Listen to Article
Residents of the beautiful city of San Francisco are very generous, love to be 'green' and most of all enjoy a good party - especially when they get to dress up! It was therefore not a big surprise that thousands of them pedaled their way to Golden Gate Park last Saturday, to celebrate Tour de Fat, an annual charity event hosted by Colorado based, New Belgium Brewing Company.
The festival which kicks off an 11 Western City tour every April, starts with a bike parade, where riders and sometimes even their bikes, show up dressed in off-beat costumes, riding and making friends amidst a cheering crowd.
After that, it is time for some fun performances, which include a bike pit, where people show off their wild and wacky bikes - A few years ago, a local resident showed up with one that had wheels made from shoes! The best part is everyone gets a turn at trying the fun two-wheelers. Then comes the slow race, where the slowest person gets the prize.
While all these performances are fun, the highlight of the day is the car/bike swap. Prior to the event, the company picks one winner from each city, to receive a brand new, fully-loaded commuter bike, hand-made in Fort Collins, Colorado. The catch? The winner has to hand over the keys and ownership of his vehicle in exchange - permanently!
To mourn the 'death' of the car, the swap involves a mock 'funeral' ceremony, complete with pallbearers carrying a toy car, marching to the music of a New Orleans style jazz band. Then with great pomp, the car owner turns over the keys and ownership of his vehicle (which is donated to a non-profit group) and receives his new bike.
The party ends at 4.00pm, when everybody heads home after a fun-filled day, looking forward to the next Tour de Fat, or in the case of San Francisco any fun event that makes its way into town!
Besides all the fun, the event is also a great fundraiser, with proceeds from all sales of food and drinks going to pre-designated local charities. Last year, the event raised $1million USD during its 11-city tour!