12 August 2000

The West-Side Drinking Authority's
Washtenaw County Bike Tour

The Washtenaw County Bike Tour, sponsored by the WDA, took place on 12 August 2000. This event was for cyclists of all skill levels, we went slow, taking our time, and keeping the group together on a carefully planned route which included 4 colleges, two major american cities, scenic historical buildings, the mighty Huron River, and more bars than you can shake a stick at. The following is an attempt to capture the grandure of the event.

Clicking on a picture will lead you to a higher resolution version of that picture.

tour de beer: the gathering

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Early Saturday morning, able-bodied members and recruits of the WDA arrive at Bil's house. Adjustments are made, tires filled, and equipment distributed. Luckily, no one shows up in religion-revealing bike shorts, increasing the likelihood that we might not be throttled immediately upon entering a bar along the way—We were going to have enough problems for sure. We take off and already encounter our first. Not a block down the street we realize we've left behind Stefan who's off acquainting himself with his borrowed Trek—luckily he's smart enough to find us and we continue to the first stop.

stop one: buddy and the beast

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We stop at DOrton's house, well over a mile into the route. DOrton loosens up the group with styrofoam cups of Bud and Beast. The sweet oat soda energizes the group for the massive leg 2: through Ann Arbor following the Huron River, skimming the top of Ypsilanti on Geddes, and then bombing down through the EMU campus to the Tap Room.

mile nine: rest and readjustment

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Nine miles out, just after turning south into Ypsi, half the group makes a pit. Stacy—not having ridden a bike for years—has been doing great keeping up with an overly ambitious pack but hasn't been drinking. She downs a Gatorade and water and makes a quick recovery. Stefan's Trek has become unhappy and requires Brian's allen wrench-reprimand to get it back in line.

apogee: the tap room

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Twelve miles pedaled and it's time for a beer. We reach the tap room and a sweaty crew fills the bar stools for a pint (or more for some of us) of brew. Bell's Oberon (with the keepsake Solsun tap) proves to quench a thirst well. Heard on the way out: "he doesn't know if he should call the cops, an ambulance, or a cab."

not quite so far

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A quick jaunt north lands us at the BW3. 23-ouncers 'round—that is, except for Derek. Now, of course, there's nothing wrong with drinking something that tastes good, even if it sounds like one of the characters from Strawberry Shortcake. Derek was assured by the bartender that his wine cooler was the manlier of the choices available, and I'm sure that helped him stomach the ridicule he suffered through the day. Stacy and Brian conquer an empty trivia arena, while Don, DOrtron, Bil, and Joe throw steel tips.

north to depot town

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Riding what could have been almost a mile, or at least a block or two, we rushed Aubrey's. For the first time on this escapade, we weren't the first customers in the bar. This meant we were subject to the stares of curious onlookers. In fact, a couple thought we were so interesting that they took a picture of us while I recorded our consumption of Ypsi's very own Frog Island Pale. Mark and Brad caught up with us at Aubrey's, cementing a definite Michigan Tech presence for the ride. With Bil, Bill, Brian, Brad, Derek, and Mark all techies at heart, we should have applied for official Alumni Association funding.

treacherous terrain

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The whole crew survived the highly technical WalkAcrossTheStreet to the Sidetrack where we put down pitchers of Oberon and baskets of sweet potato fries. While much of the group was hungry, we stuck to munchies—anything heavier would have been regrettable on the next leg.

Role call at the Sidetrack (left to right): Stefan, Don, Brad, Mark, Bil, Bill, DOrton, Joe, Jay, Stacy, Brian, and Derek.



Booming back for Ann Arbor, we vaguely resemble the pack of scooters from that Fine Young Cannibals video. Not too much further past this intersection Stefan's Trek attempts to reject its crank. Luckily Brian again shows up with the right tool, this time a small pipe wrench does the trick.

action sequence

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View the poorman's video (animated gif) of this exciting railtrail pass [550 kb].

pastimes of ann arbor's rich youth


We pass three teenagers trying to decide where to dump the body of that annoying kid they just ran over.


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and beer, of course. We made the second longest leg of the trip, back through gallup park and richer parts of Ann Arbor, and down to Fraser's. Burgers and beers are consumed.



Next stop is a mile to the north. We occupy a bench in the back of Dominics, swilling mason jars of beer, sangria, and strawberry daquiris. The combination of 20+ miles of biking, greasy burgers, and hours of drinking has slowed the group considerably. While few could say it aloud, it seemed like a nice idea to stick around and enjoy the waning afternoon. Luckily Bil was able to energize the group—we have a route to finish! Next stop, Mitch's.



Working our way up South U to Mitch's, most of us stopped to find help in the form of various combinations of sugar and caffeine. It had already been a long day and there was still much drinking to be done. Here I am with my double coffee w/ a shot of espresso.


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It was much too early to be at Mitch's. We were pretty much the first customers there. Mitch's is decorated in many crappy bikes covered in gold spray paint. It seemed like a reasonable place for us to empty pitchers and work up energy for our last two stops on the trip.

best brewpub in the midwest

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Arbor Brewing is surprisingly fast to seat our ever-growing group of smelly drunks on this Saturday evening. Some of the crew are hungry again and go for a variety of food. The rest of us are having trouble making room for even MORE beer. We want to drink the beer! It takes great effort, the room is made, and all are happy.

home sweet home

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The WDA ambles down into that basement call 8-Ball. The smokey 8-Ball is the only place that could actually manage to mask the wonderful scent we carried with us. As you can see, the group is, at this point, done. Bil's hair is at max frazz and Stacy is spent. We nurse many beers, scarf popcorn, and some even manage play darts for a while. But it isn't long before we realize that we won't be closing out the 8-ball tonight.

closing the loop

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We climb out of the 8-Ball and cruise back to Bil's. During the trip back Stefan's Trek starts making noises like it might start spitting out ball bearings. The sound is ignored and the group makes it back.



Alcohol, exhaustion, and opportunity have thinned our group, but five souls gather at Bil's for a last picture to commemorate the events of this great day. 14 hours, 25 miles, 9 bars: an achievement indeed.

Brought to you by Bill, who was very happy he didn't drop his cool new digi-cam even once on this drunken escapade.