Aug 222011
 
Authors: Courtney Riley

Beer lovers and cyclists of Fort Collins know what time of year it is when they see thousands of drunken students and community members dressed in tutus, fake mustaches, cowboy hats and bikinis riding bicycles through the city’s streets every fall for the popular bicycle race, Tour de Fat.

Now, the history of the 11-year-old event has come to life through the newly published book, “Tour de Fat: Sights, Sounds, Feelings, Flavors.”

“You get to see a visual history of the shenanigans,” said Jordan Twiggs, a former urban cowboy for Tour de Fat and current Matter Bookstore volunteer. “It’s expanded so much. It’s something you have to see. You can’t just tell someone about Tour de Fat; you have to show it to them. By putting this book together, they’re going to be able to do that in some sense.”

Wolverine Farm Publishing, a Fort Collins-based independent publisher, released the book at the end of July, and it can be purchased at the Matter Bookstore, Tour de Fat events and shop.newbelgium.com. It documents the stories written from the event’s workers’ perspective, including volunteers, carnies and non-profits.

Tour de Fat is a bicycle parade put on by New Belgium Brewing that benefits local non-profits. Participants dress up in costumes, drink New Belgium beer and ride through the city on their bicycles.

Anyone who has ever ridden a bicycle is the target audience for the book, said Todd Simmons, the publisher of Wolverine Farm Publishing.

“The cycling crowd is really creative and spontaneous, and they like to pursue a vibrant lifestyle, which is sort of self-evident in the photographs that were picked for the book,” Simmons said.

“There are a lot of different voices, but it kind of touches on all the different aspects of Tour de Fat. It’s 160 pages of an artistically complied treasury of photos taken by volunteers and employees.”

The event is about giving to local non-profits while having fun and bringing people closer together, Twiggs said.

“The fact that they’re all sharing the love for the same idea is really what people get off on,” he said. “And who doesn’t like having fun?”

The book is a great retrospective of the first 11 years of Tour de Fat and an indicator of what’s to come, said Bryan Simpson, the spokesman for New Belgium.

“(Tour de Fat) was pretty rinky-dink when we started. Now it’s such a tremendous fundraiser,” he said. “It’s a great story of how you can go out and do great philanthropic work.”

Tour de Fat went from being a small-scale experiment to a full-blown landmark of summer festivals, Simmons said. The event now travels to 13 different cities throughout the United States.

“It’s a great expression of a bicyclist’s journey in Fort Collins,” Simmons said. “It’s a great example of the synergy between people in Fort Collins and what it produces.”

Fort Collins is a very bike-forward community, and New Belgium shares that same mindset, so the collaboration is a very natural fit, Simpson said.

“(The Tour de Fat book) is a really cool, symbiotic thing,” he said. “It definitely captures the enthusiasm we as a city have for bicycling.”

According to Twiggs, the book is a very special thing for Fort Collins community members to have.
“I suggest anybody pick up a copy if they’re part of this community,” he said. “Being able to hold something in your hands and show it to people is really important.”

Entertainment Editor Courtney Riley can be reached at verve@collegian.com.

About the book

  • Tour de Fat: A costumed bicycle parade put on by New Belgium Brewing. Proceeds help raise money for local non-profits.
  • “Tour de Fat: Sights, Sounds, Feelings, Flavors:” A compilation of photos and stories from the perspective of event workers and volunteers over the past 11 years.
  • Where to get the book: Matter Bookstore, at Tour de Fat or online at shop.newbelgium.com.

*Published by: Wolverine Farm Publishing.

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