Our friend Martha, a local bicycling and community activist, organizes an annual ride called Bike to Beer. The purpose of the ride is to cycle through parts of Tucson where residents are trying to build better neighborhoods, stopping to look at and discuss watershed management, urban farming, recycling, and traffic calming projects. The ride ends up downtown at a brewery occupying one of the old restored brick warehouses by the Union Pacific railroad station.
We met Martha on one of our Monday night walks in downtown Tucson and have since become friends. We’ve been after her to join us on a bash (a bicycle version of hare & hounds running), but she got us out on this ride first instead. Well, good, now she owes us one and we can introduce her to bashing.
The start was at a city councilman’s office on Grant & Vine, and when we showed up the parking lot was filled with earnest-looking people, vegans, a young woman with armpit hair, and a guy with a cargo bike. Progressives. Volvo owners. We felt like country club Republicans who’d wandered off the greens and into a street market by mistake. But once we started talking to the other riders we discovered we had a lot in common, and once the ride started we realized we were having fun.
I don’t suppose we’ll get into urban farming, but I surely would like to capture some rainwater and store it in a cistern, and we picked up a few ideas today. It was also nice to ride in neighborhoods where many of the residents bike to and from work and school. There are parts of Tucson that really are bike-friendly, and those were the parts we rode through today. I even scoped out a couple of little-known bikeways we can add to a bash trail some day.
In the middle of our ride, as we stopped for a roadside presentation on keeping chickens, a skywriter traced a smiley face symbol overhead. At first I thought the O of the smiley face was going to be the first letter of OBAMA, and indeed the skywriter then made a horizontal half-loop next to the O, which could have been the start of a B, but no, it was the top half of an R, which eventually turned into ROMNEY. Well, that clinches it for the GOP. Barack, you may as well hang it up.
Here are a few photos. Click on the thumbnails to see the originals on Flickr.
The brewery had no food on sale, but Martha had arranged for a food truck and for us to be able to bring our lunches inside the brewery. Interesting food, too: the young couple who operate the food truck make tacos and quesadillas stuffed with Korean kim chee and bulgogi. Donna had an IPA and we both enjoyed our Korean-Mexican lunch, and after visiting with the other riders we left and pedaled back to the councilman’s office, loaded the bikes onto the back of the car, and drove home. We stopped at our corner bicycle shop on the way: Donna bought herself a new helmet and I bought a padded saddle for my mountain bike. As soon as I finish this post I’m heading out to the garage to put on the new saddle and go for a test ride.
© 2012, Paul Woodford. All rights reserved.