New Belgium Brewing sponsors the six-city bike series, in its 19th year and second time with Asheville as a stop. The finale is Oct. 6, in Tempe, Ariz. Earlier tour events were in Chicago June 30, Boston Aug. 11, Denver Aug. 25 and New Belgium’s base of Ft. Collins, Colo. Sept. 1.
Tour de Fat began in 2000, and thus has gone on throughout the new millennium. The bike run goes on in rain, and unless weather is “severe and unsafe.” Heavy Hurricane Florence-related rain was forecast this past weekend through Tuesday in this area, with flooding possible but hopefully subsiding later this week.
New Belgium’s “Liquid Center” brewery in Asheville opened three years ago, at 21 Craven St. That is the site for festivities all afternoon Saturday, for general admission of $15 (plus a fee) with children 12 and younger free. The brewery also sells event tickets. Doors open at noon Saturday.
The first of seven variety ensemble acts is Fire Leopard at 12:30 p.m. Next are Sputnik, Slow Ride, a talent show at 2 p.m., KOLARS, a dance contest, then headliner Built to Spill.
Built to Spill is an indie rock band based in Boise, Idaho and begun there by Doug Martsch in 1992. Its edgy indie sound has bouncing melodies.
There is also an after-party 6-10 p.m., at FBO at Hominy Creek featuring music of the Secret B-Sides.
New this year is the Tour de Fat Bicycle Parade costumed slow ride, from French Broad Outfitters at Hominy Creek over to New Belgium. The parade starts at 11 a.m. Saturday. “We’re looking forward to bringing the family-friendly, costumed filled, slow ride parade to the streets and enjoying the afternoon with our Asheville friends,” New Belgium Brewing spokesperson Michael Craft stated. “Shift gears and get weird” is the parade slogan.
The first event, starting 10 a.m. is “Breakfast, Bikes, & Beer” at French Broad Outfitters.
New Belgium, a fully employee-owned brewery, is a Platinum-level Bicycle Friendly Business as designated by the League of American Bicyclists. New Belgium is best known for its aptly-named Fat Tire Amber Ale.
“Our love for bikes runs deep at New Belgium, all the way back to our founding,” Craft stated. “Bringing the Tour de Fat back to Asheville is a great way to connect with the friends and family in New Belgium’s second home. We hope everyone will join us giving back to the Asheville cycling community.”
The bike event has raised more than $5 million for non-profit cycling groups across the country, over two decades. The beneficiary group this time, Asheville on Bikes, “cultivates the culture of urban and commuter cycling through advocacy and celebration. They believe that cycling has a direct impact on the health of the Asheville community, and are focused on getting better transit, better roads, and better public spaces so that more people can safely use bikes as a mode of transportation.”
New Belgium Brewing’s Asheville Facility was recently recognized by the League of American Bicyclists with the prestigious Platinum-level Bicycle Friendly Business (BFB) certification, showing that the commitment to cycling culture runs year-round at the company.
To see a brief video of a Tour de Fat parade, check:
https://www.newbelgium.com/events/tour-de-fat. Tickets are available online at: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/tour-de-fat-2018-asheville-tickets-45525613335.