Gene at Biking Bis dropped this terrible news this morning: New Belgium’s popular free touring bike festival Tour de Fat, which has come to Seattle for the past eleven years, will be skipping both Seattle and Portland this year. The Tour cited the active biking scenes in both cities as reasons for skipping the cities this year:
Seattle and Portland, your bike scenes are idyllic (big love) and you’ve had a huge impact on shaping the Tour de Fat over the years. This year we will be spreading the bike culture we all share to new parts of the country where it’s still developing. Thank you for all the good times and great memories.
Well, I can certainly see their reasoning. The Tour probably could do more good in spreading the idea of bicycle fun in other cities in the country. But that doesn’t mean I can’t be super sad about it!
Aside from missing out on the fun (see our coverage from last year), the Tour raises a lot of money for local bike non-profits. Last year, the festival benefited the Bicycle Alliance of Washington and Bike Works. From Biking Bis:
As a fund-raiser to local bicycle-oriented nonprofits, the loss the Tour de Fat in Seattle and Portland also will affect the bottom line at local bike charities.
The Bicycle Alliance of Washington and Bike Works shared $11,500 collected from beer sales and donations in Seattle last year, according to a New Belgium press release. In Portland, the Bicycle Transportation Alliance and Northwest Trail Alliance shared $7,595.
Also, a person in each city received a new bicycle in return for pledging to give up their car. In all, Tour de Fat got 13 cars off the road last year in the bike-exchange and collected more than $330,000 for charity.
So, it looks like we are going to have to throw our own bike festival at Gas Works Park this summer. We need a stage, a sound system, a beer garden, music, dancing, freak bikes, a costumed bike ride and whatever else we want. Who’s in?