Tour de Fat raises money for biking nonprofits

Posted at 6:52 PM, Aug 13, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-13 20:57:51-04

Thousands of people in the Treasure Valley woke up Saturday, put on a costume and headed to Ann Morrison Park on two wheels.

Not wanting to miss the unique opportunity to cruise along Main Street, people of all ages lined up to be part of the big Tour de Fat bike parade.

Only one day out of the year rolls around that you can safely claim as your own. For Debbie Schiller's 50th birthday, her friends showed up at her house in the morning with a surprise.

"We said, 'Guess what? We're all Tour de Fatting together,'" said Danette Kroll, Debbie's friend. "And, we garbed her up."

The birthday girl couldn't have thought of a better way to start the day. Her entire group of friends dressed up for the parade with a space ship theme in mind.

"In 1966, a rocket went into the sky," Schiller explained. "We [the U.S.] had our first launching."

Kroll chimed in,"Hence the theme!"

Then, it was time to ride in one of the largest pedal-powered parades in the nation.

The announcer said: "Are you ready? (Cheers from crowd) Here we go!"

Starting and ending at Ann Morrison Park, it didn't take long for the costumed crowd to return.

Debbie Smith came prepared for the day with good luck charms, glitter, sunscreen and a mist fan to help keep cool.

"I get to dig out my tutus, which I don't get to wear every day," she said.

Ever since Smith found out about the tour stop in Boise, which is in it's 15th year, she's been hooked.

"The first time we accidentally found it," Smith said. "We were down at the public market and we saw all these bicycles go by and were like, 'Why aren't we in that parade?'"

The best part is that the event serves as a fundraiser for local biking nonprofits. Over the years, its generated over $450,000.

Proceeds from the New Belgium Brewing tour stop in Boise go to the SWIMBA group  to help build more trails in the foothills. A portion also goes to the Treasure Valley Cycling Alliance to create safer streets.

Plus, the Boise Bicycle Project gets some money with this year's funds going to support their building expansion that begins next week.