year.
SoCal Sessions: How does the word get out? How do people know about this event?
Tim: We use a variety of things. Using Facebook is big. We have over 3000 likes on our FB page. We try to do a lot of social media stuff. We poster. Kind of a variety of places; breweries, coffee shops, colleges. Any kind of business that would be friendly, and kind of germain to what we are doing.
John: I think word of mouth is our strongest thing. We have a big e-mail list but people that came out last year, I think, had an excellent time. Hopefully they’ll come back this and bring friends too.
…we do donate a lot to non-profits. Between 20-60% of any events proceeds goes to non-profits, typically bicycle advocacy, but we’ve also done animal rights treatment charities, environmental charities. – John
SoCal Sessions: One thing I was thinking about with this event is that there is this cross-population of people who are beer drinkers and passionate bike riders. It’s almost like this stereotype because of companies like New Belgium or Sierra Nevada. What do you think the connection between beer and biking is? For you guys, you’ve created this entire event based on those two concepts. Where does that connection come from?
Tim: I think for me it’s a quality of life discussion. I think biking is a really satisfying way to get around places, and to experience a much slower way than being in a car the environment in which you live. And beer, for me, craft beer is also a thing where I can sit and appreciate and enjoy something I’m not just throwing down because I’m going to get drunk over it. So that’s, I guess, the first thing that came to mind is that they both kind of represent these quality experiences I value.
John: Yeah, similar for me. I studied abroad in London, and my first exposure to beer culture if you will was the pub culture in London. Which is just amazing. I think it influenced how I view beer as a means to conversation, a good place to sit with friends and talk for a few hours. And so, for me, they are separate but they interlock pretty well. So the beer is about sitting and talking, and talking in this case about how to make our city better. And I think making it better for walking, biking is a huge part of that.
SoCal Sessions: Is Bikes & Beers a non-profit or not a non-profit?
John: Not a non-profit. We are an LLC. We’re four regular dudes, I’d say. Two “stay-at-home” dads, one social worker and one nutritionist. But we do donate a lot to non-profits. Between 20-60% of any events proceeds goes to non-profits, typically bicycle advocacy, but we’ve also done animal rights treatment charities, environmental charities. We’ve discussed being a non-profit. We decided to be an LLC because it is a little more straightforward to say what we are doing instead of say hiding a fee in the non-profit shell which is kind of the traditional model for similar events, I would say.
SoCal Sessions: Are helmets mandatory?
Tim: We ask everyone to wear a helmet. You have to be 21 to drink obviously. Then, just in general participation, for our peace of mind and our desire for everyone to have a safe experience we ask everyone to have a helmet on.
John: And on the 21 item, all our previous events were 21 only, but the new model allows us to accommodate people below 21. So it is an all ages event, but you have to be 14 & up to ride by yourself.
Tim: We’ve had a lot of requests in the past from people who say, “I want to bring my teenage son,” or “my daughter turns 18 this year. Can she come on the ride?” and we’ve had to say no up to this point. But I think we’re excited to be able reach out to a wider audience and have people who have families who want to come participate, and now we can do that.
SoCal Sessions: Anything else you want “On the record?”
John: Come out it’s gonna be awesome!
SoCal Sessions: Well “Cheers” to that.
You can get tickets HERE
Saturday, March 26th, 2016