Saturday, 16 July 2011

Pedalling towards a pint

Somehow beer and cycling just go together.

Perhaps it’s that beer always tastes best when you’re thirsty and you can convince yourself that you’ve earned it. Or the cycling helps burn off the beer calories. Although personally, having a bike makes getting about the city so much faster that I just go to the pub more often.

So there were a lot of reasons to have a cycling-based event during Beer Week. To recognise the cyclists who turned up at Market Gallery Pub last year and helped make it a success. A nod to Portland, Oregon, where cycling is almost as trendy as beer and brewpubs cater for bikes. Because it was a bank holiday and people want to get out into the countryside. To visit the Antonine Arms, an out-of-town pub that was keen to take part in Beer Week but which isn’t really accessible any other way.

But most of all, to give me an excuse to post my favourite video in the world ever. Watch the first part for context; the beer is in part two:

Here we can see the continued relevance of beer, as the chap at 1:12 sinks a delicious glass of what looks like dark mild. Observe, too, the glasses of bitter at 0:38 and 5:46. Pretty pale, not what you’d call brown, and at 0:28 there even appear to be two varieties, judging by the difference in colour (There is a prize for whomever can decipher the name of the brewery on the pub at 4:26, and if you feel like being a real smartarse, name both the pubs in the film and state their location).

But anyway. We met up in the west end, as you have to go up there to get onto the canal path. The canal once joined the Forth and the Clyde and was used for transporting freight, including beer of course. Now the towpath is popular with runners and cyclists who want a traffic-free journey to Bishopbriggs, Kirkintilloch, Falkirk.

As we left Glasgow to the north, the heavens opened and we all got soaked, but fortunately it cleared up again soon and by the time we passed Kirkintilloch we could discard our kagouls and let the sun slowly dry us out. If only there were a decent pub halfway along the route we would have stopped for a break, but there’s a Spoons and a riverside Tennent’s-n-cider house and that’s about it, so we kept on.

On arrival in Twechar we crowded into the bar to find a selection of Houston beers on sale. Now I think Houston beers get a bad rap; the hideously tacky pump clips and beer names like Top Totty and Helga’s Big Jugs surely contribute to that, but the beers (at least the ones I can bring myself to buy) are perfectly palatable. In good condition Killellan Bitter is a very nice beer with a subtle but satisfying smack of hops, and a pint of that went down very well indeed after a 12 mile cycle.

I was tempted to go for the infamous “coronary platter”, but in the end, like everyone else (I think) I had a burger with the chef’s real ale chutney – delicious stuff it was too. More Killellan and a look round at the dark wood walls and antique brewery mirrors as the sun streamed through the windows. I could have sat there all afternoon but our fellow cyclists had to head home again.


  1. If by a "Tennents n cider" pub you meant the Stables near Kirkintilloch you may have missed a refreshment opportunity. They usually have some non standard beers on top.

  2. Road Safety Lover16 July 2011 at 19:45

    Rule 68 of the Highway Code says "You MUST NOT ride when under the influence of drink or drugs, including medicine"

  3. Check out
    My friend was in Scotland and is now in Belgium doing a cycling tour. He pedals all over the world.

  4. Bugger off, Road Safety Lover. The part of section 68 of the Highway Code to which you refer is explicitly referenced to section 30 of the 1988 RTA which states:

    "A person who, when riding a cycle on a road or other public place, is unfit to ride through drink or drugs (that is to say, is under the influence of drink or a drug to such an extent as to be incapable of having proper control of the cycle) is guilty of an offence."

    The Act also makes clear that BAL limits apply only to drivers of motorised vehicles. Since I very much doubt anyone on this trip under the influence of drink or a drug to such an extent as to be incapable of having proper control of the cycle, you really ought to take your bullshit puritanism and character slurs elsewhere.

    That being the case, and that the cyclists would have been behaving perfectly legally had they been on a public road, I'm reluctant to point out that they weren't, and we on a canal towpath, which you'd have discovered had you bothered to read the article.

    So for the avoidance of doubt, for anyone else reading, having a few pints and cycling home, even on a public road, is perfectly legal. Just know your limits and don't overdo it.

  5. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  6. I deleted a comment that was spamming for a BOC beer gas site. If BOC want to advertise on my blog, they can pay me. Shameful behaviour.

