Friday, March 30, 2012

New Belgium's Tour de Fat Returns to Durham

Already known globally as a center for health and weight management, as well as a very walkable city, Durham is also an increasingly bike friendly place, too.  Also, don't forget that Durham is a great place for beer lovers.  Once all those facts are thrown together in a glass and shaken, if the beverage analogy will be tolerated, the result is that the beer-loving, bike-riding, health-conscious people of Durham will again be host to the Tour de Fat.  What?  Read on.

New Belgium Brewing has announced the much-anticipated Tour de Fat 2012 schedule and the festival's return to Durham, NC. Now in its 13th season, Tour de Fat brings together passionate bike lovers for a day of two-wheeled revelry while raising money for local nonprofits. Tour de Fat is a thrilling rite of passage that includes an unparalleled costumed bicycle parade, New Belgium beer, dazzling entertainment, local food, unusual bike contests and much more.

In 2012, Tour de Fat, which is a free event, will exceed the $2 million mark for money raised for local nonprofits through beer and merchandise purchases. Funds generally go to organizations in the world of bike advocacy, with money spent in a wide variety of ways, including trail maintenance, safety education, lobbying for better bicycle communities and a wide variety of other impactful initiatives.

The pinnacle of Tour de Fat is the ceremonious car-for-bike trade. At each Tour de Fat, one person becomes the center of the show as he or she gets up on stage, hands over car keys, and pledges to live one year car-free. Tour de Fat is now seeking volunteers to accept the swapper challenge. Each car-for-bike swapper will choose a local bike shop to help them turn their $2,250.00 budget into their ultimate car-replacement commuter bike. The cars will be auctioned by Vehicles for Charity, with proceeds to benefit local cycling organizations.

Swappers are chosen after submitting an application that describes why they are willing to trade in their vehicle for a shiny new bicycle. To submit an entry, go to the New Belgium Tour de Fat Facebook page, click on events and your city of choice, and upload your application video. Applications may also be written and emailed.

In 2011, Tour de Fat traveled to 13 cities, attracting a total of 69,550 festival attendees and 41,150 parade cyclists.  In addition, the festival raised $331,428 and boasted an impressive 90 percent diversion of waste from landfills.

Visit the Facebook page for the Tour de Fat credo, schedules, videos and to submit your entry to swap your gas guzzler for a fancy new bike.  To see a video from last year's season click here.

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