Not all riders are created equal and, thankfully, not all rides are either. Some rides are gauntlets: intense, exhausting and sweat-inducing races that require a bevy of energy gels and power bars to get you through the day. Others are mere get-togethers: easy, breezy rides with friends that substitute sweat for smiles and energy gels for beer.
Here's a list of the latter for those cyclists who don't take the sport—or themselves—too seriously.
Tour de FatAug. 15 - Oct. 3, 2015, in multiple cities. 1 of 9
Taking place in 10 different cities throughout the year, the six cities still remaining are your last chances to enjoy New Belgium Brewing's traveling celebration of all things cycling. Every ride begins with a costumed bike parade, and event coordinators encourage participants to roll through the city as creatively and chaotically as they wish. And, of course, there will be plenty of beer.
Boise, Idaho – Aug. 15
Fort Collins, Colorado (Home of New Belgium Brewing) – Sept. 5
Denver – Sept. 12
San Francisco – Sept. 19
San Diego, California – Sept. 26
Tempe, Arizona – Oct. 3
Urban AssaultAug. 16 - Nov. 15, 2015, in multiple cities. 2 of 9
This ride/race gets massive points for creativity. Teams of two go on a city-wide quest for checkpoints where an obstacle course full of big-wheel powerslides and inflatable slip-n-slides await contestants. Like every race, there's a champion, but a big after party and the enjoyment you'll glean from this adventure makes everyone a winner.
Des Moines, Iowa – Aug.16
Austin, Texas – Nov. 1
Tucson, Arizona – Nov. 15
Tour de DonutSept. 12, 2015, in Arcanum, Ohio 3 of 9
It's an odd combo, but if you enjoy eating doughnuts as much as riding bikes, this is the race for you. This race allows doughnut-eating and cycling to go hand-in-hand as cyclists visit four doughnut stops during a 64-mile course and munch on the sweet, circular goodies. This might be the one sporting event where the amount of doughnuts you can down does not adversely affect your performance, but actually improves your time. Five minutes get deducted from your time for every donut you eat. If only donuts rewarded our bodies in the same way.
Baker's Dozen Beer RunSept. 19, 2015, in Marshall, Mich. 4 of 9
A half marathon that you can complete any way you'd like: cycling, running, walking or relaying. So, this is a cycling event, of sorts, just one that's incredibly easy going and fun. The race begins and ends at the Dark Horse Brewing Company, where racers eat doughnuts before the race and drink beer after they cross the finish line. Racers will enjoy the beautiful fall weather and $3 pints all day.
Oktoberfest Ride for KidsSept. 19, 2015, in Springfield, Mo. 5 of 9
Oktoberfest and kids don't usually mix, but at this family fun ride, the two go together like milk and chocolate. The September ride, which touts its environmental friendliness, benefits the Boys and Girls Club of Springfield. Families can ride 30 or 10 miles, depending on experience, and are encouraged to wear German-themed attire during the ride and/or at the after party. Beer is available for adults, and the after party features German Oompah music and special gift bags for kids.
Tour and Taste Bike Ride and Beer TastingOct. 3, 2015, in Harrisonburg, Va. 6 of 9
A fall ride through beautiful Shenandoah Valley, the Tour and Taste offers 50-, 25- and 15-mile courses that begin and end at Brothers Craft Brewery. Or, if you're not feeling the two-wheel travel, you can choose a beer-tasting-only option. All riders and tasters receive a ticket for two beers, lunch and live music from local folk-rock heroes Mercy Creek. Beer, bikes, folk: It doesn't get much better than that.
Bikes and Beers PhillyOct. 18, 2015, in Philadelphia 7 of 9
A brewery tour on a bike: That's what you'll get at the Bikes and Beers Philly, a 15-mile ride around downtown Philadelphia that visits the city's top breweries. The ride includes stops at Yards Brewery, Dock Street Brewing and McGillin's Ale House, before returning to Yards, where the party officially begins. After the race, a live band greets riders who will also receive an event pint glass and a fill of their choice. Make no mistake: This is a party on two wheels.
24, 12 & 6 Hours of Halloween MTB WeekendOct. 24-25, 2015, in Los Olivos, Calif. 8 of 9
Any Halloween-themed mountain bike event is sure to be a party. This weekend-long (yes, it includes camping) family-friendly event includes candy, spooky camp decorations, costumes and a trick-or-treating hour for kids. But this ride isn't all fun and games. The 11-mile single-track race course includes steep descents, climbs and gorgeous views.