Tour de Fat rides through Fort Collins

This weekend marked the 17th annual Tour de Fat in Fort Collins. The event, hosted by New Belgium Brewery, brought the town a costumed bike parade, music and of course, beer.

This year’s event started off with the annual bicycle parade, which featured hundreds of participants in various costumes along the parade route. The parade started at Meldrum Street before working its way to City Park and eventually looping back for the festivities. Participants wore costumes that represented a large variety of characters including Mario and Luigi, Donald Trump, superheroes and many more.


“I love all the well done costumes,” said recent CSU graduate Lilly Bolder. “Even the ones that are thrown together are well done.”

Tour De Fat participants in costume for the parade. Photo credit: Tony Villalobos May

In addition to the bike parade, this year’s Tour de fat featured a competition called Slow Ride on the main performance stage in which contestants competed to be the last one to the finish line.

Tour de Fat also hosted a game show titled The Bike Is Right! where contestants competed to win a new 2016 New Belgium bike, a large photo stand and the chance to participate in New Belgium Brewery’s car-for-bike swap.

Tour de Fat and its focus on biking was inspired by New Belgium Brewery’s dedication to fostering a bike community.

“Bike riding will make you feel good and get you involved with the community,” said Tour de Fat impresario Matteo Kowl. “It is a metaphor and an inspiration. After 12 years, I still feel inspired by it and try to get other people on it.”

Tour De Fat participants in costume for the parade. (Tony Villalobos May| Collegian) Photo credit: Tony Villalobos May

Aside from bicycle-focused events, Tour de Fat featured over a dozen music artists including The Kolars, Ben Sollee, SPUTNIK, Sister Sparrow & The Dirty Birds, ATOMGA, Write Minded, Brent Cowles and The Delta Spirits.

And, as this was an event hosted by New Belgium Brewery, a wide variety of beers were sold and drinking was one of the main festivities.

“We have great beer, and Fat Tire was the beer that got a lot of people into a new world of flavor,” Kowl said.

Various objects and toys that adults and kids alike could enjoy were scattered around Old Town and there were plenty of food vendors for people to enjoy. Tour de Fat had a little something for everyone.

Tour De Fat participants in costume for the parade. (Tony Villalobos May| Collegian) Photo credit: Tony Villalobos May

Each Tour de Fat requires over 500 volunteers to run it, which does not include the employees at New Belgium Brewery. Despite the need for “a tong of port-a-potties and water,” Kowl said, “I can’t complain, it’s a good way to make a living.”


Although Tour de Fat was threatened with rain this year, that did not keep guests from drinking and having a good time.

Collegian reporter Tony Villalobos May can be reached online at or on Twitter @TonyTheGnarly.