9 things we learned at Tour De Fat.

When you think of Fort Collins,three major things come to mind: CSU country, loads of craft beer, and bikes.  New Belgium Brewing, America’s 4th largest craft brewery, has harnessed the power of bike enthusiasts to hold a circus of a bike parade widely known as Tour De Fat. Tour De Fat, an ode to New Belgium’s amber ale, Fat Tire, is now held in over 10 cities in the US.

The Pint went to check out the bike and beer festival this year, and we have kindly compiled of list for you to read before your first parade so you don’t look like a complete rookie:

  1. Bring your own refreshments. This year 20,000 people came out for Tour De Fat, and it is safe to assume that most of them were in the bike parade. We wish we would have brought our own refreshments to sip on while biking around fort collins, if you catch my drift.
  2. The Bike Parade is just that, a Parade. Unless you are at the very beginning of the pack, you will be walking your bike half the time. Since you will most likely be wearing a crazy outfit, and might be a little less than sober, this is perfectly fine.
  3. Be smart, and lock up your bikes. Although Tour De Fat brings out only the loveliest of people from their caves, one must still be leary of bike thieves. From what we saw, people were very trusting and merely locked their bikes to each other. Fort Collins brought in a mess of bike racks right by the festival ground for you to be safe. Be smart, lock your bike up.
  4. Go ahead, double fist. 20,000 people came out for Tour De Fat this year. Yes, that’s right. 20,000. The lines are long, the sun is hot, but the beer is flowing. Don’t hesitate to order yourself two beers when you reach the light at the end of the tunnel and go back plenty of times for more. At $5/pint and all proceeds going towards nonprofits, you can’t go wrong.
  5. Costumes are more than appropriate, they are a must! As we said before, the bike parade is not a race; leave your workout clothes at home in exchange for the craziest ensemble in your closet. Better yet, to be really festive, plan out costumes with your friends. Think Halloween meets Burning Man. Anything goes. Well, maybe not full nudity…
  6. Dress up your bike. The whole event is to celebrate clean transportation, and the bike is the king. It’s like Christmas, for bikes. Make your bike feel specia
  7. Bring music for the ride. We found ourselves behind a bike that was hauling a sound system streaming his ipod. Our small section of the parade was thankful for his funky tunes. If you want to be the DJ, think ahead of ways to amp up the ride.
  8. The event is free. Tour De Fat is put on entirely by New Belgium and some 400 volunteers. It is all in the name of green transportation, namely for improved bike routes in the 10 cities Tour De Fat visits, and to promote bike riding in general. All proceeds from donations, beer, and merchandise sales go towards local nonprofits.  We learned that $4 million had been raised for “bicycle awareness” and nonprofits in the last 16 years of Tour De Fat, with nearly $600,000 last year alone.
  9. Be courteous above all else. The fact is, 20,000 people at any event is crazy. Be kind, be courteous, and drink responsibly. Enjoy the people watching, bike riding, beer drinking, activities, art, and music at Tour De Fat, and you will be sure to have a great experience.