Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Tour de Fat - a book about beer n’ bikes

Perhaps you also recall when Durango rated high enough on New Belgium’s scale of bike-town worthiness to warrant a stop by the travelling circus of beer and bikes known as the Tour de Fat. This ended several years ago when D-town was given the gentle let-down and told that it was already bike-friendly enough around here.

The intrepid cast of characters that comprise the tour were being directed to brave the mean streets of the nation’s cities, carrying with them a bold message of beer, love, and bikes. While it may be the case that Durango is more bike-friendly than some places, (I’ll personally vouch for Durango over the ‘mean streets of Phoenix’), it is hard to miss the fact that the smallest city on the tour in 2011 was Ft. Collins, and that the likes of San Francisco and Chicago are the norm.

And what the hell, right? I mean, if I had a marketing budget to support nationwide sales, I’d spend it on population centers numbering in the millions over those numbering in the tens of thousands as well. And it is true that bike awareness by local drivers is better than many places.

It was with surprise then that I accepted an invitation to receive a copy of a new book published by New Belgium commemorating the 11 years that tour has been, well, touring. My surprise was not at the existence of the book itself, but that they have taken the time and expense of memorializing the burlesque cacophony of bike zaniness that the tour has delivered in its time rambling across the land.

I guess that I had written off the Tour de Fat as a spasm of youth and assumed that the onset of corporate magnitude would have drawn New Belgium’s focus elsewhere. After thumbing through the book, which is presented in a ‘coffee table’ format, (think the coffee table book hip enough not to freak out your friends), it was apparent that this is not the case. In fact, it appears that the tour and its message remain almost as close to the heart of the organization as the beer itself. Presented like the event it represents, each page is a giggle unto itself.

Altogether, the Tour de Fat book is an excellent companion to a fine pint of craft brewed beer in a comfortable old chair.  Find it at an independent bookstore, like Maria’s in Durango, near you.


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