On July 10, Bend beer drinkers will get to raise a pint of "Gary's No Quit Wit," Worthy Brewing's latest creation, in honor of Bend living legend Gary Bonacker, Sunnyside Sports co-owner and mountain bike pioneer. Also, cancer fighter and creator of Tour des Chutes, a benefit ride he created.
Ten years ago Bonacker was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor. Now 58, Bonacker is mostly off the bike and in and out of chemotherapy and radiation. Somehow he's retained his signature smile and even makes it into his bike shop for light-duty work. It's a far cry from his former life as singletrack explorer.
Back in the late '70s and early '80s Bonacker and his buddies were shredding what was then called Bachelor Butte and doing so on clunky cruisers, retro-fitted for off-road riding. After tumbling to the dusty bottom on rigid bikes with brakes that hardly worked, the crew of "mountain bikers" would push their heavy steeds back up the mountain for another lap. And if Bonacker needed a break from the "dirt-bombing," as he called it, he'd jump in a road race or go out for an endurance ride in the high Cascades.
To commemorate Bonacker's fighting spirit and cycling passion, the eastside brewery is tapping the summer Belgian-style wheat beer at noon on July 10 and will host a special tribute to Bonacker at 6 pm on July 14, following the July 13 Tour des Chutes benefit ride (pizza party at Worthy directly after the Tour). For every case sold Worthy has pledged to contribute $2 to Tour des Chutes and the St. Charles Cancer Survivorship Program. Aside from pub pours, Worthy is bottling the summer seasonal (22-ouners), which should soon be available at local bottle shops.