  7. That pub at 4:26 looks as if it says "Banbury Ales" on the front, which would make it a Hunt, Edmunds outlet

  8. Road Safety Lover25 July 2011 at 14:49

    It would be interesting to learn how much beer the OP thinks he can consume and still retain "proper control" of his pushbike. And whether CC Stephen House would agree.

    Also a canal towpath may not be a "road", but it is certainly a "public place".

  9. I imagine Road Safety Lover as a jealous car driver who can't conceive of people drinking without the aim of complete oblivion.

  10. RSL: why don't you try to find out? I mean, if you want a load of bobbies laughing their nuts off at you (best case) or referring you to Section 5(2) of the Criminal Law Act 1967 (worst), that is.

  11. Road Safety Lover25 July 2011 at 16:53

    So how many pints is it, Barm?


    You seem to be very reluctant to answer the question.

  12. I had two pints of 3.7% beer and then rode a bike. I might as well go round to the police station and hand myself in.

  13. Road Safety Lover25 July 2011 at 17:08

    OK, so cyclists should stay within the drink-drive limit for drivers, which you did. Are you happy to agree to that?

  14. No. Because that's *not what the law says*, it is not what the law means, it is not what the law is intended to mean, and because the danger presented by cyclists to pedestrians and other road users is minimal compared to that of the operators of mechanised vehicles (illustrated by the fact that third party cycle insurance is so cheap that home insurance companies and cycling clubs can afford to literally give it away).

    The law purposely does not define blood alcohol levels or alcohol consumption limits for cyclists in recognition the fact that cyclists do not present a serious danger to other road users unless very drunk (i.e. unable to control their vehicle), and that that requires very different levels of alcohol consumption for different people. The law also specifically precludes the use of breathalyser or BAL tests in determining drunkenness for cyclists. Neither the law nor common sense support your position. And if you doubt that, please, do go to your local cop shop and ask them: they will be happy to set you straight, and tell you what is generally meant by "incapable" in this sense (glazed eyes, unsteady on the feet and slurred speech generally constitute the benchmark). It would be a much more productive use of your time (thought not the police's) than sitting on blogs pontificating on matters about which you clearly know nothing.

  15. Road Safety Lover25 July 2011 at 17:43

    Tell that to Jane Nicholls

  16. Ah, here we go. Response to rational argument through base exploitation of an extremely rare tragedy for emotive effect.

    "Ingham, who had drunk nearly two pints of fortified wine before the incident" (from

    In other words almost certainly "very drunk" and therefore, according to my own argument above, "present[ing] a serious danger to other road users." To compare the actions of this man with a group of cyclists who went out for a few quiet pints in a country pub is both utterly bankrupt, nothing short of disgraceful, baseless slur


  17. 646 pedestrians killed by drivers in 2007, incidentally.

  18. Road Safety Lover25 July 2011 at 17:56

    Ah yes, FrFintonStack, the man who supports and excuses drunken cyclists.

    Come on pal, you and Barm, admit that it is not a good idea for cyclists to exceed the drink-drive limit.

    And, if you disagree, come on, tell us how much is acceptable.

    I'm waiting...

  19. Now you're reduced to straightforward lying, as there's absolutely nothing in anything I've written that suggests I have in any way supported drunken cyclists.

    How much is acceptable? The 1988 RTA already defines that i.e. less than the level at which the cyclist is "under the influence of drink or a drug to such an extent as to be incapable of having proper control of the cycle." The law doesn't specify how much that is because it will vary between people on the basis both of the alcohol tolerance and cycling ability. I don't feel the need to disagree with the law. If you do, why not use your time somewhat more constructively and write to your MP, rather than sitting here claiming the law means things it clearly doesn't, and imposing your own arbitrary moral schema on other people? Just a thought.

  20. Road Safety Lover25 July 2011 at 18:08

    "The law doesn't specify how much that is because it will vary between people on the basis both of the alcohol tolerance and cycling ability."

    OK, so as a rough guide how much would you say was "too much" in terms of being able to maintain proper control of a cycle?

  21. We're going 'round in circles here. It's impossible for me to specify, as it will vary from person to person according to both alcohol tolerance and cycling ability. The law does not give a blanket rough guide, for that reason, nor will I. I can personally say that I would not cycle after three or four pints of normal strength beer (and I believe I would be well within the letter of the law at that point) but it may be more or less for other people.

