Every year, Tour de Fat comes to Boise for a day of biking, beer and bemusement (usually music and vaudeville routines). Last year when they came through, I got a chance to talk with one of their brewers before the event and thought that might be the highlight of my Tour de Fat experience. This year will top that.
The event is rolling into town on August 13 this year as part of their nine city tour. In each city, they have a community bike ride through downtown followed by bike games, music, community building and, of course, beer. One of the more ceremonial events is the car for bike swap. One person in each town volunteers to trade in their car and go car-free for a year in exchange for a fancy new bike. This year, I’m that person.
Last Saturday I was looking around the web for info about commuter bikes and planning to get one. When I went to the Boise Bicycle Project (BBP) page to see if they had anything that might work for me, I spotted the link to sign up to trade a car. My wife just got a new car and I haven’t been driving our old one much so I thought this might be a perfect fit. I emailed Jimmy at BBP then forgot about it until Monday around noon when I got his reply, “Come to the Olympic, Tuesday night at 7:30 to make your pitch.” Not entirely sure what my pitch should be, I thought about it for the next 24 hours, then completely changed my idea.
When the time came, I got cleaned up from Track Tuesday as quickly as possible and over to the Olympic. There were four of us who volunteered to make the trade so we each got 5 minutes on stage to convince the audience to pick us. I went first and thought I did well, then I saw the next three present and each of them did great as well. Four very different stories. When the votes were counted (and recounted), two of us had tied. They called in previous car-for-bike-swappers and New Belgium employees to break the tie. After two minutes of deliberation, I was chosen.
So Lizzy, our trusted car for almost ten years, is going away, but her spirit will live on in a new bike (and trailer and helmet and…). It will be sad to see her go, but I’m excited about going a year without driving. As I’m approaching the end of my year of running, I’m starting a year of biking. What could be next? The other exciting piece is that I get to select the bike, trailer and all the gear I want, up to $2250! For those of you more into biking, any suggestions for what I should look at getting?
Here’s to a fun adventure. Ride on!