Travis Book heads to four Blue Ridge locales for a weekend of beer, bluegrass, and bikes.
Travis Book, bass player for The Infamous Stringdusters and longtime friend of BRO, is a man of many passions. Chief among them are playing music, drinking good beer, and spending time on his bike. Ever the crafty fellow, Book has managed to concoct a plan that combines all three of these loves — travel to four Blue Ridge towns, crank some great mountain bike trails, and then hit the local craft brewery to pick some tunes and sip some brews.
Best weekend ever? It could very well be.
And it turns out Book is as generous as he is crafty. All of the proceeds from the four shows will benefit local biking clubs and trail systems.
Travis and I recently chatted about the tour, which starts in a couple weeks.
BRO – You have put together a weekend of playing music, drinking beer, and riding bikes. Any advice on how I can get something like that past my wife?
TB – I’ve demonstrated to my wife over the years that if I don’t get outside and do something reckless/thrilling/challenging, I get to be a little bit of a pain in the ass. I also have to give her a foot rub while watching pre-recorded episodes of Downton Abbey pretty much whenever she wants for the foreseeable future, which isn’t a bad deal if you ask me.
BRO – For years, you and the Dusters have wound outdoor experiences with your music. How do you satisfiy your outdoor wanderlust when you are on tour?
TB – Careful planning, creative scheduling, and a steadfast belief that playing tired after a day of riding in the van and skiing or riding or running or hiking is better than playing tired after a day of just riding in the van. We all love to get outside and get the blood flowing, so it’s always an easy sell to detour into a national park or get up a little early to make some turns.
BRO – What was it about these four towns that made you choose them for this tour?
TB – Initially, I was inspired by the Blue Ridge Parkway and the way it ties the Blue Ridge together. Brevard and Roseland are a few miles from the northern and southern termini of the parkway, and I’ll be using the parkway as much as possible in my travels. All four of these communities have strong outdoor and beer cultures and a need for additional funding for trail and music lovers.
BRO – What’s your favorite post-ride beer?
TB – Devils Backbone Eight Point IPA or Oskar Blues G’Knight. I’m also not afraid of anything cheap or in a can. I’m not a beer snob, but I won’t drink Miller Lite. There’s something wrong with that beer . . . it might be the corn.
BRO – Can we look forward to this being an annual event?
TB – I hope so. If the breweries sell some beer, the clubs raise money, sponsors see some new eyes, people dig the music, and everyone has a great time, then this model could work anywhere there are music lovers, breweries, and trails. Thankfully, that’s pretty much everywhere. I’d love to try this out west, too. I don’t get to ride in Colorado as much as I’d like.
BRO – Should I join you for a ride, could I fill my Camel Bak with a refreshing IPA?
TB – You could, but I would advise taking a can or two of Dale’s or Striped Bass in your pack. Once you put beer in that Camel Bak bladder, there is no going back.
The Bluegrass, Beer, and Bikes Tour kicks off on Thursday, March 26th, at Oskar Blues Brewery’s Tasty Weasel Taproom in Brevard, N.C. Friday, March 27th, includes a stop in Boone at the Appalachian Mountain Brewery, while Saturday, March 28th finds Travis back on his home trails at Devils Backbone Brewing Company in Roseland, Va. The weekend winds up on Sunday, March 29th, at Soaring Ridge Craft Brewery in Roanoke.
All shows on the Bluegrass, Beer, and Bikes Tour are free, though a donation is suggested.
For more information on the bike tour, along with details on other solo shows or where you might catch Travis with The Infamous Stringdusters or Sunliner, please check out his website.