New Belgium Brewing’s Tour de Fat rolled into Seattle on July 31, where more than 4,000 costumed bicycle enthusiasts swarmed Gas Works Park to increase awareness of cycling as a sustainable form of transportation. The event raised $11,500 for Bicycle Alliance of Washington and Bike Works to continue bike advocacy.
In addition to raising money, Tour de Fat swapped a car for a bike with Seattle resident Dawn DeGroot. Naturally, we had to ask her all about it!
How did you hear about the Car for Bike Swap?
I heard about the bike swap from Wallyhood! You all put out a call for anyone who might be interested in the swap. I posted a comment on the blog when I was chosen. A very exciting time. The Tour de Fat was an amazing event for Seattle. I was a little
disappointed about the turn out because the party was so cool. The day was beautiful and they put so much effort into the event with all the fun and creative entertainment for the community. I hope to do a little promoting for the event this year, the more the merrier.
Are you really car free now?
I am a bit of a novice to the bike world so the transition has been a challenge on many levels. But it has made me a better person. I try to ride or walk or bus everywhere or do car pool with two or more people. I have my rules and stick to them. I ride my new bike when the weather in non-threatening, and I ride my old bike in the rain. My husband and I bought a tandem in the Fall so we can ride on weekends. The tandem is great for marriage therapy. You must trust and communicate with your partner and sometimes in a marriage that can be difficult. We are having a blast on the Burke Gilman trail.
What are your favorite neighborhood routes?
My December favorite route has been down Woodland Park Ave. to the Fremont Brewing Company for their Bourbon Abominable Winter Ale. A guilty pleasure that I highly recommend. The November snow was impossible for me to navigate. I tried and failed. I do not recommend snow rides. Sept. and Oct. were great for the Burke -Gilman trail, better during the week than on the week-end. Aug. was bliss for riding. I could ride everyday to my houseboat office on South Lake Union which is two miles from my house in Wallingford door to door. When the weather warms up I look forward to riding in the San Juan Island with my husband.
So what’s it like, riding a bike around all the time?
Every experience on my bike is interesting. The traffic, the pot hole,s the weather have all taken on new meaning. I was so shut down to my environment when in my car that I just wasn’t paying attention or didn’t care. My music was on and I was in my own world, on the bike you are so much more aware of your surroundings and more present to the task at hand. Biking in Seattle is getting more and more popular and it is getting easier every day. So far my riding has been positive and without drama.
Would I do it again?
In a New York Minute. In a heart beat without reservation. The folks at New Belgium have been nothing but amazing. I am so lucky that I hooked up with them thru your Wallyhood
blog. Big kudos to you for the Tour de Fat posting. (Wallyhood: Aw shucks!)
Advice for people considering making the change to pedals?
I would suggest to anyone thinking about an adventure for the new year to consider the possibilities of freedom, getting fit and discovering a new you and a new city when the only thing that has changed is your mode of transportation.