Beer: A Runner’s Drink or a Biker’s Drink?

Hey Seacoast! I saw you this morning and I must say: you’re looking good. All that time at the gym and hustling through those laps around the neighborhood are certainly paying off!

So I’m curious as to what our readers (read: reader) think. Is our drink of choice (beer) the drink of choice for those who prefer to hit the road in their sneaks or on their cycles? My curiosity peaked today after noticing that the Will Run For Beer Series just completed a race this week and has the big finale, The Smuttynose 5K, coming in hot on June 6th. Let the arguments begin:

Beer’s a Biker’s Drink

I’m not sure which category I place myself into, biker or runner, but as of today I’m more excited than ever to ride until my saddle’s sore — so for the sake of argument let’s say biker. I do live in what you might call the “bike Mecca” (apparently I’m a big fan of that word) of Portsmouth: down the street from Pappa Wheelies and Tony’s Used Bikes on Islington. In addition, 2 of my housemates embarked on a cross country bike trip from ME to WA last summer so my social life includes many a friend who get cranky when they’re not working on cranks (c’mon, you try to make a better bike joke. “Confrontational when they’re not adjusting front derailleurs? Awful.).

The best use case for biking and beveraging (yes, we just coined that term) has to be the weekend picnic. There’s no better Saturday afternoon in my book than strapping some snacks and a 6-er to my back and riding up to Kittery Point or York beach to enjoy a few cold ones in the sun. You might be thinking “point bikers!” but there is a massive downside. Drink a little too heavily and try to cycle back home and you’re subject to injuring yourself and others, or worse, getting a ticket or fine from the authorities.

Admittedly biking is also a less inclusive activity than running. While it excellent exercise and relatively easy to learn (ahem, MM) bikes can be expensive, difficult to maintain, easily broken and often stolen. Worse yet, if you want to go from couch-to-race you’re looking at several months of intense training for a race that will be full of incredible athletes. I don’t see myself celebrating the completion of the Criterium with some beers any time soon.

Beer’s a Runner’s Drink

On the flip-side you have the running crew, who make a very compelling argument that beer is their bev. Our buddy B is the blog’s resident runner, and as you’ve seen from his posts, he’s a more than capable lover of the suds.

In direct contrast to bikers, we’ve all been in a scenario where a friend of ours has completed their first 5k, 10k or half marathon, and naturally the beers flow afterwords. There’s not better taste on this planet than your first beer after completing a road race. Running is also a “quicker” physical activity, meaning that more calories are burned in a shorter period of time than the same amount of calories on a bike, so you’re able to get to the bar much quicker and more often if you’re a runner.

Culturally beer, particularly craft breweries, have done a great job of associating themselves with local running clubs and funding road races. In the Seacoast alone Smuttynose and Red Hook run their own races and Paddy’s American Grille in Pease has started offering their own unique 5 miler. Call it subliminal advertising or whatever you will but it apparently is working on me.


So what’s the Bev Lab’s verdict? While we’re certainly not biased we’re going to have to say that running comes up on top. While casual biking lends to enjoying a few beers with some friends and can be a substitute for getting a (gasp) DWI, it’s difficult to argue that bikers are able to enjoy beers with friends in the purely celebratory way that runners can after completing a race after some very difficult training.

That being said, it’s still only May so if you’re still fielding a few extra lbs from the Winter (trust me you’re still looking great!) consider signing up for some of these upcoming races. You’ll find B and yours truly lugging around at a few of them!

Upcoming 2010 Seacoast Road Races

Bobcat Bolt Saturday May 15 Durham
Smuttynose 5K Sunday, June 6 Newmarket
Market Square Day 10K Saturday, June 12 Portsmouth
York Days 5K Sunday, August 1 York, ME
Saunders at Rye Harbor 10K Thursday, August 19 Rye
Fox Point Sunset 5 Miler Saturday, September 11 Newington
Great Island 5K Sunday, October 10 New Castle
Great Bay 5K Saturday, October 23 Portsmouth

Until next time: keep pedalin’ keep pumpin’ and enjoy a cold one now and then.

– Johnnie P