Yesterday we attended the Tour de Fat. Pictures and words don't do this event justice...you had to be there! I'll do my best to give you some highlights though. I arrived to this event "on time". Anyone who knows me, will find this to be out of the ordinary. This just goes to show you where my priorities are at. I did NOT want to miss the bike parade! We loaded up the bikes and headed up into the mountains for Truckee, CA.
Soon after I arrived I had the fine pleasure of meeting Mr. Wolfy of Team Bacon Strip. We had good talk of blogs and bikes, and he hooked me up with a few TBS stickers. I also learned that he and some others had ridden to Truckee the night before and camped. I thought that was pretty cool. Quite an accomplishment with all that camping gear if you ask me. This sort of thing went perfect with the whole event though. The main theme of the Tour de Fat was a move away over consumption, wastefulness, and heavy reliance on petroleum. I had planned to talk with Wolfy later in the day, but never saw him again. I take that back. I did see him once in the freak bike arena, but using every ounce of concentration to ride, I was not able to speak to him. Go check out The Bacon Strip. It's good reading!
The event kicked off with a bicycle parade through Truckee. Any type of bicycle you can imagine was there. Many bikes looked like Dr. Seuss had been the chief designer. We got behind a bike towing a music trailer, and enjoyed the tunes for a while. Vegan Charlie mistook the event for a race though, so we had to catch up to him, leaving the tunes behind.
The parade route took us through downtown Truckee. Traffic was not blocked off, and most if not all the bystanders seemed a bit stunned to see so many bicycles coming by, not to mention the costumes and freak bikes. For a short time, bikes ruled the streets, and cars were made to wait. One cyclist in an Indian head dress positioned himself in front of a Hummer and then just stopped. He sat there for a good while and allowed the cyclists safe passage. I praised him for his fine work when we got back to the park.
After the parade was over, it was time to enjoy the beer, sights, and sounds. And believe me, there was plenty of everything. New Belgium was there with most of there beers on tap. I had most of them, and all were delicious. I think the mood and theme made them taste even better. Now some might think that with all the beer that was flowing, things would get out of hand. This was not the case though. It wasn't even rowdy. People just seemed to be having a good time and laughing a lot. Nobody that I saw appeared to be intoxicated. Plenty of people, including me, were there with their kids. The kids were having just as much fun as the adults. I think this says a lot about cycling and the cycling culture. It's largely a happy, peaceful, and fun loving bunch!
In addition to the new friends we met, we ran into familiar faces...Brent, Sandie, and Robin, guys from the local shops, riders I've met out on the trail, and the riders from the local cruiser scene. The Slow Rollers, Gonads and Strife, and The Rusted Chain Gang were all represented by their fearless leaders. All three groups mentioned have rides coming up soon...stay tuned!
As you could probably surmise from all the pictures here, something out of the ordinary was going on at the Tour de Fat. All day long there was music and entertainment. Everything had a quasi-carnival-circus-vaudeville feel to it. And when I say carnival, I don't mean meth addict, 80's Aerosmith Tour Jersey, Tilt-a-Whirl, missing teeth carnival. Old time carnival. Traveling performers and musicians. To be laying in the grass, sipping a Mothership Wit, listening to live accordion music, while three girls in pink poodle costumes prance by you, is to be totally disconnected from your usual life. It was very surreal. I had thoughts of joining the circus and living the life of a gypsy.
I have one simple request, and that's, "Fire jugglers riding frickin' flame shooting pogo sticks!"
Halfway through the event, my camera started flipping out. It would only take images like this! Fortunately, Brent and Sandie took a bunch of pictures too, and even let me snap a few with their camera. The camera that broke was responsible for almost all the pictures you see on this blog! It will be missed. Kristy investigated, and it looks like we bought the extended warranty. A replacement camera may be in the near future! With any luck, it will be upgraded. For you, the reader, this means more megapixels packed into the same amount of viewing time. It will be quite a value that I will be pleased to pass onto you at no additional charge.
Throughout the day we enjoyed a variety of vegan victuals. The vegetarian food went well with the theme of the day. Less energy. Bicycle Power. There were no trash cans. They had a compost station setup. Beer cups and forks were made from corn starch and were compostable as well as were the paper plates. The shows were powered mostly (if not 100%) by solar power. Tour buses run on bio diesel. Many people went to a tent and made written pledges to drive their cars less. As one guy said, oil is not a bad thing, it is our overuse of it. As Americans, we tend to take more than our fair share of the world's remaining non-renewable energy sources. The Tour de Fat proved how much fun you can still have at a "powered down" event. I believe this is something everyone will take home and incorporate into their daily lives.
And another thing...Yay for Beer!
The complete photoset is HERE.