This past Saturday, New Belgium Brewing brought their traveling bike parade and circus, Tour de Fat, to Washington, DC for the first time. The event helped raise funds for the Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA), as well as local cycling organizations Black Women Bike (@BWBDC), Mid-Atlantic Offroad Enthusiasts, and Fairfax Advocates for Better Bicycling (FABB).
The short bicycle parade kicked off from Yards Park a little bit after 10am, when we rode (many costumed) through M St SE and some of the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail. As the route was along some narrow portions of the trail, there was a fair amount of bunching which meant at times we were going about as slow as you can without falling off your bicycle. My only criticism of the chosen route was that it didn’t make our parade very visible – many people got dressed up in costume for the ride, but hardly anyone on the streets of DC saw the great bike parade.
Back at the festival, there was a helpful bike valet and lovely human-powered inventions. There was a cycle-powered blender, cycle-powered fan, and cycle-powered tent mister, not to mention the many artistic bicycle inventions in the “Ride-able Art-icles” pit. We tried out several of these creations. Many were hard to get started, but once you get the hang of throwing away any expectations you have, these bikes become a lot easier to ride.
Who needs a traditional bike when you can have a side-by-side tandem, or tires made from sneakers?
The beer was flowing and attendees were excited about the screen-printed merch. The whole event was very well-attended, with many staying throughout the day. The entertainment was often interesting, with a lurching game of bike tire horseshoe and even a “slow race” (last one across the finish line wins). WABA’s table was busy with people who wanted to become members. I recommend you become a member of WABA if you’re a cyclist in the DC area – you’re already reaping the benefits of their advocacy, so you should give back if you can.
New Belgium also announced that this recent Tour de Fat in Washington, DC was the best-attended first year event as well as the most money raised at a first year event! A great turnout for our fair bicycling city.