Wednesday, August 13, 2008
You might think that between Chris LaPierre and I that we had enough to say about Ommegang, cycling, and fitness? Well, I really dropped the ball in one regard. Behind the cycling odyssey to Cooperstown was local cycling and beer enthusiast Jeff Appeltans and his partner Lara Marek. Through all of my postings during their journey, I never once included a link to Jeff's latest endeavor; I've since gone back and fixed that and here's some more about Jeff and what he's up to with GoCycling. Jeff has taken roads for cycling and beer drinking that have crossed way back in the past. For starters, his father was born in the small Belgian village of Kerkom, home to the eponymous brewery that makes Bink beer. In 1983, Jeff was touring through Europe by bicycle and visiting extended family in Belgium and the Netherlands when he tried his first Duvel. He says that he's been hooked ever since. Not convinced? How about in 2006 when he and Lara took a 14,510 mile road trip with mountain bikes & road bikes riding well over 1,000 miles in addition to hiking more than 100 miles? In between they visited over 30 breweries along the route through Canada & the United States. They returned to Philadelphia with over 3 cases of beer and 2 cases of wine stashed under the seats of their Subaru and anywhere else that they could find space. Last year, they did the ride to the Ommegang BCTC festival on their own. In hind sight, Patty recalls talking with them in the gift shop at Ommegang on Friday afternoon. Quite a few others noticed their bikes as well and were interested but apparently not nearly as many as this year, likely due to the additional "celebrity beer" riders along for the ride. Jeff's up to a lot of great things that will help further the education of those who do not yet understand that there is place in a healthy and active lifestyle for the responsible and moderate consumption of fine alcoholic beverages. Keep an eye on his website, where he is currently selling sharp looking cycling jerseys. Over the coming months, you may start to see cycling tours being announced there, and when some of them involve our favorite beverage, well you know I'll be letting you know about them too. Cheers, Jeff & Lara. Keep up the great work!