Posted By: Kristina Brown
The annual New Belgium bicycle celebration known as the Tour de Fat commenced on September 6th at the New Belgium Brewery. Thousands of people made the pilgrimage to the Mothership to pay homage to the “greatest invention on earth” – the bicycle. Local bicycle advocacy groups benefit from the annual tradition. Their biggest fundraiser of the year, it is used to improve and maintain trails and infrastructure in our cities and parks and to encourage safe cycling in our communities. Environmental and sustainability causes also benefit from the one-day festival. To date, New Belgium has helped raise over $800,000 for these groups. It seemed that everyone came out for the parade. Some dressed up for the occasion in special costume, while others donned their street clothes and an enthusiastic smile. All were welcomed and accepted by fellow paraders as well as on-lookers. The real treat was the variety of bicycles that came out for the event. There were couch bicycles, side-by-side tandems, tricycles, and so many more! There was no limit to the imagination. The route chosen for the parade gave a tour of some of the most historical and beautiful areas of Fort Collins. It paraded through Old Town down West Mountain Avenue to City Park and back to the New Belgium Brewery, where beer and food awaited the masses. The Fort Collins Tour de Fat is the largest in the country, and it gets bigger each year. It started as an expression of the celebration of the bicycle. The New Belgium Brewery encourages people in Fort Collins and around the country to ride their bicycle as an economical and sustainable way of transportation. With the inception of Team Wonderbike, they are converting thousands of people each year to leave their car at home and pedal their way to their destination. In their mission, they choose one person from each Tour de Fat city to give up their car for a new bicycle, which they will ride for one year. In their year-long journey, they will document their experiences for the Tour de Fat in the ultimate expression of “Follow Your Folly”. In conclusion, with an unstable economy and rising gas prices, the celebration of the bicycle is a needed relief and the perfect solution. Generating excitement about the most efficient vehicle on earth is just what we need to create a community based on sustainability.