I remember when my dad turned 40, there was a party that involved black balloons and funeral home flower arrangements. I think one of his friends even dressed up like Death, complete with a scythe. I was pretty young at the time, but it made an impression: 40 is old. Like, think about what you want your gravestone to say. Because you’re gonna die soon.
Even today, when youth seems to be perpetual thanks to adult video game leagues and Viagra, 40 is still universally considered “old.” It’s the beginning of the end. The tippy top of the downward slope. As I’ve rapidly approached the hallmark, I’ve had dozens of people go out of their way to tell me that 40 was when it all went south for them. Their hair fell out. Their knees started hurting…all that crap. It’s the kind of thing that you hear so often, you almost start to believe it. So when I turned 40 last week, my friends and I did the only thing that you can do when you’re staring down death: we went drinking and rode bikes. We called it the “Asheville Dive Bar Bike Race,” or DBBR, an ingenious one-night only event where a group of middle-aged dudes raced their bikes from bar to bar. And when I say racing, I mean all out sprints, dodging traffic and throwing elbows. First biker to reach each establishment wins that segment. Winner of the most segments earns the admiration of his peers.
The bars on the list were a thing of beauty. Old school Ping-Pong bars, dive-bars turned hipster hangouts, one bar that’s basically a mobile home…it was a night full of cheap beer, two-wheeled chase scenes and the occasional Hank Williams shrine. When I think back on it, I can practically hear myself screaming, “I am not my father,” as I pedal my bike from bar to bar. Check out the shenanigans in the gallery and contact me if you’d like to franchise the DBBR™ in your home town. Because it’s fun.
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We started off classy, with good IPAs from The Wedge brewery in the River Arts District.
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The Bywater has one of the greatest beer gardens in the South, with fire pits and lawn games next to the French Broad. For us, it was a two-mile sprint to get there from the Wedge.
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I prefer to visit bars by bicycle. I like the breeze in my thinning hair.
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Frazier's has a Ping-Pong table in the back. People get serious about their Pong at this bar.
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Foosball at the Lazy Diamond in downtown. The mile-long sprint to this bar got sketchy. Nobody died, that's what's important.
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Ain't nothin' wrong with a little taxidermy.
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The Lazy Diamond has a unique lighting scheme.
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That's just good advice.
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Maybe the only shrine to Hank Williams outside of a men's room in America. Probably not, but maybe.
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More Pong at Desoto Lounge in West Asheville.