Tour de Fat, New Belgium Brewing’s “traveling carnival of all things bicycle,” raised $331,428 for non-profit friends in 2010, which is up nearly 20% from 2009. The tour attracted 70,250 cycling and beer fans celebrants in 13 cities. From the press release:
Tour de Fat is free to attend, but money raised from the sale of New Belgium beers and merchandise helps local organizations continue their good work of bicycle advocacy and environmental stewardship. In 2008, Tour de Fat broke the $1 million mark and the grand total now stands at more than $1.5 million. To see videos from some of the 2010 tour stops visit http://www.tour-de-fat.com.
In addition to raising money at every stop, Tour de Fat also swapped 13 cars for bikes. This year marked the fourth year that Tour de Fat hosted the car-for-bike swap, where someone in each city trades in his or her vehicle for a hand-built commuter bike. The volunteer then commits to living car-free for the next year.
For example, in Chicago, New Belgium selected “Iggi” Ignaczak to become the first car swapper of the season. Iggi is an avid cyclist who is not afraid to ride his bike in the 16-below temperatures of a Chicago winter. His work commute now consists of six miles of bike riding each day, plus a 35-minute train ride, instead of the 18-mile, one-hour and 20-minute drive he had before. Iggi even built a bike trailer for his dog Winston, so he can go along on some of his journeys.
“People always ask me what I’m doing out on a bike in 10 degree weather,” said Iggi. “I tell them the story of Tour de Fat and how I traded in a car for the bike. Almost always, if not met with a response of ‘oh, you’re crazy’, people are impressed.”
“I can almost see the gears in their heads grinding, and considering if that is something they can do themselves,” he added. “I always say that if I can do it, so can they.”
In addition to getting thirteen cars off the road, Tour de Fat aims to minimize its impact by composting and recycling waste. The waste diversion rate for this season was 91 percent. Other Tour de Fat sustainable initiatives included traveling with a solar-powered stage, using biofuel sourced from recycled waste oils for trucks and transport, and having all vendors operate off the grid.
“We join our nonprofit partners in thanking all attendees,” spokesman Bryan Simpson said for the press release. “We’d like to high five each person who supported our efforts, but since that’s a little tricky, we’d like to thank everyone for their tremendous support.”