What is the best day of the year next to Christmas? Well according to CSU alumna Lyndsey Leach, it’s Fort Collins’ Tour de Fat, an annual event that takes place all over the country when people come together to drink beer, ride bikes, jam out and raise money to make their cities more bike-friendly communities.
This year’s Tour de Fat is Saturday, Aug. 31, and Lyndsey Leach has learned to prepare for this event better than most, having participated in Tour de Fat religiously since her freshman year at CSU six years ago.
Leach displays her commitment to the event by planning her work schedule around the date months in advance every year. What is more, this year she will be driving all the way up to Fort Collins from her new home in Denver.
“Out of everything I’ve ever done while in college, Tour de Fat was my favorite thing,” Leach said.
She graduated from CSU in 2012 with a major in Natural Resource Recreation and Tourism, but even as a first year student she’d find any excuse to be outside doing something active.
It was with that mindset that she let her friends drag her out of bed in the wee hours of the morning to experience her first Tour de Fat.
“I didn’t know anything about it or what it was, but I took the day off and my friends told me to be at their house at seven in the morning,” Leach said. “They said that we were just going have a really good day of debauchery. So that’s pretty much what happened; we had a big party, and drank, and ate and had a great time. Then we got on our bikes and biked all around. I had such a blast.”
Leach and her friends had created a tradition that was eventually extended to dozens of fellow participants.
“We had a party every year at my house starting at six or seven in the morning,” Leach said.
They would have a “food or booze” potluck and begin cooking the night prior to Tour de Fat. Last year, approximately 60 people showed up at Leach’s house to join the celebration before hitting the streets.
“I seriously thought it was one of the most fun things I’ve done, ever,” Leach said.
Of course, the experience was only improved when Leach began making all of her own costumes.
“Biking and dressing up; that’s right up my alley,” Leach said.
A mock Playboy Bunny, a hillbilly and the super-sidekick Robin are just a few of Leach’s choice costumes.
“Just watching is fun, even if you’re not in it,” Leach said. “I think I look good, and then I go out there and see other people with the craziest, coolest costumes ever that put me and my friends to shame.”
For Leach, and a lot of other Tour de Fat participants, the event is more than just a day of good fun.
“You see families with their kids there, you see everyone!” Leach described the crowd. “As long as you’re physically capable of biking you are there, and if you’re not, you’re on the sidelines watching. It’s a city-wide event.”
Leach believes that an event like Tour de Fat says a lot more about the Fort Collins community than just its passion for biking in silly costumes.
“There is such a strong sense of community in Fort Collins, and I’ve never been to something that is so widely accepted and popular and that everyone looks forward to,” Leach explained. “What I really like about Fort Collins is that a lot of people know about Tour de Fat and a lot of people do it. It’s totally acceptable to be publically wasted. Everyone is just partying and having a great time.”
Now that Leach is living in Denver for work, she is unable to host her traditional party. However, to make up for it she will also be participating in Denver’s (slightly smaller) Tour de Fat.
In regards to those who have never participated in Tour de Fat, Leach said, “All I can say is
you’re missing out.”
Leach is applying for grad school at CSU and hopes to return to Fort Collins by next fall.
Senior Entertainment Reporter Peyton Garcia can be reached at entertainment.com