Decorated Bikes from the 2015 Fort Collins’ Tour de Fat

After living in Fort Collins for eight years, I finally attended the Tour de Fat* parade for the first time this year. For those who’ve never heard of it, the Tour de Fat is family friendly charity event put on by New Belgium Brewery to promote cycling. It’s held in cities all over the country, but as home to New Belgium and the first Tour de Fat ever, the Fort Collins version of this 15-year-old event is special.

Part of the day-long festivities is a parade of people in costumes on bikes. We watched thousands of people ride past us in everything from a hat and boa to a full body gorilla costume. Some people rode unusual bicycles, others dressed their bikes up as well as themselves.

I came home with hundreds of photos from this event and I want desperately to share them with you. I found the creativity, dedication, and humor shown in the costumes inspiring, but I have too many pictures for a single post. For today, we’ll look at people who made decorating their bikes part of their outfit.

Biking Vikings! I think those are tandem bikes turned into longships.

Many people turned their bikes into other modes of transportation. There were horses, unicorns, covered wagons, canoes, and, my favorite, viking long ships.

Since lots of families participate in the parade, anyone pulling a trailer behind them had an opportunity to make it part of their costume. My two favorites were Velma in the Mystery Machine and the Beatles’ Yellow Submarine.

Velma and the Mystery Machine. I think the cyclist was dressed as Fred, but since I didn’t get a photo, I can’t be sure.
Two band members plus a yellow submarine.
A better look at the Yellow Submarine (isn’t it awesome?).

In a few cases, the bicyclist went big. One of these was a plywood pterosaur that passed well over the heads of the crowd, wings flapping, while the bicyclist pedaled below.

Plynosaur, complete with moving parts.

But the show stopper for me was a giant AT-AT from Star Wars, as seen in the beginning of The Empire Strikes Back. A single dedicated woman pumped away on her bike to move this monstrosity down the street. Between the extreme construction and the effort it took her just to get the thing down the road, she deserved a prize.

My favorite: A cyclist powered Star Wars AT-AT. You had to see it to believe it.

Which is your favorite?

*”Tour de Fat” is a combination of the name of a famous bicycle race (Tour de France) and one of New Belgium’s beers (Fat Tire, named for a kind of bicycle). It is not the bike race for fat people. In case you were wondering.


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Kit Dunsmore

Kit Dunsmore has believed in the magic underlying the muggle world since she was a child searching for the Shetland pony pooka she was sure was hiding in her back yard. She learned early on that books were magic doors into other worlds, and that she could revisit a beloved character or place by opening the right book. As she grew, she decided she wanted to make magic with words, too. Today Kit writes about things she loves: poodles and dragons, witches and artists, quirky underdogs and loyal friends. Whether her setting is 6th-century England, the imaginary Twelve Kingdoms, or an art-obsessed version of modern America, magic always finds its way into her story. She enjoys turning fairy tales inside out and watching characters sacrifice everything to reach their goal, but she also believes in happy endings. When she isn't writing, Kit experiences magic by making things with her hands. Over the years, she's made quilts, fabric sculptures, collages, sweaters, and blank books. Her newest interest is learning how to spin her own yarn, a skill guaranteed to strengthen one of her many delusions: that she is a self-sufficient pioneer woman. She also thinks she is a hobbit, a witch, an artist, and a good cook. Living in the foothills of Colorado, Kit enjoys the giant skies and prairie landscapes which suit her need for wide open spaces. In addition to hiking through glorious scenery with her husband or imagining herself living in the Middle Ages, Kit works as a pillow for her miniature poodle and polishes the next small piece of her handmade life.

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