Empowering The Bicycle Traveler

Is It Weird To Ride A Bicycle?

tour de fat freaks

Photo Boise Weekly

“…….because when everybody’s weird, no one is“.
-from New Belgium’s fourth commandment of the Tour de Fat.

Before I start let me say that I have nothing against the idea of raising money for good, bike oriented non-profits. Boise Bike Project, South West Idaho Mountain Bike Association and Treasure Valley Cycling Alliance are fantastic organizations. I know the people involved in those groups and I have great respect for what they do.
But here are my questions:
If, as the New Belgium site says, this event is supposed to make the host cities better places to ride bicycles then how does the Tour de Fat promote the bicycle as a real, viable, mainstream form of transportation? How does this “ballyhoo of bikes and beer” get more people to consider riding a bike to work? How does a group comprised of a few thousand “freaks” on freaky bicycles, many of them in the wrong traffic lane, going the wrong way, on non-closed public roads, convince somebody driving a motor vehicle that they should share the road with bicyclers? Is there another more sort of inclusive type of event to promote cycling and raise money? Or am I just a cynical grouchy hermit?

6 comments… add one
  • david reuteler August 23, 2013, 1:05 pm

    i suspect it’s slightly less effective than the world naked bike ride, and considerably less interesting (or frightful depending). but you are certainly correct, at the very least it’s preaching to the choir, at worst it does harm (it would seem assembling mass numbers of cyclists in one place is rather like herding cats). really the best thing you can do to promote cycling is to not ride like a freaking idiot.

  • david reuteler August 23, 2013, 1:16 pm

    otoh, it may just be that i’m a cynical grouchy hermit, as well. in which case this gets you nowhere.

  • Jim August 23, 2013, 1:39 pm

    The Tour de Fat is just fun, that’s all. Yes, you are a cynical grouchy hermit. Not that that is a bad thing.

  • Peter September 16, 2013, 9:33 am

    I like to ride in TDF just to people watch. I don’t dress up for the event, though. My “costume” is that of a middle-aged bike commuter (plaid shirts rule!). This year my son and I rode to the event, rode in the event, and then rode home again (no beer for us). It was a nice 25 mile leg stretch.

    I’m not sure TDF promotes bicycling, inasmuch as most of the participants are already into the sport. It probably annoys a few motorists who are downtown for the Saturday market and get held up at intersections for 30 minutes.

    • Bike Hermit September 16, 2013, 9:56 am

      You are correct. It was my own assumption to put the burden of promoting bicycling on the T.d.F. After reading their website again I realize they never make any claims about promoting bicycling. The proceeds do go to worthy non-profit bicycle related causes though, which is good. I’m pretty sure New Belgium doesn’t give two toots about bicycling. They have simply hitched their marketing Bob Trailer to the bicycle.


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