    We are, at any rate, moving very far from your initial claim that these cyclists were engaging in some form of illegality. I've demonstrated what the law regarding the matter says and means; I take that you're now moving on from that as evidence I have done so successfully. I have not the slightest interest in debating your personal viewpoint as regards what the law *should* be, least of all when you so readily resort to strawmen, hijacking of tragedies and straightforward lies to make your point (whatever that's actually supposed to be).

  22. Read: "*More than* three or four points of normal strength beer."

  23. Hater of Hypocrisy25 July 2011 at 18:31

    Ah well, the apologists for drunken cycling prevail. Jane Nicholls will love you lot.

    Funny how they have a completely different attitude to driving motor vehicles. But they're not hypocrites, of course not...

  24. Here we go again. More outright lies, more baseless, emotive exploitation of a severely injured victim of a rare tragedy for political ends. Except this time it lacks even originality, relevance or context. Just shoehorned right in.

    "Funny how they have a completely different attitude to driving motor vehicles." Now we see the real agenda emerging, and it's nothing to do with road safety, but impotent, indignant rage at cyclists being able to do something that motorists can't. But yes, I do have a different attitude to motor vehicles. Oddly enough, so does the law and insurance companies, because the danger they present to other road users is incomparable. Most years there are no pedestrians killed by cyclists: by drivers, it's never less than the high three-figures, and for that reason, third party car insurance can cost thousands of pounds when its cycling equivalent is tacked on a freebee on household insurance policies and cycling club membership. And, in a way, I'd imagine RSL, sorry, HoH agrees, unless he or she would like to see children banned from riding bikes.

  25. This post is yet more evidence that you are an utter cunt. Let us hope that when you are weaving and wobbling around the road, some kindly motorist takes you out.

  26. @Trolls,

    There is obviously a difference between the safe amounts to drink with respect to the safe performance of different activities, based on the level of risk. I might feel ok being driven somewhere by someone who has had half a pint, but I wouldn't feel safe if they had half a pint and were planning to perform surgery on me. Similarly as a pedestrian I would feel a shedload safer around a cyclist who had drunk 4 pints of bitter than I would around a driver who had drunk the same amount.

    Anyone who can't understand this difference is clearly too stupid to make any decisions pertaining to risk for themselves. However, this does not mean that people with the capacity to comprehend risk shouldn't be able to make decisions for themselves, obviously within the previously discussed confines of the law.

  27. Thanks Road Safety Person, I mean, er, Anonymous! Have a nice day!

    (And have a think whether what you just said makes me or you look worse...)

    Mr. C: Absolutely spot on.

  28. All about the Road Safety and respecting the law, that guy, eh?

  29. @Father Stack,

    I sympathise, I've had troll infestations in the past too. It is refreshing to see the issue of having a couple of pints and riding home discussed in a reasonable manner. Plus, if you have one too many you can always push the bike.

  30. To be honest, it looks like the trolls were here before Curmudgeon linked to this post. Myself I read this one last week, before getting lead here again tonight.

    You're always going to kop loads of flak mentioning on the internet the enjoyable combination of drinking ale and riding a bike. Just check out the Guardian Bike Blog for some rabid arguments. I'm sticking my head above the parapet also as my whole blog is about riding an excellent little bike and opening up a pub.

  31. Oh dear, the sanctimonious pub haters really are out in force now...

  32. Curmudgeon's line of argument (i.e. the equivalence of driving and cycling after a few pints) and his propensity for responding to reasoned criticism by throwing around the word "cunt" (as with his now-deleted response to Barm's now-censored comment on his own blog) is suspiciously similar to some of the more flowery posts floating around here.

  33. I notice also that Curmudgeon's blogpost appeared very shortly after our charming friend Anonymous's charming post above.

  34. These guys would be having apoplectic fits if they visited Muenster, the bicycle capital of Germany :)

  35. One of the reasons I have decided to ban anonymous posting on Fuggled is illustrated by some of the disgraceful comments in this thread - if you are brave enough to slag people off then please be brave enough to own your opinions and tell us who you are.

    Personally I wouldn't have a couple of pints and cycle home here in Charlottesville, but that is mainly due to the shit drivers in this neck of the woods, and their aggressive attitude towards cyclists in general.

