08 Sep Tour de Fat– Too Much Fun
Just to further prove that our town of Fort Collins, Colorado, is a bicycle-friendly community, over 25,000 cyclists come together on one Saturday morning annually for the Tour de Fat bicycle parade. This past weekend the free event occurred. I cleaned up my New Belgium bike, ( that I had won in a contest three years ago) and checked the air in the tires for a smooth ride.
Out came the box that stores my special Tour de Fat costume: black and white striped knee stockings, a black and white polka dot bicycle skirt, and a white t-shirt with “Tour de Fat” embroidered on the back. For a bit of “bling”, I wear long red feather earrings and my red helmet has strings of pearls hanging from the back. Actually, it’s a pretty conservative costume compared to the thousands of other participants. People come up with some very crazy outlandish outfits.
Even bicycles get decorated with crepe paper, colorful flags, streamers, plastic flowers, blaring music boxes and baskets holding dogs. Some very talented and skilled welders work on original home-made bikes all year just to ride and show off their new creations for this once-a-year festival.
Several streets along the route, in the downtown area of Fort Collins, are blocked off for the bike parade. Volunteers and police officers help safely guide the masses of cyclists along the right direction. Everyone is in a party mood and lots of smiles can be seen. Even the folks watching on the sidelines wear colorful costumes, pull out the barbeques, and cheer the riders on–even though this is not a bicycle race. In fact with so many bikes, the parade moves along quite slowly, which gives me a chance to observe all the creative costumes surrounding me.
At the end of the parade route, hundreds of rental bike racks are placed in a large empty lot but it’s not enough to hold all the innumerable amount of bikes. Every available street light or pole will have several bikes locked up against it. Actually the whole downtown area becomes one big bike parking lot. Several music bands play rock music. Food vendors sell pizzas, hamburgers, veggie-wraps, and even Chinese dumplings. Long line of hungry cyclists start queuing up.
At the end of the day prizes are given to the best costumes and unique bikes. It’s just a really fun and unusual day, spent among thousands of bikes. I ride my bicycle home, take a well-deserved shower and pack away my costume into it’s own special box until next year’s Tour de Fat. Can’t wait!