Tour de Fat Car/Bike Trade

New Belgium Brewery’s Tour de Fat bike festivals have raised over $800,000 for charity. Now they’re offering to trade your car for a bike.

Grab your bike and slip into your alter-ego because New Belgium’s Tour de Fat will once again be meandering and pandering through 11 western cities spreading the good word about the positive societal offerings of the bicycle. Costumes and decorated bikes reign supreme as the participants come to ride in the bike parade, then gather in the merriment of good music, entertainment, and tasty beer. Amid the hoopla, Tour de Fat raises money — $806,000 to date! — for local charities, increases awareness for reducing your waste stream, signs people up for Team Wonderbike, and culminates in a Car Bike Swap, where the winner gets a custom Black Sheep New Belgium Commuter bike. Admission to the Tour de Fat is free. All profits from beer sales go to local non profit organizations.

It’s a contest, so there will only be one bike traded at each stop on the tour, but it’s a cool promo nonetheless.

It’s when one fortunate soul hands over their car, title and keys to the Tour de Fat altar in exchange for a bike. Not just any bike, a New Belgium, fully-loaded, hand-crafted, Fort Collins-built commuter bike and trailer. There’s 11 Tour de Fat stops — surely one near you — and that’s 11 car/bike trade opportunities. It’s about weaning yourself off the petroleum teat. It’s about not paying $4.00 for a gallon of gas. It’s about rediscovering the cultural thrill of public transportation.

You! (Maybe). By agreeing to trade your polluting car for a new bike and committing to sparkle-motion, human-powered transport on stage at Tour de Fat, you become an inspiration to the congregation and beyond. Your vehicular cleansing is filmed, as are your car-free trials and triumphs over the following year, causing thousands to idolize your efforts and begin commuting by bike (we hope).

More Information
Car/Bike Trade entry form (PDF) →
Tour De Fat Website

A Fall Ride

Wow, it felt good to be on the bike today. This was the first day I’ve ridden over 10 miles since I injured my knee over two months ago. The trip was typical for us; stop by Nana’s to check on the dogs, take a detour through the open space to spy on wildlife, and pick up groceries on the way back. The weather was windy but beautiful, the wildlife cooperated (see below), and another car trip was avoided. Oh yeah, and the knee feels pretty darned good tonight!


Metrofiets of Portland, Oregon, recently introduced their bakfiets cargo bike at the Oregon Manifest bike show in Portland. Metrofiets is the first builder to produce Dutch-style bakfiets here in the U.S.

From the Metrofiets website:

Metrofiets – Handmade in Portland, Oregon

What do we do? We build bikes that last. You and your grandkids will thank their lucky stars.

To be more precise, Metrofiets crafts handmade cargo bikes (box bikes). Yes, our bikes look great, will last forever and ride like a dream – but that’s not the only reason we slave over every design detail.

Not even close.

All of the materials that go into making your Metrofiets frame, fork and box are sourced and made in the USA.

Box bikes are vehicles for social and economic transformation, they offer a new vantage point for viewing life and your neighborhood – as you glide along in style.

The frame, fork, and cargo box start at $2700, with complete builds at around $3200. Many options are available so the final price will vary depending upon your individual preferences.

Metrofiets Website
Flickr Photos (Bike Portland)

[via Bike Portland]

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Brooks B17 Imperial

Even though some saddle makers give the impression that “anatomical” saddles are something new, Brooks was making slotted saddles as far back as 1890. They produced saddles with what they call “cutting” for over 50 years, until the practice fell out of favor after World War II.

Interest in slotted leather saddles has been rekindled in recent years, and to address the demand, Brooks is introducing three models with cutting for the 2009 season: the B17 Narrow Imperial, the B17 Imperial, and the B17S Imperial.

From Brooks:

Nowadays most saddle manufacturers offer a range of anatomical saddles, claiming that they were the first to find this solution or that their invention works best. We recently discovered that Brooks offered saddles with cutting over 100 years earlier than any other saddle maker. In the 1890 Brooks Catalogue you can read that the Imperial, Long Distance, Climax and other saddles had “registered cutting, a sure preventive to all perineal pressure”.

Discomfort in the genital area is definitely not a new issue. Brooks has produced saddles with cutting for over 50 years, till the 1950s we may suppose from the catalogues we preserve in our archives. This feature eventually went out of production after World War II. For many decades nobody spoke about the cutting anymore, until today’s saddle makers introduced this feature on modern “plastic saddles”. Why was the production of leather saddles with cutting discontinued? We don’t know, but certainly it is now time to reintroduce this line of saddles.

During the last year we have produced a number of prototypes of the Brooks Imperial Saddles and distributed them to our best dealers and partners, as well as to over 100 passionate cyclists.

This focus group was including Brooks and non Brooks users, cyclists who like saddles with cut-out and those who don’t. These people have thoroughly tested the B17 Imperial and B17 Narrow Imperial on various types of bicycles, terrains and weather conditions. In “The Brooks Bugle“, our new publication, you can read a selection of their comments.

From the 1890s to the 1950s Brooks developed many shapes and sizes of cutting. When redesigning the cutting we prototyped a few of the original shapes and our final choice was the form found in a drawing of patent N° 20,144 of 1898. We slightly changed the length and width of the cutting and developed 2 distinct versions of it: a longer and wider one for men and a shorter and narrower one for women. These address the different needs of pressure relief of men and women.

The new Brooks Imperial saddles feature a lace binding the flaps. Beside guaranteeing a better retention of shape, this lace has the additional function of giving an extra flex control to the seat. Each saddle is delivered with a set of laces in 4 colours: black, red, white and blue. Brooks plans to release 5 models in the Imperial range. We start with the following 3 models in the launch phase: B17 Narrow, B17, B17 S

Imperials should start shipping in early 2009.

Brooks England

Bike-Thru Banking in Boulder

Pueblo Bank & Trust in Boulder, Colorado has a dedicated, bikes-only, ride-thru window, complete with a bike rack and water cooler. Very cool.

[via StreetFilms]

Cycling Survey

A student at the University of Amsterdam is conducting an online survey of cycling behavior as part of his course work:

I am a student at the University of Amsterdam doing research on cycling behaviour around the world. One of the objectives of this research is to find out what persuades people to use their bicycle instead of other means of transportation. What’s more, we are hoping to be able to use this research to convince governments all over the world to actively promote biking; both in resources as well as city planning.

If you’d like to help him out by taking the survey, it can be accessed here. I’m hoping to get a copy of the survey when it’s complete; I’ll post it here if I do.

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