Tour de Fat


by Chelsea Chambers, photos by New Belgium Brewery

On Saturday, August 13, Ann Morrison Park will be transformed into a world of bikes, beers, and endless entertainment. While many of us have heard about walks for the cause or races for the cure, there is one fundraiser that’s raising the bar on staying active and giving back to the community: Tour de Fat—a national bicycle festival that happens in nine states across the U.S. Ran by New Belgium Brewing, the event has been a success since its inception 16 years ago in Fort Collins, Colorado. Tour de Fat was originally created to establish a greater awareness of cycling and the benefits of sustainable transportation. Each year, the event grows larger and more inspiring as thousands of people dress up in elaborate costumes, don their bicycles, and ride through the city.

While riding bikes is the premise of the event, it is not the only pinnacle of entertainment that Tour de Fat has to offer. Their slogan of “Beer, Bikes, and Bemusement” will not disappoint. Alongside all of the glorious eccentricities of the costumed bike ride will be several local bands playing throughout the day, as well as more beer and merchandise than you could imagine.

The event is free to attend, meaning it will be hitting the top of our list for this summer’s local activities. To make things even better, all of the donations and proceeds from the merchandise and beer sales will be going directly to nonprofits here in Boise. This year the Boise Bike Project, Treasure Valley Cycling Alliance, and Southwest Idaho Mountain Biking Association will be feeling the Tour de Fat love.

Tour de Fat is the brainchild of New Belgium, a Colorado-based brewery started in 1991 by Jeff Lebesch and Kim Jordan. For over 25 years, New Belgium has made it their goal to be as energy-efficient and sustainable as possible. From their green operation facilities to their community support initiatives, New Belgium has been a driving force in the industry to do more for the environment. Tour de Fat is a direct reflection of their belief systems—the event encourages the use of cycling as a sustainable method of transportation.

The idea for the event came from two employees of the company, the marketing director and the sales director, sitting around a picnic table having a beer. They felt that New Belgium has been greatly supported by the bicycle community and they wanted a way to give back to them. The initial project was led by David Kemp and Bryan Simpson along with a team of people devoted to philanthropy, and thus, Tour de Fat was born! Since the event began, Tour de Fat has raised over $4 million dollars and all that money goes directly back into the local communities that host.

If you would like to be a part of the 2016 Tour de Fat in Boise, pre-registration is available on Eventbrite. The costs associated with these are donation-based only ($5 or $10) and will go toward the money raised for the nonprofits in Boise. As an added bonus, many of the pre-registrations options come with limited edition Tour de Fat gear: sunglasses, patches, and license plates.

Mark your calendars for Tour de Fat 2016 and get ready to spend the day riding, dancing, and drinking with all of Boise!