West Town Bikes starts new, zany bike festival in Humboldt Park after Tour de Fat cancels

Tour de Fat in 2015. | Shutterstock

Along with Rev Brew, the Humboldt Park fest will continue the celebration of bike culture

The beloved bike and beer festival, New Belgium Brewing’s Tour de Fat, decided to skip Chicago earlier this summer—it’s scaling back the event to just three cities with their breweries. However, West Town Bikes and Revolution Brewing have plans to keep a different version of the carnival-like celebration going in Humboldt Park.

Thousands of cyclists attended Tour de Fat, and with such a strong bike culture in Chicago, it made sense to continue the fest in a new way with Chicago Bike Revolution, according to West Town Bikes founder and executive director, Alex Wilson. Plus, Tour de Fat was one of the most important fundraisers for the organization.

“We’re a bike-friendly town and Chicagoans love that, we have a broad bike culture and this fest celebrates what West Town Bikes does—using bikes as a tool to build communities,” Wilson said.

West Town Bikes has organized youth programs such as kids’ bike groups, After School Matters, cyclocross training, and mechanic apprenticeships for 15 years now. Many of the people who work at West Town Bikes, or its 10-year-old bike shop Ciclo Urbano at Division and Campbell, went through these programs when they were younger, Wilson said. All proceeds from the event will go to these programs and initiatives.

“We’re marking a very big year and we wanted to celebrate that right,” said Wilson.

Chicago Bike Revolution kicks off for the first time at 1 p.m. on Saturday, September 7 near the Humboldt Park Boathouse. The homegrown festival will have a bike parade, a lineup of local bands, food trucks, and a “freak bike pit” with unusual bikes people can ride. Revolution Brewing will bring two new brews—Humboldt Gator and a bike-themed beer Ghost Ride.

All ages are welcome at the the event and bike parade. Tickets are $10 in advance and $15 at the gate.

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