  36. I reckon that if you've had enough beer to compromise your control of the cycle, you'd fail on the next hill anyway. If I drink a pint at lunchtime when out cycling, it can leave me seriously knackered for the afternoon.

    The only advantage is that if you do grit your teeth and hammer up the next big hill, you work the beer off pretty sharply.

  37. Pootling along a towpath as a group out for the day is a little different from consuming a large amount of fortified wine and tearing along. Common sense innit.

  38. @barm/frintonstack. i'm assuming you are one and the same. aplogies if i'm wrong.

    Just had a look at your twitter feed.

    Was it responsible for you to have six pints of a beer called highlander and then cycle home from a pub called the lawrieston at the start of June?

    You even tweeted 'excellent. almost as good as drunk cycling home!'

    don't your actions as a cyclist on the road have an impact on those other road users in your proximity when you are inebriated in charge of a bicycle?

    I'd like to see you try to debate the subtle nuances of the law to a police officer should you be involved or cause others to be involved in a road traffic accident.

  39. No, we're not.

    I've already explained the legal issues involved, what drunk means in a legal sense in terms of, and how the police assess it and deal with it. I'm tired of doing so. If you wish to believe otherwise or advocate the law be changed, be my guest, but your time would be more productively spent elsewhere. Moreoever, this has nothing to do with the original baseless slurs regarding the supposed criminal activities of this group of cyclists.

    Now, are you the same anonymous who was threatening to kill me earlier? The same anonymous that has a surprisingly similar line of argument, syntax and language use and approach to debate as a certain Blogger called Curmudgeon who disapprovingly linked to this article shortly after anonymous's threatening post? The same Curmudgeon who approvingly links to blogs justifying the Oslo atrocities? Or are you merely one of the trolls following his troll-magnet link that has so far brought only supporters? Sorry to bring this up here; I tried to do so earlier on your/his blog, but you/he was censoring everything remotely critical.

    As regards your last sentence, I imagine the cops would be rather more interested in attempts to explain threats to kill.

  40. Oh, and trawling though months of someone else's Twitter feeds in a desperate attempt to find anything incriminating? That's just sad.

  41. This is Curmudgeon (aka anonymous/Road Safety Lover/Hater of Hypocracy?)'s other site, on which he opposes the reduction in blood alcohol limits for driving, and argues for less rigorous enforcement and detection of current limits

    His real motivations become ever clearer.

  42. To the silly little troll. The main two differences between bikes and cars are their respective weights and the speed at which they can travel. And while it is perfectly possible to kill somebody by hitting them on a bike, the likelihood is a hell of a lot less.

    force = 1/2 x mass x velocity squared.

    A car weighs between twelve and twenty times the weight of a person on a bike, and a car is going to be travelling at least three time the speed, at a very conservative estimate. 12 mph v 36 mph. (slightly drunk cyclists are more likely to be going at less than ten mph, whereas drunk drivers often exceed forty or fifty mph.

    Even assuming a heavy person bombing it along at 14 mph they are still going to create 154 times less force than a light car travelling at 36 mph.
    Somebody hits you on a bike, you fall over, get a few bruises and there is a small chance that you could knock your head. Somebody hits you in a car at just 36 mph it'll knock you ten foot down the road and there is a good chance that it is life changing.

    A modern Toyota Land Cruiser weighs 2.3 tons without passengers.
    An average person with standard bike weighs less than 100k.

    So don't come out with this frankly total shit about cyclists having to follow the strictest drink driving laws. It doesn't wash.

  43. Which is why the legal criteria for drunk cycling is completely different to that from drunk driving (as well as the fact that bikes also have a much shorter stopping distance and are much more maneuverable. Anon/RSP/Curmudgeon is insisting on applying laws written for one type to vehicle to a different type which presents a different order of danger, even though there already exists a separate, and completely different, set of laws to deal with that vehicle. He/they are doing so because his/their logic runs, "Cyclists can do something I can't in my car, waaaah, waaaaah, waaaaah. BAN IT!" (Or rather, simply refuses to accept that it's not already banned. These same people will, of course, elsewhere pronounce themselves to be libertarians.)

  44. Why do car-haters seem to think that "troll" means "someone who disagrees with me/posts inconvenient truths/proves me wrong"? It's the same everywhere. Very strange. Like car-hating psycholists really.