Wow, what a weekend it has been! The traveling circus known as Tour de Fat has come and gone, leaving a trail of skid marks, spilled beer and donated dollars in its wake. For the non-profits like BBP who share in the proceeds, this was a hugely important day for funding their operations. For the people who attended the event to dress up, ride bikes and drink beer with friends, this was one of the highlights of the summer.
As of this writing, the final tally of fundraising dollars and parade riders is still in the works. Regardless, it is safe to say that this year's event was record setting in several departments. Estimates of this year's parade attendance are close to 11,000 riders. Over its 14-year history in Boise, Tour de Fat has raised approximately $450,000 for local bike non-profits! These are massive numbers whose impact cannot be overstated.
None of this would be possible without the army of volunteers that bust their butts to make this event happen. Boise has a well-deserved reputation among TdF stops for having the most dedicated, motivated and hardworking volunteers and we proved it again this year. This is a big reason that New Belgium keeps bringing the Tour back to the City of Trees year after year! Between the BBP, SWIMBA and TVCA, around 350 volunteers pitched in to make this year's Tour de Fat the best it could be. Without that volunteer support, this event would simply cease to exist.
This was my first Tour de Fat as BBP's Volunteer Coordinator and I could not be more proud of the effort our crew put in throughout the weekend. I could fill an entire post with shout-outs and thank-yous to all the folks who made exceptional contributions but I'll spare you that. Suffice to say that our volunteers absolutely slayed it. Throughout the event and afterward, I heard constant praise for our volunteers and how great of a job they were doing.
For me, the last two hours of the day summed it up. The last band wrapped at 5:00 and Michael Craft of New Belgium called teardown volunteers to the central Bike Pit shortly thereafter. Starting at 5:30, the teardown crew set about its work. By 7:00, we were sitting in the middle of a nearly-empty field enjoying a well-earned beverage while watching the Carnies finish the last of their packing. "That was by far the fastest we have ever gotten that thing taken down," Jimmy remarked later. Given that nearly an entire day was required for setup it was pretty amazing to watch a massive bike and beer festival dissolve back into a wide-open park in 90 minutes. That is the power of a solid volunteer crew.
So, on behalf of all of us here at the Boise Bicycle Project, I want to thank all of the volunteers who turned out to make the 2015 Tour de Fat the biggest, best and most successful edition yet. There are lots of reasons why I love my job at BBP but our amazing volunteers are number one, for sure. Schemes and plans are already in the works, so we hope you'll join us again next year to help make the 15th anniversary of Tour de Fat in Boise truly special!
Photos by Jennifer Peterson