• Tue July 17 2007
  • Posted Jul 17, 2007
[Sorry... a little late on this... but definitely still newsworthy!] Official says event's attendance has doubled over every year held By Rachel Gallegos Iowa City Press-Citizen Saturday's seventh annual "Tour de Brew" combines two of Aaron Taubman's favorite things, good beer and bicycling. "I've always been a cyclist," said Taubman, the brewer at Millstream Brewing Co. in Amana. On Saturday's ride, Taubman and hundreds of other bicyclists from throughout the state headed from Old Capitol Brew Works and Publichouse in Iowa City to Taubman's workplace in Amana, a 30-mile ride with two additional beer stops along the way. Taubman said Saturday's ride was "a warm up" for him for the upcoming Register's Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa, which he rides as part of "Team Good Beer." By about 10 a.m. Saturday, while enjoying his first brew of the day, Taubman said he already rode 20 miles and planned to do 60 more -- roundtrip from brewery to brewery. "I can tell we already have double the attendance of last year," he said, adding that he expected more people to show up and start their ride by noon. "This ride's been doubling every year." Scott Lehnert, one of the owners of Old Capitol Brew Works, said about 250 people participated in the event last year. Registration already was nearing that number shortly after 10 a.m. "It's just kind of a fun warm-up ride to get ready for RAGBRAI," Lehnert said. "From a small ride, it's really turned into a major event." A week before the start of RAGBRAI, the "Tour de Brew" also coincides with the Tour de France, which was on its seventh of 20 stages Saturday. The "Tour de Brew" route, from Iowa City up to North Liberty, then west along Upper Old Highway 6 and Highway 6 to Amana, gave riders a little bit of hills and a little flat terrain, Lehnert said. John's Grocery and the THIRSTY homebrew club provided the beverages for two stops along the route. Not all riders, however, were there to take part in the beer drinking. Kristi Dimke of Cedar Rapids was ready to ride with her two kids, Alex, 8, and Christine, 12, as well as her husband, Mark, and neighbor Mike Schomer, 14. "They said there's going to be water and pop," Kristi Dimke said. "Millstream's got something for everybody." Alex Dimke already knew what he wanted at the end of the ride. "Black Cherry," he said with a smile. This was the first time the Dimke family has done the "Tour de Brew," Kristi Dimke said. "Been looking forward to it all year," she said. Brian Bigsby, 31, of Bloomfield, said this was not only his first "Tour de Brew," but also his first bicycle ride like this of any kind. "We'll find out in about three hours whether I'll ever do it again," he said. "It should be fun." The beer, however, was a good incentive. "If there was another ride of about the same length, but without beer, I'd probably come to this one," Bigsby said. "The beer was the deciding factor."

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