What is the Tour de Fat?
When I announced to my bride that Mackie and I would be attending, and told her it was sponsored by the brewing company that produces Fat Tire Ale, she was surprised. She thought it was an event to celebrate getting fat people on bikes, so they can become less fat. (And I can totally understand how she could get that impression, when looking at me. She probably always wondered how Mackenzie could possibly fit in.)
So, what is it?
It's a celebration for New Belgium Brewing Company, no doubt! It is also a huge celebration of bicycles, and bicycle culture, and bicycle fun! It's also just another reason for people to get together and party.
As I write this (Saturday afternoon, Aug. 17), I'm confident the celebration is still going strong. The revelers are probably worked up to a frenzy of Pentecostal Bicycle Fervor by now. Or something like that.
We attended the parade. And what a parade it was! The front of the staging area was very near Americana Boulevard, and there literally had to be thousands of riders! Much, much larger than I recall in years gone by. We arrived early enough to take a look-see at the gathered masses, but we walked for five minutes without ever getting close to the back of the line... I bet it was close to the Royal Boulevard entrance of the park... and I bet it stretched for at least a mile as it rolled leisurely down the parade route.
Mackie did an excellent job of riding - she kept pace (no problem - it moved SLOW!), she didn't cause anybody else discomfort, and she avoided a couple of slightly-close calls. We didn't costume up much, and we both wore helmets (probably half of the riders had helmets on - many festooned for the occasion).
Next year, we've decided she will gather a costume and we'll decorate her bike. And I intend to hook up the BOB trailer with rolling sound. (Yeah, as if that crowd needed a boost of enthusiasm.)
The announced that it was the 12th straight year of TDF in Boise. And based on attendance, I'm sure it's permanently established at this point.
I'm sure many of the participants are pretty casual about their cycling and serious about their partying... but that's OK.