The sun is creeping out again and those bone-stabbing winter winds are long gone. Sounds like the perfect time to get on a bike, right? Even better, May is National Cycling Month.
May’s also a good time to sit outside and enjoy a cold one. So to honor our favorite mode of transportation, we’ve combined our love of bikes with local brews to compile a list (how original!) of the top craft beer and bike cities (that are actually pretty darn affordable) for celebrating this off the chain occasion.
Lincoln, Nebraska impresses with a 164-mile trail system and the year-old N Street Cycle Track through downtown, where, incidentally, you’ll find 11 of the city’s craft breweries and brewpubs.
The eternal struggle of man versus child takes on a Mad Max theme during the Helladrome event at Boise’s Pedal for the People festival with contestants battling it out on an obstacle course over an abandoned parking lot. To the victor goes the Sockeye Dagger Falls IPA.
ALBUQUERQUE, NEW MEXICO
Complete Streets came to Albuquerque in 2015 to address the inequitable divide between space given to automobiles and bicycles. That’s led to a designated Bicycle Boulevard complete with concrete barriers to keep the pedaling crowd safe in addition to the city’s promise to connect 50 miles of trails surrounding the city. Pair that with the likes of Marble Brewery (a winner of Best Small Brewery at the Great American Beer Festival) and you’ve got yourself craft beer and cycling city staple.
Beers, bikes, and lakes: Is there anything better than May in Madison? The only difficult decision is whether to crack open a Commuter Kolsch from One Barrel or hop on the old Schwinn for a ride along Lake Monona. With nearly 150-miles of bike trails and a dozen brewpubs, Madison’s a can’t-miss destination for pedaling hop-heads.
GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN
Grand Rapids has long-been known as a beer-lover’s paradise, with Founders, Brewery Vivant, and Grand Rapids Brewing Company leading the way. But that’s not all this old furniture city has to offer. It’s also earned national recognition for its sprawling trails and bike-friendly attitude, with The League of American Bicyclists naming GR a top “Bicycle-Friendly Community.” If it were up to us, Beer City, USA would also be called Bike City, USA.
Cleveland rarely gets the credit it deserves in cultivating the Midwest’s craft beer movement with Great Lakes Brewing setting the scene in the late eighties. Now it seems like a new brewery is opening every month with the latest, Collision Bend Brewing, carving out a corner right along the Cuyahoga River. The Rust Belt town also harbors one of the finest cycling advocacy organizations in the country in Bike Cleveland, who has pushed for true Complete Streets policy and passing a three feet law for motorists driving by cyclists. (Full disclosure: The author is from Cleveland and is totally being a homer.)
TWIN CITIES, MINNESOTA
We’re not the first to notice the Twin Cities’ cycling scene. Publications are regularly putting them at the top of “Best Cycling City” lists–and for good reason. Have you ridden the Midtown Greenway? Every city should have something like it. Plus it’s an easy way to get to Eastlake Craft Brewery at the Midtown Global Market before heading downtown to Fulton’s taproom. (They also host the derrière-destroying Fulton Gran Fondo that starts right at the brewery.)
FORT COLLINS, COLORADO
New Belgium Brewing is probably one of the most visible craft brewery labels nationwide. And it’s also probably the most bike-friendly label of any craft brewery. That’s because, in addition to world-famous beers, for their 25th anniversary, they’ve partnered with Detroit Bikes to celebrate with special edition cruisers. A Fat Tire cruiser bike comes as part of their year one benefits package and year five promises a trip to cycling and beer mecca, Belgium.
We know what you’re thinking, people whose city isn’t on the list. “What a stupid, arbitrary list! I can’t believe XYZ made it and not us! They have no idea what they’re talking about.”
Well, first of all, have a pint and settle down. Second, if you feel we’ve made some grave error that cannot go unchallenged by leaving your city out, then leave a comment and make your case. The great thing about our editors here at Room5 is that they can always, y’know, edit.