Bike Culture May Have a Problem—Alcohol

In 'Bicycling,' Gloria Liu suggests the cycling world drinks too much
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 10, 2023 12:14 PM CST
Cycling Is Healthy. So Why the Deep Connection to Beer?
Stock photo.   (Getty/Olga Ryazantseva)

A few years ago, Gloria Liu wrote a story in Bicycling magazine about how great the "post-ride beer" is in the parking lot, especially with a group of riding friends. Now comes a story in the same magazine with a different bent and a headline asking, "Does Cycling Have a Drinking Problem?" Liu makes the case that it does, and she explores how it came to pass that alcohol—usually beer—has become "so ingrained in bike culture." And that's not just in post-ride socializing, writes Liu: "It's in the bike shops, where customers still tip mechanics in six-packs. It's been at industry trade shows like Interbike (R.I.P.) and Sea Otter, where bros in flat-brim caps drink openly while working their booths."

Head to a race, and you'll likely see "beer handups" to riders midrace or even whiskey shots at aid stations. A frat-boy, or frat-girl, atmosphere often pervades such events. Liu suggests the link is helped along by beer brands, especially craft brewers, who love to advertise their products with cyclists. She also explores the incongruity of combining something healthy—cycling—with something that can cause all manners of health problems (she details them) and is ripe for abuse. Liu herself is not quite teetotaling these days, but she has stopped drinking except on special occasions, and she talks to several cyclists who also have rejected the booze-bike connection. Read the full piece. (Or check out other Longform stories.)

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