Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Tour de Fat


Tour de Fat was the perfect way to spend my first real weekend in Chicago. Jake and I rode our bikes, about 20 minutes away, and it was my inaugural ride through Chicago. I'll admit, I was pretty terrified of riding through the traffic and had avoided it for almost a week longer than Jake...
It was surprisingly easy! There is an imaginary bike lane that cars actually respect! I've never lived in a city so bike friendly, where it is honestly scarier to be a car among cars than to be a bike among cars. 

The bike pile in Palmer Square.
Tour de Fat is a 13-city touring festival celebrating bikes, put on by the very bike-centric New Belgium Brewery. The festival was free with very affordable New Belgium beer available, and was put together with astonishing flair: a grungy but whimsical carnival theme with a bit of steam punk aesthetic (without being obnoxious). There were quirky and somewhat subversive entertainment acts throughout the entire day following the bike parade (which we missed), bike-themed arts and crafts, a bull ring full of ride-able bike art, and a lot of free-to-use contraptions made of recycled bike parts. We also got to rub elbows with the CEO of New Belgium. She's a fox!
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This guy signed his car title to New Belgium in trade for a beautiful new bike, an event that happens at each city stop, each year of the festival. What an amazing commitment!
The day cost us no more than $25 dollars--$5 for each large beer (2 Somersaults, 1 Fat Tire, and 1 IPA), plus a couple of goodies for ourselves by donation to West Town Bikes, a local bike nonprofit that received all proceeds from the day. In the end, West Town Bikes was rewarded with $20,000!
Mucca Pazza, a Chicago-based "punk marching band," played throughout the day. The band puts on a spectacular show! I've seen them many times over the past 7-ish years, and they never lose their gusto!
The day could have been easily enjoyed without spending a cent. Outdoor festivals are a great way to save some coin during the summer, and biking to the destination keeps it cheap AND sustainable AND healthful. If you ever get the chance to participate in Tour de Fat, you cannot miss it!

Tour de Fat Outfit, aka How I Got My First Sunburn of the Season and Why It Was So Awkward Looking Outfit
Romper: Vintage, with built-in flesh belt/tie waist, $3.38
Bandana: Snatched from my mom's wardrobe years ago, $FREEO
Shoes: not pictured, white off-brand Keds from discount store, $3.50
Approximate Total: $7.00

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