Monday, August 24, 2009

Tour de Fat follow-up

I attended, but very "peripherally."

Friday, the night before, my granddaughter and I had ridden the Bike/Bob down to Ann Morrison Park, the "scene of the crime," to play at the playground and the water fountain. We saw the extensive staging area for Tour de Fat, serene and quiet. (And we had a grand time at both the playground and the fountain... despite a flat tire. I was patching the tire as dusk approached. Mackie was dashing about nonstop - typical - in and out of the spray. I pleaded with her to stay where she could see me and I could see her. Despite my pleadings, she would disappear around the base of the fountain... it was always a relief to see her emerge on the other side.)

The next morning... we returned to the scene, via Bike/Bob. Our timing was flawless... we got there maybe 2 minutes before the parade rolled! (One of my complaints about Boise's May "Pedal Power Parade" is that they advertise a starting time... but it's not adhered to. It's hard to wrangle a toddler with a 15-second attention span for an hour, while waiting for the event to begin.)

Something set Mackie off... I'm guessing it was the two dudes with Alice Cooper face-paint on their "chopper" bicycles. (Excellent face paint and bikes!) Or perhaps it was "Nacho Libre." She saw something that scared her, and she started weeping. I hunkered down next to her and reassured her that they were all nice people, and nobody would hurt her, and then everything was all right.

The parade was fantastic!

I intended to take photos... but I was mesmerized to paralysis! There was an awesome variety of crazy costumes, perhaps surpassed only by the assortment of crazy contraptions the participants were riding on.

Obviously there was an infinite variety of standard 2-wheeled, chain-driven bicycles from authentic classic vintage machines to tandems to today's carbon titanium offerings. But besides that, there were tall bikes... two bikes welded together side by side... menacing-looking long-wheelbase custom "chopper" bikes... huge contraptions driven by four or six stokers, the only resemblance to a bicycle being the spoked wheels.

There was a "trike" that had a standard automobile seat for 2 passengers, with pedals for each, and two wheels underneath and a steering-wheel out front. (THAT looked like fun!)

Doctor Seuss meets Rube Goldberg!

We joined in at what we thought was the back of the parade... but there were hundreds of additional participants who were watching the parade go by and then joining in at the back. I'm thinking there were at least a thousand bikes (or somewhat bicycle-like contraptions) that participated.

We headed for home after the parade, and a half-hour of playground bliss.

As a first-time casual participant, I was impressed by how happy and community-minded and cooperative everyone seemed. Summer of love! I was also struck by how quietly so many people could move from one place to another... even a thousand bicycles are pretty much silent! (Particularly when compared with the annual "Motorcycle Awareness Rally" that I usually ride in... and where half the participants seem to be making as much noise as they possibly can. It's really a little embarrassing.)

There's a nice photo gallery at the Idaho Statesman website - click HERE. (If you start crying - don't blame me!)

I'd enjoy reading some comments from other people who survived the 2009 Boise Tour de Fat... post away! (Thanks.)


Clancy said...

We missed the parade but made our own parade on the way down. 10 of us biked down including my son and nephew. Best people watching outside the Western Idaho Fair.

Boise raised $42,000 for local bike groups vs. only $8000 that Portland did the previous week.

Clancy said...

video of our Bogus descent.

The Boise Picayune said...

Unrelated; but not...

WARNING: Sidewalk Grate on Capitol Boulevard side of Telephone Exchange Building eats tires. Sent me right over the handlebars. Airborne!

And found "Save the Planet — Ban Cycle Helmets" @

Thought your readers might enjoy.

Tour de Fat - Boise 2009 said...

You'll want to watch the "Tour de Fat Boise 2009" video I created to re-live the glory - - - >

(YouTube ratings & comments welcome)