Guest Opinions

Tour de Fat fell in love with Boise. We had a hard time saying goodbye.

Crazy costumes and bedazzled bikes: Watch Tour de Fat cyclists parade through Boise for a good cause

Creatively costumed people on bicycles paraded through Boise during Tour de Fat in Boise on Aug. 12, 2017. The event started at Ann Morrison Park and ended at the Statehouse steps for a bicycle rally in support of the nonprofit Boise Bicycle Proje
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Creatively costumed people on bicycles paraded through Boise during Tour de Fat in Boise on Aug. 12, 2017. The event started at Ann Morrison Park and ended at the Statehouse steps for a bicycle rally in support of the nonprofit Boise Bicycle Proje

Hey there, Boise, it’s your old friends here at New Belgium Brewing. For the past 13 years, right around now, we’ve been gathering for New Belgium’s philanthropic bikes and beer festival, the Tour de Fat. Together we have raised more than $500,000 for Boise non-profit partners like the Boise Bike Project. That’s a big deal worth celebrating for many years to come. Yet our work together is nowhere near done.

As many folks know by now, the Tour de Fat is not returning to Boise in 2018. This was a painstaking decision on our end, but a little historical perspective might help.

When we first created the Tour de Fat in 2000, the plan was always to partner with local non-profits and raise money and awareness around bicycling — a cause near and dear to our hearts. To that end, we have raised more than $5 million for bicycling advocacy across the country since 2000 and more than a half-million dollars in your great city alone. At the national level, we have collaborated on hundreds of projects that will have long-lasting benefits in many communities.

The second part of the plan was to give local non-profits the spotlight and tools they need to continue their good work, and then move on. The problem in Boise is that we fell in love and we’ve had a real hard time leaving. You all know how to raise awareness and throw a party!

To further Tour de Fat’s mission of helping develop bike scenes across the country, however, move along we must. The good news is that Boise is proving out the model better than anyone could have hoped for, due in large part to Tour de Fat’s primary Boise non-profit beneficiary, the Boise Bike Project, and its director, Jimmy Hallyburton.

We believe the spirit of Tour de Fat and, more broadly, bicycle advocacy and community, will only grow in the form of this year’s inaugural Goathead Fest, Aug 3-4, a fundraiser sponsored by BBP with a $15,000 grant from New Belgium that will benefit local bike advocacy groups. See, we would never just Peace Out on you, Boise (after all, we did fall in love). Our ongoing commitment in Boise remains strong and our relationships will only continue to grow

As Jimmy said in a recent Idaho Statesman interview: “Instead of thinking of it as the Tour de Fat is not coming back or abandoning it, we really felt like this was going to be the handing over of the reins to our bicycle community, to make it what we want, and we feel like we can make it bigger and better than it’s ever been.”

That’s the Tour de Fat vision fully realized and only made possible by all of your generous support over the years. So, while many of us who traveled with the Tour de Fat will definitely miss you this summer, many of our co-owners who live and work in your city will be there to represent. We know the Boise bike community will show up strong and continue to support local non-profits.

While the Tour de Fat may not be the featured entertainment this year, New Belgium will absolutely be working side by side with the Boise bike community to continue to make the world a more bike-friendly place.

Thanks for 13 amazing years, Boise. Have a great Goathead Fest!

Communications Director Bryan Simpson is an avid cyclist and 20-year employee-owner at New Belgium Brewing, who helped launch the Tour de Fat in 2000.

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