drinking and bikepacking

Drinking and Bikepacking – Sober vs Buzzed vs Drunk

If you’re thinking about joining next month’s “Bikes and Brews” ride or drinking and bikepacking with your buds, this information could come in handy. As exciting as it sounds, riding your bike to a half dozen breweries and having a beer (or two) at each could have some serious implications depending on how much you drink. 

When it comes to things like performance, safety, and obeying the law, it all hinges on your level of intoxication. Riding your bicycle around after drinking shots of tequila may seem like a good idea, but things can turn bad very quickly depending on whether you’re riding sober, buzzed, or drunk. 

dinking and bikepacking

Riding Sober

Riding sober is clearly the best way to traverse the bike lanes, city streets, and rail trails.  You’re able to perform at a physical level uninterrupted by the impairments that go along with being intoxicated. 

Safety can be a valid concern depending on where you’re riding. The effects of alcohol can seriously impair both physical and mental capabilities, so if you want to stay safe, you’ll need to stay sober. 

There are no legal issues when riding sober unless you’re planning on breaking other laws while you’re out riding.  At any rate, it’s good to know the laws associated with the states you are riding in.

drinking and bikepacking

Riding Buzzed

It’s nice to stop at a restaurant or café for a drink and a bite to break up a long bike ride: or a short one for that matter. Depending on your tolerance level, a beer or two won’t get you drunk, but you may feel buzzed.  Alcohol can affect your performance when it comes to fine and complex motor skills, even if it’s just one drink. 

Safety is a concern for most cyclists even when you’re riding sober, so riding buzzed can create an unsafe situation for you and others. Accurate statistics are still being analyzed for 2020, but in 2019, 843 cyclists were killed due to collisions with motorists. 

Driving buzzed likely won’t have any legal ramifications if your blood alcohol level is below the legal limit. Each state has its own criteria for riding under the influence. Yes, you most definitely can get a DUI while riding your bike intoxicated. 

drinking and bikepacking

Riding Drunk

Riding your bike drunk can have pretty serious consequences for your performance, safety, and legality. Drinking alcohol affects stamina, strength, and power, so performance-wise, you’re not going to get much out of your ride.

Blurred vision, slow reaction times, memory loss, and impaired judgment are all ways that drinking alcohol can affect your cognitive abilities, add that to riding a bike and safety goes out the window. Bottom line is, it’s unsafe to ride while drunk. 

If the performance and safety issues aren’t enough to deter you from drinking and bikepacking, maybe the legal implications will give you some food for thought. For most states, the same DUI laws apply to cyclists. 

A DUI can mean a misdemeanor charge, and also, if there’s an accident, you could be held liable even if you’re not at fault.

Stay Aware and Mindful

You will get the most out of your ride if you’re sober. There’s nothing wrong with sipping a margarita on your lunch stop, but things start getting fuzzy the more you drink; so you need to know your limit. Drinking while bikepacking can be extremely fun but please be careful and plan ahead.

Celebrating a victory with a beer or two after your ride isn’t a problem so long as you are staying mindful of the performance, safety, and legal implications of riding buzzed or drunk.


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