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Old 05-11-10, 05:29 AM   #1
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Alcoholic Beverages on Tour

I hear folks mention carrying beer when on tour. I assume that is just back to camp in the evening though. The comments made me curious about how many drink on tour and in what manner.

My observations of the folks I have met on tour is that most don't imbibe much on tour. One group of two that we met liked to carry a six pack back to camp at night. A couple others carried some more concentrated form of alcohol, and a few might have had a beer with lunch or a glass of wine with dinner once in a while when eating at a bar or restaurant. I am in the latter camp, but the drinks are rare in my case. I think I had maybe two in 73 days on the TA and none on my tour last year.

I am curious what others do. Do you drink regularly when on tour? If so what and when?
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Old 05-11-10, 06:05 AM   #2
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I like to tour in wine regions and I love to try out the local products. I’m also a fan of real ale, microbrews and cider so when I find a new and interesting beverage I indulge. I usually take a midday break from ridding and will enjoy a drink or two with my meal. I will also have a drink at the end of my day when relaxing around camp or while at a hotel/hostel/guesthouse.

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Old 05-11-10, 06:07 AM   #3
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I drink about as much on tour as when I'm not on tour, which is not much at all. The one exception was a 2006 trip in Ukraine/Russia. There is a custom of taking taking the wedding party along a short trip of notable sites prior to the reception. Saturday is wedding day and in some rural areas we'd see more than one wedding party along our route.

As we were cycling along, we'd leapfrogged this party a few times as they stopped to attach a lock signifying their love to a bridge (and throw away the key) or stop at a local monument. We smiled and waived and by third or fourth time they invited two cyclists to join in their wedding toasts and photo above. Somehow toasts come in threes and in best Russian we could we tried to toast the lucky couple. Their wedding photos include us and our touring photos include them.

Later in that same trip, we stayed with local friends for two weeks and again several social occasions of getting together with friends and socializing, singing and drinking. Nothing to excess but a lot more than I normally do. It was more a case of being polite with our hosts but I probably drank more on that trip than in several years combined back home.
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Old 05-11-10, 06:23 AM   #4
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On most tours I have a small hip flask filled with whatever single malt whiskey I happen to have available when I pack. I may carry some beer with me, not a sixpack though. Both whiskey and beer are best enjoyed in the evening at camp. Or, if there's a local pub nearby, I might visit that in the evening.

On some occasions having a beer with lunch has resulted in very slow going for the next couple of hours. It's only happened a couple of times, but the connection has been obvious enough to make me avoid drinking alcohol in the middle of a full riding day.

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Old 05-11-10, 07:21 AM   #5
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Nope.. don't drink at all on tour. Then again I don't drink at all when at home. Maybe that has something to do with it?
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Old 05-11-10, 07:34 AM   #6
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Old 05-11-10, 07:55 AM   #7
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As a homebrewer I have become a fan of local brewpubs. Always look for them as I travel through towns and love to talk to the brew-master. If I happen near a store near the end of the day that sells singles I'll grab 1-2 for a nightcap but this seldom happens. Anymore than 2 is too much weight.
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Old 05-11-10, 08:14 AM   #8
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The one exception was a 2006 trip in Ukraine/Russia.
mev, you toured Russia and Ukraine? That's awesome. I was in Ukraine as a Peace Corps volunteer from 2000-2003 and have been to Russia four times (study abroad and other various return trips). Wasn't really into cycling yet then, and I'm just getting my feet wet when it comes to any kind of touring, but you must have had a blast! Where all did you go?

I can imagine that you drank a bit there, especially since you spent time w/ locals. It's a drinking culture - that much is for sure!
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Old 05-11-10, 08:26 AM   #9
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mev, you toured Russia and Ukraine? That's awesome. I was in Ukraine as a Peace Corps volunteer from 2000-2003 and have been to Russia four times (study abroad and other various return trips). Wasn't really into cycling yet then, and I'm just getting my feet wet when it comes to any kind of touring, but you must have had a blast! Where all did you go?

I can imagine that you drank a bit there, especially since you spent time w/ locals. It's a drinking culture - that much is for sure!
Only been in former Soviet Union (FSU) twice. In 2006, a six week trip cycling from Uzgorod, Ukraine (on Hungarian border) to Samara, Russia on the Volga River a total of 2600km and a week or two at end staying with friends in Penza. In 2007, a six month trip cycling from Amsterdam to St Petersburg to Vladivostok, a total of 13000km. That latter trip was mostly on the move, though I did spend three weeks brushing up my Russian in St Petersburg at a language school and I also spent almost two weeks in Vladivostok at the end.

One of the things I really like about touring is it gets you out and amongst locals and you get a certain feel of how people live and work, particularly in rural areas or small cities since you spend the largest amount of time there. I drank in moderation, but when staying with locals or visiting it was a matter of politeness to at least join in celebration toasts and similar things.
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Old 05-11-10, 09:00 AM   #10
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Those both sound like incredible tours! I'm jealous of you for both. Amsterdam to Vladivostok is a monster of a tour. Must have been a blast.

I was in Mykolayiv (Nikolaev) in southern Ukraine, about 125 km from Odessa for two of my three years, in Kyiv the third. Wish I'd been into cycling and touring then - could have done some sweet tours in the summer (I was an educaor my first two years w/ LOTS of free time in the summer).

