FT. COLLINS, CO (BRAIN)—Tour de Fat, New Belgium Brewing’s traveling celebration of all things bicycle, raised more than $276,000 for bike advocacy groups during the 2009 season.
Tour de Fat is a free event, but the money raised from the sale of New Belgium beers and merchandise helps local organizations continue their good work of bicycle advocacy and environmental stewardship. Last year Tour de Fat broke the $1 million mark, and with this year’s donations, the grand total now stands at more than $1.25 million.
The 2009 Tour de Fat season rolled into 11 communities, including two new cities—San Diego and Minneapolis. Tour de Fat celebrates mankind’s greatest invention—the bike—with costumed parades, entertainment and the annual car-for-bike swapper program. To see videos from some of the 2009 tour stops visit http://www.tour-de-fat.com (click on link).
“Tour de Fat is all about highlighting our good friend, the bike,” said Bryan Simpson, New Belgium spokesperson. “But with the celebration of the bicycle we are also able to explore the benefits of living sustainably, giving to others and enjoying a whimsical afternoon on two wheels.”
Tour de Fat brought out more than 55,000 attendees, many decked out in costume, and about half of the crowd brought their bike along for the parade. In addition to the parade, people took part in various contests of bicycle skill and rode one-of-a-kind art bikes.
For the third year in a row, Tour de Fat hosted the car-for-bike swapper program where someone in each city traded in their vehicle for a hand-built commuter bike and committed to living car-free for the next year. By pledging to bike instead of drive, the car-for-bike swappers agree to go to work, out to dinner and even shopping all on a bike.
“The car-for-bike swap is always a highlight because New Belgium is passionate about biking as an alternative to driving,” Simpson said. “These volunteers are sharing our message in their communities and inspiring others to bike more, as well.”
To encourage cycling, even if it’s just one day a week, Tour de Fat’s Team Wonderlounge offered people a place to sign up for Team Wonderbike (www.teamwonderbike.com), New Belgium’s bicycling commuter advocacy program. Team Wonderbikers pledge to commute by bike as often as possible. More than 5,000 cyclists joined Team Wonderbike during the 2009 season bringing the total enrollment to over 20,000.
In addition to giving back to local communities, Tour de Fat tries to give back to the environment by composting and recycling waste. The waste diversion rate for this year was 94 percent. Other Tour de Fat sustainable initiatives included traveling with a solar-powered stage, using biofuel sourced from recycled waste oils for trucks and transport, and having all vendors operate off the grid.
“As another Tour de Fat season comes to a close we encourage everyone to pedal on until we meet again,” Simpson said.