In most circles, biking is hopping on your one speed, heading down to the farmers’ market, then having your friend Instagram a picture of you and your basket full of produce — caption: “So fresh Will Smith would be proud.” Tired of farmers’ markets hogging all of the attention, New Belgium started offering free beer to anyone who biked to the brewery. However, after a day or two or three (gets hazy up there), ole John Hickenlooper shut down the promotion due to massive delays on I-25 North, apparently there isn’t a bike lane. He even forced the USA Pro Tour to end in Denver instead of Fort Collins…why do you think all those dudes biked so quickly?

After the mayhem cleared, ole Hickenlooper and the folks at New Belguim realized the solution to more sustainable transportation in the Greater Denver area wasn’t going to be the light rail (thank god, because by the time that is completed we will just teleport everywhere) but getting people to ride their bikes. The board members of the RTD hated the idea and claimed “there will only be one way to get to DIA in an hour and a half…the SKYRIDE.”

However, much to the RTD’s dismay, New Belgium started experimenting with the idea.  After some brainstorming and some light thought-enhancing drinking, Tour de Fat was born.  Participants must abide by the following rules (as detailed by Tour de Fat liasion):

  1. Put no means of transport before thy bike: Come by bike because not only are bikes fun, but they help stave off some of our most wicked ills: Traffic, laziness, and pollution. Tour de Fat has a solution: ride this day, every day, and definitely when Tour de Fat heads your way.
  2. Honor all other bikes: All bikes are good bikes, and all those who ride them are good people. This is the one Bike Festival that cherishes bicycle diversity on our cruise-ade through town.
  3. May every generation come forth: This is a family friendly event. Costumes, bikes and a parade? We were thinking like kids we they created Tour de Fat.
  4. Thou shall come as a participant not a spectator: It’s a costumed celebration of human-powered transportation. Muscles not motors, coasters, v-brakes and rotors. Come in your favorite alter ego, because when everybody’s weird, no one is.
  5. Thou shalt not bring booze: But enjoy the supplied malted adult refreshments responsibly: Please do not bring any outside alcohol on the ride or into the park. It could result in getting the event shut down…don’t be that guy. And when you imbibe in our tasty brews, remember this is a Bicycle Festival with beer, not the other way around.
  6. New Belgium shalt not profit: Our goal is to raise money for bicycle and environmental charities.
  7. Remember the purpose, and bring not your pooches: No canine friends allowed this year.
  8. Keep the day true with thy good juju: The ride is free, but we suggest a $5 donation to the good bike advocates who are putting it on for you.
  9. Thou shall rise early: Since Tour de Fat is a free show, we sometimes get more folks than we can accommodate.
  10. Thou shalt not steal thy neighbors’ bike: Don’t even think of leaving with a bike that doesn’t belong to you.

The centerpiece of the event recreates a sacrificial ritual taking the crowd back to the Aztec era.  One individual is selected to donate their car to Vehicles for Charity while pledging to live car free for a year.  This lucky individual is rewarded with a $2,250 credit to outfit themselves with the ultimate commuter bike.  Throughout the next year, they will serve as an inspiration for the community to strive for a healthier and sustainable commute.

Join fellow riders September 8 for the Tour de Fat and show off your biking skills, style, and calves while enjoying some great beer on behalf of sustainability.

Parallel parking sucks, ride your bike.


Connor Grant is the outdoor columnist at 303 Magazine.  He enjoys Mad Men, polarized Ray Bans, big mountain skiing, a good Old Fashioned, anything outside, and reading. When he isn’t rubber necking gear at REI, you can find him frequenting shows at Red Rocks, uncovering new electronic music, or discovering new tapas bars around town.  Let go or be dragged. Try and keep up by following him on Twitter.

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