Monday, August 11, 2014

Fat is coming to Boise!!

The New Belgium Tour de Fat will roll thru town next weekend - Saturday, August 16 to be specific.

How does one describe the Tour de Fat to someone not familiar?

Well, its not about Body Mass Index, or an eating contest, or a gathering of the morbidly obese.

Rather, it's a celebration of bicycle transportation and culture.  It's brought to you by the people who also bring you Fat Tire Amber Ale... which is probably delicious, particularly on a hot August afternoon in Boise!  (Not being a beer drinker, I can't speak from personal experience.  And in case you're wondering, most of the events are all-ages appropriate... particularly the parade, which takes a relaxed pace through downtown Boise on bicycles and contraptions that vaguely resemble bicycles.)

A complete schedule of events, and additional information, can be found HERE.  (It asks when you were born... apparently even though the kiddies are welcome to ride in the parade, they shouldn't be looking at the schedule!)

Mark your calendar now - the parade begins at 11am.  It's probably the closest thing we have to Carnaval, or Mardi Gras.  Very, very festive!  If you've done it once, you'll want to do it every year.

Another favorite event is the "Car for Bike Trade."  An attendee who mostly drives a car for transportation pledges to give up that car for a year... and in return he or she rides away on a shiny new limited-edition Fat Tire bike!  (I'm always jealous... but must admit I'm not the "target demographic" since I'm already a believer.)

Last year, they estimated 7000 parade participants!  No other parade in Boise even comes close!  And - there's another reason to participate... last year the attendees contributed $62,000 to local non-profit bicycle partners (this year the beneficiaries are SWIMBA, Treasure Valley Cycling Alliance, and the Boise Bike Project).

Let's hope for 8000 or maybe 10,000 participants this year... and be part of it!

Monday, August 4, 2014

Another Greenbelt ride to Eagle Road

I promised granddaughter a grand adventure, if she'd go on a bike ride with me.  She took the bait!

We started riding at Glenwood at about 7:30pm Sunday, and headed downstream.  The scenery is in its summer glory... fantastic!  Mackie ran over a little garter snake, yelling "Snake!" and slamming on her brakes.  We stopped to check it out... fortunately it was in soft, loose dirt, and she has fat tires, and the snake continued on his way, apparently unfazed.  (Mackie's only disappointment was when I suggested a minute or two later that we could've caught it and taken a photo of her holding it.)  We also had a beautiful blue heron take to the sky from maybe 15 feet away from us - awesome!

Downstream, we had the overflow canal to ford, since the homeowners apparently removed the plank that formed a makeshift bridge.  I had anticipated it, and we were both wearing our river sandals.  Sah-WEEET!

We crossed the Boise River at Eagle Road, and then headed upstream on the north side, returning to our starting spot at about sundown.  At 10 1/2 miles or so, I believe it's the longest ride Mackie has been on, where she was supplying her own power.  She said, "My legs feel kind of tired, but I'd like to keep going!"  Her 24-inch bike has definitely expanded her horizons.

I mentioned Clancy's dream - of extending the Greenbelt downstream another couple miles to Eagle Island State Park, and having overnight camping available for cyclists.  What a fantastic thing that would be, for a family bike-riding destination!  Mackie agreed heartily.

It always seems 10 degrees cooler when you're near the river.  Maybe it's just the shade, I don't know.

We are both looking forward to our next "near the edge" bike adventure.