Tour de Fat

Tour de Fat came to Milwaukee today.
This is the third time we have attended and it seems to get better every year. This is where you can let your inner bike geek out without any fear of seeming too crazy. In past years it was at Humboldt Park but this year it moved to the lakefront downtown, which was definitely an improvement, especially given the scorching hot summer we have been experiencing and the fact that temperatures are always a few degrees cooler by Lake Michigan. The name of the festival is meant to suggest fat tires, which is the name of an ale made by New Belgium Brewery and the name of a recent movement in bicycling to ride bikes with ginormous tires (29 inch diameter, at least 4 inches wide). Chris built his Pugsley in 2006 (or thereabouts) and at the time it was virtually unheard of. Seeing another Pugsley on the road was like lighting striking the same location twice. Fast forward to 2012 and things have changed:
This year the three of us rode two bikes: the Bakfiets and the Pugsley. The Bakfiets has become a workhorse in our family, easily taking the place of a car over the last year and a half. And for the first time ever we saw another cargo bike on the road.
The Pugsley is back on the road after getting new brakes, new cables+cable housing and an oil change for the Rohloff (this is one of the few bikes that requires an oil change about every 5000km).

The festival started out with a simple message: We are pro-bike, we are not anti-car. Then the Rhymanese Twins got everyone into spirit with some bicycle-inspired rap, and they were joined by Kevin Hardman, fellow Tosa Spokesman and executive director of the Wisconsin Bicycle Federation, as well as Mayor Tom Barrett of Milwaukee, who is also former candidate for governor of Wisconsin (twice in two years!). Here is a montage of some of the best bits. Special credit to anyone who:

  • Knows the name of Gandalf’s horse.
  • Finds the cameo appearance by Melissa and Everett.
  • Watches long enough to see Chris try to ride a unicycle with some guidance from Everett.

The TDF has a wide range of activities for all ages. There is a lot of kinetic bike art, including a bike wheel kaleidoscope that was used to make the opening clip to the movie above. We spent a fair amount of time in the bike corral, and this was the first year that Everett really took an interest in testing some bikes out with Chris.
Also, one of the craft tents had a button maker that festival goers could use to make buttons with any number of bike logos or sayings. They also had a bunch of magazines available that you could use to cut out images. With this wide array of options at his disposal, it took Everett about 5 seconds to decide that he wanted a button with a picture of Martha Stewart from a magazine. We don’t think he has any way of knowing who Martha Stewart is, and he didn’t explain his rationale, but we did think it was pretty darn funny.

Photos of the festival are here.

Comments (2)

2 thoughts on “Tour de Fat

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Powered by WordPress
Natural World RapidWeaver theme by ThemeFlood