“We are close enough to bushwhack,” proclaimed our friend and gravel cycling enthusiast Mark. At that very moment we knew we had found something special. Not the destination mind you, we were definitely off course, but the experience. We had ridden from the shop in downtown New Haven through the technical rocky trails of West Rock Ridge State Park, over smooth country roads, and along the beautiful, crushed gravel, Larkin State Bridal Trail en route to two Oxford breweries, Black Hog and OEC. We were fortunate to have a beautiful day, a great group of riders, and a memorable on road/off road loop, including a roller coaster of a trail around Toby’s Pond, that proved to be so fun that a new series of ride was born, True to Brew.
The 2019 series will embrace the same adventurous spirit as years past and introduce us to new roads, new trails, and of course, new breweries.
The next ride will be Saturday, June 22nd, meeting at the shop at 7:00 and departing at 7:30. Unlike previous True to Brew rides, this particular ride is a collaboration with NHBC and is an overnight job! Space is limited to the campsites we reserved. At the time of this writing, there is no vacancy! Looking forward to seeing you all on Saturday.
Frequently Asked Questions:
- What does “on road/off road” mean (to us) exactly? It means we will be riding on genuine paved and named roads. We will ride on unnamed roads. We will venture off pavement and onto unimproved and even dirt roads. We will ride on fire roads, double track, single track, and occasionally technical mountain bike trails. We have even hiked a bike. The point of the ride is to have fun, so while there will surely be sections that prove to be challenging and unrideable for some, an overwhelming majority of the route will be passable by an appropriate bike.
- What type of bike do you recommend?: In general, a gravel or cyclocross bike will yield the most enjoyable experience. Mountain bikes will be overkill for almost all of the routes, and too slow on pavement (for most). Road bikes and their wheels and tires will take a beating on the off road sections. In the past, people riding road bikes have taken it upon themselves to plot paved sections that linked back up with the group, totally cool with us, but it’s on you to plan it. In addition, we will make any gear or equipment recommendations in each ride write up.
- What type of tires do you recommend?: Generally speaking, a cross or gravel tire will be fine. We will make specific recommendations on pre-ride write ups.
- What type of gearing do you recommend? There are lots of hills in Connecticut, and we intentionally include a lot of ups. Generally speaking, you’ll want a good range of climbing gears, a road cluster or corncob won’t be too fun on Blackberry Hill with a liter of beer in your saddle bag.
- Why would I want to join a True to Brew ride in lieu of my normal group ride? Depends! For starters, we ride to breweries in order to sample some of Connecticut’s finest beers. There is a good chance these rides will be different from your usual route. There is a good chance we will get lost. You’ll probably meet some awesome new riders. You’ll have a story to share when it’s through.
- Why wouldn’t I want to join a True to Brew ride? So many reasons! The ride is usually challenging and thus exhausting. Sometimes we get lost and everyone uses their technology to plot a way out then discusses who has the best plan and why. You might crash. We go to breweries, not everyone enjoys sampling beers mid ride. Sometimes we get lunch, not everyone likes an extended break mid ride.
- Will I need to bring anything special on a True to Brew ride? Some people like to bring home cans or bottles with them, if that sounds like something you might want to do, we’d suggest bringing a Revelate style saddle bag.
- How will I know if I can keep up? True to Brew rides we have done in the past are typically made up of riders who are comfortable riding off road and usually have some experience mountain biking, though not all of them do. They often participate in road group rides and could hang with groups who average faster speeds than 14mph with ease. That being said, we wait for the group and do our best to stick together. We have had people bail, ride home early, skip portions, crash, bleed, etc., but each of them had a good time anyway.
- How do you choose the breweries? We choose breweries based on complex formulas, science, and gallons of research. We have ridden to OEC, Black Hog, Outer Light, Fox Farm, Steady Habit, New England Brewing, 30 Mile Brewing, Labyrinth, Breakaway Brew Haus, Fat Orange Cat, and more.