A light, steady morning rain greeted nearly 30 riders Saturday morning at the Barton County Expo grounds for the start of the seventh annual Bike Brew Q cycling event and craft brewing expo.
While the rain did derail two of the morning’s off road events, the riders were still able to take part in 20 and 40-mile road rides through rural Baron County during the event, put on each year to support cystic fibrosis research.
Event organizer and Dry Lake Brewery co-owner Ryan Fairchild said the day’s event is an opportunity to support a cause which hits very close to home for him. Fairchild’s wife, brother-in-law and cousin all battle cystic fibrosis, so when the event kicked off seven years ago, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation was a natural cause to raise money for.
Fairchild said the event began seven years ago as a chance to not only raise money, but to bring an event to the community that was different and unique.
We didn’t really have a bike cycling event to lay our hat on. And so we we thought, ‘we’ll throw an event,’” Fairchild said. The inclusion of barbecue and beer, post-ride staples for many cyclists, seemed a natural fit for the event, and so Bike Brew Q was born.
In the previous six years, the event has raised more than $70,000 for CF research. The goal, Fairchild said, is to reach the $100,000 by the 10th year of the event, which he feels there is a good chance to accomplish. The money raised so far has already borne fruit toward the goal.
Though there is still no cure for the disease, research funded by events like Bike Brew Q has led to new treatments for the disease such as Trikafta, a prescription medicine used for the treatment of CF in patients with certain mutations in the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) gene. While the drug is not a cure, Fairchild said it helps significantly reduce symptoms for patients such as members of his family who use the treatment.
Given the wet conditions, he was pleased with the turnout for the morning ride. By nature, he said cyclists tend to wait until the day of an event to sign up to ensure the weather is conducive to a safe ride.
One addition to the day’s event, which in addition to the morning ride included an afternoon craft brewing festival, was two live bands scheduled to play at the event.
For this year’s craft beer festival, organizers had 12 area craft brewers registered for the event. This is down slightly from previous years, Fairchild said, as the smaller brewers attempt to rebound from COVID-19 shutdowns and associated supply cost increases. Still, he said, he his encouraged by the turnout for the event.
One of the festival’s brewers, Nothing’s Left Brewery, hails from as far away as Tulsa, Okla. He said brewers like that, who create unique products, brought a new flair to this year’s event, along with breweries that produce more traditional brews.
For the beer portion of the event, Fairchild said they had 100 pre-registrations for attendees, and expected to be on par with previous years’ attendance numbers of anywhere from 225 to more than 300 attendees.
In addition to raising money for CF research, Fairchild said the event is an important way to bring the community together in a number of ways.
“It brings out some cycling awareness,” Fairchild siad. “Also, events in the community are big because it brings people together. It’s kind of that sense of community.”
Fairchild said he is grateful for the support the event has received from the community, and that organizations in the community have been great to work with. “We’ve been very pleased to have it here. And we proceed keeping it here until I can no longer do it.”
The gravel ride and at the Lake Barton Bike trail which were originally scheduled to be a part of the morning riding events were postponed as a result of the rain. They will be rescheduled as separate smaller events later in the fall.