Well, Saturday has come and gone. Weeks of semi-anticipation are no more. I did not know what, exactly, to expect from New Belgium Brewery’s “Tour de Fat” other than bicycles and beer. As the day neared, and I told more people about my weekend plans, I got more and more excited. I figured that I would see goofy people in goofy costumes riding goofy bikes. And that I did see.
The morning kicked off with a bike “parade” – and I would estimate that nearly 500-600 individuals and their favorite people-powered pedalers took part in this celebration of transportation independence. Local police ensured that this mass of people did not have to stop at any traffic signal we encountered. Even with police escort, passers-by (whether on foot or in car) appeared stunned for the most part. Many cars would try to make left turns through the middle of our peloton…only to be denied mobility by our prowess.
It was a joyous thing – to shut down usage of the roads to those driving in their cars on a gorgeous “autumn” morning. It makes me wish that Critical Mass had a presence in Phoenix…or at least one that I knew about.
The emcee of the ride (see above) used a bull horn to greet neighborhood residents holding yard sales, pedestrians, and motorists alike with a friendly and cheerful, “Good morning! Happy Saturday folks…” or “I see the bike in your garage – come join us!”
This is the kind of cycling advocacy I can get behind. Make cyclists visible. Do it without aggravating the law. And leave all of those you encounter with a positive taste in their mouth. If all you do is wish someone a pleasant day while smiling from your bike – any bitterness they have should quickly be realized as illogical, irrational and harsh. I do recognize that it isn’t always that simple, and that sometimes – more frequently than I wish – cyclists have to stand up for themselves and get vocal. But I think approaching the issue of cycling advocacy with a pleasant, non-confrontational approach will go a long way in the end. And now for some funny photos…
Yes, those are car tires…it had working v-brakes too.
And yes, those are shoes…
I couldn’t tell if this guy was more excited to be riding his bike, or more excited to fill his stein with beer.
This kid was with a family of people riding similar style lowriders, all equally impressive.