Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Tour de Fat - Chicago!

Beer! Bikes! Balloons! Booths! ...BMX Babes! ...Biking Blokes! ...(New) Belgium Brewing! I guess they should have named it Beer be Bat. Ok ok, so I'm talking about New Belgium Brewing's Tour de Fat. did ya see it? did ya did ya? were you in it? good for you! fun, yeah? Or did you get stuck in traffic because of it? well, then you should have been biking.

For those of you not familiar with Tour de Fat, think bike culture meets carny culture...minus rednecks, plus good beer...and a good cause. ever been to a county fair? well its almost nothing like that...is my ohio showing again?
©Wm. Tanner Young 2011



Started by bike-minded New Belgium Brewing(Colorado) 4 years ago, Tour de Fat is a touring bike carnival "pandering through 13 U.S. cities spreading the good word about the positive societal offerings of the bicycle," and good beer, of course. And this year's Chicago TDF started right in IALS's backyard, in Palmer Square! There were booths, there was booze, there were bikers, and of course, the parade! did I mention the parade? Aye! It's the main event at TDF! 10 am saw Logan Square's streets flooded with all sorts of bikers (minus the beer, of course!), meandering around Logan Square, showing Chicago that bikers arent just a bunch of pesky, hip hot-rodders that don't belong on the streets. Biking is a viable and pollution-free way of commuting in the city; we have numbers and we have the right! Oh, we also have the numbers and power to hold up traffic at whatever intersection we like. B-O-O-Y-A. We can do it in costumes, too. I didnt tell you about the costumes?!?! oh, well:

©Wm. Tanner Young 2011

©Wm. Tanner Young 2011

©Wm. Tanner Young 2011

I did say it was a carnival, afterall.

Of course, Tour de Fat isnt ALL fun and games. Ok, so maybe it is, but there's also a philanthropic element to it, too! Each tour stop benefits a local bike-oriented organization. This year in Chicago was West Town Bikes. West Town Bikes is a local organization dedicated to educating youth, especially under-priviledged communities, with bike workshops, advocacy projects and a productive community environment, "to foster and serve Chicago's growing bicycling community."

Ok ok, I know what you're thinking. You're thinking, "but TANNER!! ...you mentioned BMX Babes. hmmmm?" YES! Kicking off the parade was Chicago's very own all-girl BMX dance troupe, The Racketeers, performing a few routines! There were beats, stunts and two stepping! ...I may be lying about the two stepping, but there was dancing!
©Wm. Tanner Young 2011



When we got back from the Parade, of course, were the fun and games. We had a whole day of fun events, good beer and ...odd bikes ahead of us. observe:

There was the Keg Tapping:
©Wm. Tanner Young 2011

Ride-able Articles were monstrosities on wheels. Sort of like a bike parts store had a baby with an art school, while drinking a lot of New Belgium Beers...in a radioactive wasteland.
©Wm. Tanner Young 2011
©Wm. Tanner Young 2011

Stunt Pepper was an odd-job comical side show of pepper-brandishing bandits:
©Wm. Tanner Young 2011
Did I mention the flame-throwing pogo stick?
©Wm. Tanner Young 2011

Wolverine Farm Publishing is a Fort Collins, CO, Non-Profit Publisher. Philisophical in content and community based at heart, they were passing out issues of their free quarterly paper, Matterhorn.
©Wm. Tanner Young 2011

They also had a REALLY BAD map of Chicago, where you could pin up your favorite spots in the city, with a corresponding address and description on another sheet. They were kind enough to let me go the extra step for IALS, and put a URL actually on the map. thanks guys!
©Wm. Tanner Young 2011


Finally, I'll stop boring your bike brains with my babbling (oh yeah, that took effort), and close it off with the other..other main event; The bike give away! Trade Your Car For a Bike is TDF's crowning jewel. One lucky winner from each city will get a hand-crafted New Belgium commuter bike, all they have to do is promise to stay car-free for at least a year....and oh yeah, hand over their car to New Belgium to donate and benefit a non-profit (west town bikes for Chicago!). This year's winner was Chicago's own Dave Pabellon! Let's check out his entry video and soon-to-be-doomed SAAB.

Make sure to check out the Bike Trade blog to stay updated, and good luck to Dave on staying pollution free for a year!  No, really, good luck. Its all fun and games in the summer, but I suggest a bike tour to Florida, come December!

Oh oh! did i mention my Parade costume? I'll give you a hint: I can turn water into Holy Beer, and my bike into a earth-friendly Papal-mobile. YES! Morning Pope returned to graced TDF with his presence, and TDF graced him with their Holy Beer from On High!

As they say in the Vatican, Ciao!
-Tanner Young

1 comment:

  1. you weren't far off! it might not have been two step'n but THERE WAS SOME SWING DANCING!!!1

    ReplyDelete