Bikes And Beer: Could There Be A Better Combination?

Colorado is known for two things: world-class mountain bike trails and seriously good beer. We went along to do some testing...

Bob with my fellow Beer & Bike riders from Missouri. Photo: Nina Zietman
Bob Williams with my fellow Beer & Bike riders from Missouri. Photo: Nina Zietman

“You know, this isn’t like anywhere else in America, right?” It was my first time in Colorado but I already knew this bartender was right.

While the rest of America is shadowed by rising obesity figures and a strange aversion to passports, Colorado attracts a different crowd.

The state is a mecca for adventure lovers, marked on the map for its mountain bike trails and craft beer breweries. I’m here to try both.

Beyond the skyscrapers of Denver lies the university town of Fort Collins. This where I meet Bob Williams, the founder of Beer & Bike Tours.

As the name suggests, he takes visitors on a guided mountain bike tour followed by a trip to number of the town’s craft breweries.
“Fort Collins is no bigger than Brighton, but it’s home to 14 breweries with anOTHER 50 less than an hour away”
As I pulled up in Fort Collins, I expected to find an enthusiastic cyclist dressed all in lycra. Bob greeted me warmly. Enthusiastic, yes – but no lycra.

Bob’s two greatest passions are beer and bikes. It was only after he’d spend a decade living in Germany and Japan with his family that he discovered he could turn his hobby into a business.

Tired of visiting the same old local bars in the Japanese city of Kobe, Bob and his friends set off to explore the city’s beer scene on bikes. “It became quite a regular thing!” says Bob.

One of the many tasting trays sampled on our tour. This one's from Odell Brewing Co. Photo: Nina Zietman
One of the many tasting trays sampled on our tour. This one’s from Odell Brewing Co. Photo: Nina Zietman

When he moved back to Colorado, Bob turned his hobby into a fully-fledged business called Beer & Bikes Tours. Now he runs tours around America’s beer capital, Fort Collins, as well as the rest of the US, Germany, Italy, Copenhagen and Japan.

Historically, Americans haven’t got the best reputation for beer. Oversized pitchers of light tasteless beer come to mind. It was back in the late 1980s that Fort Collins became a hub of the country’s microbreweries.

Fort Collins is no bigger than Brighton, but nowadays it’s home to 14 breweries with an extra 50 in the Greater Denver area alone. No wonder the area has fostered a reputation for being the craft beer capital of the US. But first, the biking…

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