Streets to close for Tour de Fat, nuisance complaints on the rise

Several Roads will be closed this Saturday as Fort Collins welcomes back Tour de Fat in an annual celebration of bikes and beer.

The event begins at 9 a.m. in Old Town and ends in Civic Center Park.

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Beginning 8 a.m. Friday, Howes street, La Porte Street and Maple Street will be closed, in addition to the perimeter streets of Civic Center Washington Park due to the event.

From 5 a.m. to early afternoon Saturday, Mabel, Cherry and Howes Streets will be closed down to Mountain Avenue. Mason Street to Meldrum Street will also be closed.

The core area of the event will be closed until Saturday at midnight.

The route along the bike parade will be blocked off during the parade, with police officers stopping traffic in that area and re-opening it after the parade passes.

The City of Fort Collins urged all bikers to avoid riding to the event on the Max Bus pathway, and asks the participants to use the bike lanes on nearby streets instead.

In previous years, participants riding their bikes through the MAX route has prevented the bus system from getting through, according to City of Fort Collins Special Events Manager Jan Sawyer.

Within the past few years, complaints have increased regarding public drunkenness and its affects, including urinating and vomiting on lawns, people passed out and noise concerns.

“The idea is to have a great time: safe and sane,” Sawyer said “Drink responsibly and have a great time.”

The event was created 17 years ago in Fort Collins to encourage cycling as a sustainable form of transportation. Since then, the event has expanded to eight other cities.

Paul Gruber, Fort Collins native and Operations Manager for Tour de Fat, described the event as “One of the best holidays Fort Collins has gained.”

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However, Gruber warned that they get more complaints every year, and for participants to “save the party, for the party.”

Saturday will feature a costume contest and a “Slow Ride” competition; where the main goal is to be the last one to finish the race.

“(The Slow Ride) is a fun competition for people to get involved in” said Gruber.

The event will feature special guests Sister Sparrow & The Dirty Birds, Ben Sollee as well as local and regional bands like ATOMGA, Write Minded, Brent Cowles and The Delta Spirits for music and more entertainment on the main stage and the Fat Tire and Friends Stage.

Awards will be given in categories such as best costume and best dancer throughout the day, as well as a gameshow to win a New Belgium Bike.

“The crowd there gets pretty rowdy, it’s cool to see,” Gruber said in reference to the participant’s costumes.

Beer will be sold at the event and New Belgium will feature a new brew, Carnie Blood.

Tour de Fat also has a “Kid’s Area 51” area as well as the STAGE stage that will feature circus like performers to bring children to.

“The vibe is always super fun” said Gruber. “Whether you are just watching or you are participating.”

For more information including a schedule and a map, visit the Tour de Fat website here.

Collegian reporter Tony Villalobos May can be reached at news@collegian.com.