Tour de Fat, this Saturday at Lindley Meadows, is featured in our Bike About Town column in the San Francisco Chronicle. This great article written by our member Monica Nolan captures all the reasons you should attend Tour de Fat. Last year, this full day of fun raised more than $30,000 for the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition and the Bay Area Ridge Trail Council. Come on out, it’s a great way to have fun and support our work to make San Francisco streets better for biking!
Tour de Fat – a unique amalgam of bicycles, beer, entertainment and do-gooding – can take some explaining for the uninitiated.
“It’s a traveling, philanthropic cycling carnival,” says Michael Craft, of New Belgium Brewing Co., which sponsors the event. Or is it “a bike event that has some music and a little beer thrown in,” as regular attendee Kevin Barnard describes it? Either way, Tour de Fat celebrates its fifth year in San Francisco this fall. To honor that anniversary, we offer our five favorite facets of the event:
It’s about the bike
Get out your chopper, your tall bike, the Raleigh 10-speed you rode in high school, your road bike, your fixie and the clunker you take to the grocery store. Tour de Fat brings together cyclists of all stripes and styles, and half the fun is checking out your fellow riders at the kickoff to the party, the annual bike parade (registration at 10 a.m., parade at 11). Strategize for events like the “slow race” and test-ride the one-of-a-kind bicycles in the bicycle corral. The main event is the car-for-bike swap, in which one person signs over his or her car to charity and receives a brand-new bike in return.
It’s about the costumes
Expect to see wigs paired with sparkly capes, feather boas and fedoras, hot pants with striped legwarmers. Craft says he’s seen it all, including 50 Evel Knievel impersonators. Looking for inspiration? Don’t forget that bridesmaid dress you have in the back of your closet. Craft says he sees several at each stop. “As part of the event, everything’s solar-powered and compostable so it’s a very reduce, reuse kind of event,” he says. What more creative reuse for a poufy pink dress with a bow in back than transforming it into bike attire?
It’s about the entertainment
This year’s lineup includes Mucca Pazza, a self-described “circus-punk marching band” whose performances include electric guitars, ukuleles, cheerleaders and lots of brass. They’ll be playing at the Bottom of the Hill that evening (10 p.m., $12, 21+), but you can see them in the afternoon for free. Also on the schedule: the Dovekins, Honeymoon Cabaret, the Raspyni Brothers and Américaine Stupide – this last described by Craft as a comedian “who talks in a thick French accent while asking the audience game-show-style questions.” For those who like to make their own entertainment, check out the DIY booth for a chance to get crafty.
It’s about the beer
Put away the brown paper bag you use to disguise your favorite brew on your regular visits to the park, and instead show your ID and slip on a wristband. Now you can patronize New Belgium’s beer garden and sample a raft of classic brews, including Fat Tire – named after the bicycle tour of Belgium that inspired New Belgium’s founder Jeff Lebesch to take his home brewing to another level.
It’s about the benefits
All proceeds benefit the Bay Area Ridge Council Trail and the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition. That could be your dollar helping to provide bike parking at the next Ferry Plaza Farmers Market, to mark a dangerous pothole or to restore a trail on a ridge near Pinole.
As Barnard says: “Come to celebrate bicycles, enjoy the music, enjoy the company, bring the family … and just be grateful for this fabulous existence we have.”