There’s something special about a bicycle. A milestone from those halcyon days of childhood. That giddy rush of butterflies fluttering around your stomach as your parent or caregiver lets go of that seat for the first time without the training wheels. It’s a life changing moment when you find your balance and you realize the freedom this accomplishment grants you. For some of us, childhood was the only chapter containing bicycles, but for others, it was the beginning of a lifelong love.
Bobby and I took a bike tour while on our honeymoon in Juneau, Alaska. The brochure promised the tour would “end with beer.” Be still our hearts! Our tour did indeed end with beer when we rode up to Alaskan Brewing Co. What a delight since this was back before they began distribution down south.
Look around at other craft breweries and you’ll probably notice some bikes chained outside, cycling jerseys for sale, or even a historic bike shop just next door—so what’s the deal with bikes and beer? It could be the popularity of New Belgium Brewing Co.’s Fat Tire and other bike-themed beers. The employee-owned New Belgium encourages their employees to bike to work and even give bikes upon employment milestones. Bobby and I have seen this bike/beer dyad not only in Ft. Collins, Colorado, but also across the country-there must be something more than marketing.
My theory? It’s all about that feeling you had as a kid. That freedom you felt when you asked “Can I go to Jenny’s house?” and you’d get “Be back for dinner!” You’d hop on your two-wheeled stallion and ride!!
I’m now approaching 40, but still feel that freedom when I put on my helmet and climb on my bike. To Jenny’s this time? That would be weird as Jenny and I haven’t spoken in 30 years. I start to pedal with no set path but a clear destination: McFleshmans! I’ll meet friends there for a pint and share stories while the music plays. The local pub is my third space – that place where work and home can’t quite fill and my bike is my sidekick keeping me young and connecting me to that kid...this time, with a beer. (Being an Adult has its perks!)
And then there are our avid cyclists, who gracefully dominate the pavement with their arched backs and eagle-like turns (I think of you Angie!). Like gazelles of the Serengeti, they too need a watering hole. A place to go that always welcomes and never rushes you out (Not being a restaurant also has its perks!).
So whether you’re like me and just ride around town, or you take the cyclist role and ride for hours, you’re welcome at McFleshmans. The place you can relax, sit back, and have a beer.
And while you’re here, take a walk next door to Appleton Bicycle Shop, which has been around since 1939! They have become great friends of ours as we share a common goal—to be a community cornerstone. We’ll be celebrating their 80th anniversary at the 600-block party on June 22 when we, and the other 600-block businesses, take over State Street with music, food, bikes, and of course, beer! Cheers and please always wear a helmet! P.S. If you buy a bike at Appleton Bicycle Shop, bring your receipt over to the taproom the same week and we’ll buy you a pint!