Anyway, ride on, mev, ride on. За здоровьe!
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Old 05-11-10, 11:00 AM   #11
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Normally I don't drink much, but I seem to drink a lot more on tour. Partially because beer is extremely cheap in the US versus in Canada, and partially because I can.

Down the Pacific Coast, I didn't drink until I linked up with a few other cyclists. From then on we would go through 20-30 beers every night between 6 or 7 people, and Baby Duck or hard liquor for whenever someone left the group.

On my own, I like a MGD tallboy and Hostess donuts at night for a quick carb fest.
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Old 05-11-10, 11:22 AM   #12
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Sometimes it's nice to have a cold beer after a day's ride
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Old 05-11-10, 11:54 AM   #13
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I like to sample the local brews as I travel and when the situation exists will visit a brewpub for an evening meal and sample. I did one orgainzed tour with a brewery stop mid day and that was a mistake. A bottle or two at the evening campsite is hard to beat in my book. Of course I am from Wisconsin!:-)
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Old 05-11-10, 12:03 PM   #14
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Old 05-11-10, 12:32 PM   #15
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I drink regularly, but only after the day's ride is done. Mostly wine, but beer, etc., if I cannot get wine. My featherwieght corkscrew is an essential element of my cookset. I try not to carry if need be, but I will.

I did AC's Northern Tier Tour in '99. Several of us drank a good amount of beer most days and even got downright polluted on more than one occasion. One night partying in Minot, ND with achaeology grad students who were excavating some burrial ground or something uncovered during pipeline construction comes to mind. The next morning was a long ride into a stiff ND headwind with a crushing hangover. Not recommended. But it's all part of the experience.
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Old 05-11-10, 12:37 PM   #16
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Normally I don't drink much, but I seem to drink a lot more on tour. Partially because beer is extremely cheap in the US versus in Canada, and partially because I can.
You ain't kidding. Last year we did the loop from Whitefish, MT through BC and AB and then into Glacier. I live in Philadelphia, PA, where wine and beer are expensive. We found some wine brands to be near twice the price as back home. In one liquor store in Pincher Creek, AB, I decided to compare beer prices. Saw a box of Molson for $20. (Exchange rate was basically 1:1). I thought "$20 for a case of Molson. That's not that bad." Then I realized it was a 12 pack.
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Old 05-11-10, 01:05 PM   #17
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Hmm. I pack a plastic pint flask which I'll refill with rum (on the coasts) or bourbon (interior states) whenever it gets empty. I do a few tots in the evening after eating. If I'm in town or near a town for the night, I'll stop in the local bar/pub, dine and have a few beers and chat the locals up or buy a couple of cans to take to the campsite. I'm on vacation.
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Old 05-11-10, 01:52 PM   #18
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I usually carry a bottle of cognac which Spinnaker, robow, VT_Speed_TR, alhanson, joel2old, and jagraham could probably testify to!

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Old 05-11-10, 03:13 PM   #19
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Next week I'm starting a tour through parts of Germany and the Czech Republic. There will be little resistance to enjoy their fine beers.
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Old 05-11-10, 03:18 PM   #20
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Ortliebs are waterproof - which means if you fill 'em with beer and ice they stay frosty in a nice ice bath all day. I've got no hard and fast rule about drinking on tour, but I have not been known to turn down the offer of a cold beer anytime after 11am!....
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Old 05-11-10, 03:50 PM   #21
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That is the first compelling plug for an Otlieb yet.

I used to do happy hour while touring through Quebec, since they have beer in grocery stores there (well, like most places really, but not Ontario where I live). Seemed pretty natural. Go get the evening eats, and some beer or wine also.
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Old 05-11-10, 04:07 PM   #22
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I'd love to ride across Ukraine! Did you ship bikes or rent? (I saw more peoples in Kiev pedeling some nice rides last summer). Where did you start and end? Russian visas-was there a hassel at the border? Some of the highways-Kiev to Kharkiv- Kharkiv to Nikolaev, look narrow and lots of truck traffic, was it a safe enough feel? What bikes did you take? Camping? Did you stop at every Shashleek stand (Hmmmm shashleek!). Finally-what was your time frame? (Did you ride all the way or ride some?) Eta Ochen Klasna!!!!
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Old 05-11-10, 04:40 PM   #23
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I carry a bottle of grain alcohol...it is for the stove...and me. I love microbrews and won't turn one down if I find one. Local wines can be fun too.

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Old 05-11-10, 05:33 PM   #24
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I drink 1-2 drinks on most nights while not on tour. This holds true for while I am touring as well, assuming there are places to get them along the way because I would not haul a six pack around!

When touring the West Coast a few years ago there was a hippy horticologist who must have taken me for a stoner. Traveling by bike, big beard, dirty appreance, ect... and he ran out to his truck and brought me back a huge fist full of green stuff (not money). I do not smoke the stuff on any sort of regular basis but when $40-$50 worth of it is just given to me how could I say no? It made for a lot of interesting nights around camp, esspecially when I was cooking! I also indulged one time in the morning right before a long day of cycling on empty MUPs. I would not have done that if I had to mingle with traffic that day!
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Old 05-11-10, 05:39 PM   #25
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Nope.. don't drink at all on tour. Then again I don't drink at all when at home. Maybe that has something to do with it?
Same here
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