It is business as usual at the Real Ale Brewery on San Saba Road in Blanco this June 1 Monday morning - a far cry from the festivities at the brewery on May 30 as weary but jubilant bikers rolled in after their rides to relax, tell tales of the road, eat Riley’s Barbecue, and of course, drink free Real Ale beer. The ride, now in its third year, drew between 1300 and 1400 riders, by the estimate of business manager and co-owner Gabriel Gregerman, and approximately 1700 were served barbeque. The ride, which consisted of 5 different routes ranging from 15 to 80 miles in length, is promoted by Bicycle Sport Shop of Austin and sponsored by a number of merchants, most notably the Real Ale Brewing Company, a Blanco business spearheaded by Brad Farbstein and his team of experienced brewers. Red Licorice Events, the organizer, helped things run smoothly, according to participants, who were able to register online this year.
Gregerman wishes to thank community members for their support of the event, including the many volunteers who manned nine rest stops along the way, where riders could take a pit stop, get water, fruit, cookies, even sunscreen. In turn the community is indebted to Real Ale and the other sponsors, for the financial benefits to Blanco because of the ride. Riders utilize local motels, eat at local restaurants, and generally contribute to the local economy. As well, a portion of the proceeds of the ride will once again go to the Blanco Library, which last year received $3000 toward new books and its library expansion project.
Other support people who helped the ride go smoothly included amateur radio operators, who provided communication between rest stops, and EMS workers from Austin, some of whom came directly from night shifts without the benefit of sleep. “Sag wagons” picked up injured or exhausted riders. Newly-elected Blanco mayor Tina Gourley led off the ride, expressing her enthusiasm for the event.
Comments from riders, some of whom came from as far away as Dallas and Corpus Christi, were universally positive, including praise for the helpfulness of volunteers, enjoyment of a beautiful ride through the Hill Country, and the smooth organization which allowed everyone to have a great day.