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The CHIRP Blog

Entries on the topic of “Tour De Fat” 10 results

The Audible Snail writesGive Up Your Car for New Belgium!

Have you ever dreamed of a car-free life? Of the open bikeways in a big city? Of trading in your car keys for a steel frame on two wheels with all of the love you can muster? New Belgium’s Tour de Fat needs you!

New Belgium is giving away a $2,250 stipend to buy a new bicycle and bicycle gear. Potential commuters must submit a 2-minute video to New Belgium’s Facebook page and Chicago’s Tour de Fat Facebook event by Wednesday, July 6 addressing why you want to go car-free and commit to biking full-time.

Click here if you would like to trade in your vehicle.

CHIRP is proud to sponsor the 2016 Tour de Fat on Saturday, July 9 in Chicago’s Palmer Square. In addition to the car-for-bike challenge, CHIRP volunteers will be supporting New Belgium by riding in the Bike Parade!

CHIRP Volunteer Bicycle Trivia: In 2005, DJ The Audible Snail left her broken down minivan at the bottom of a mountain in Western Massachusetts for what would become a 10+ year commuter bicycle life in the great city of Chicago! Her minivan was impounded of course, not left for dead in the middle of nowhere, but she can attest to the freedom of living a life on two wheels and self-propelled velocity! There is no joy like getting to where you need to go on your own time, nor the simple pleasure of passing cars stuck in traffic along the way.

Become a car trader. Submit!

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Share July 5, 2016 Share on Facebook Tweet This!

Topics: tour de fat

Tyler Clark presents: Local Mythologies writesTop Five Songs About Bicycles

It's a busy time for the bike world. In France, the Tour de France is progressing through its early stages, giving cycling enthusiasts a reason to wake up early (and play Kraftwerk on their eventual commute). In Chicago, cyclists are prepping for this weekend's Tour de Fat, the traveling pro-bike parade and festival sponsored by New Belgium Brewery. In addition to covering CHIRP's much-ballyhooed involvement in this year's Car Trader promotion, we here at the blog have also been listening to unusually high amount of bike-related music. For this week's Top Five, I picked out our five favorites. 


1) Hawkwind - "Silver Machine" (1972)

Hawkwind was many things: a pioneering space rock group, designers of a record sleeve that doubles as D&D armor, and one of the few bands to require a separate Wikipedia page just to sort out its membership. You can also add "bike enthusiasts" to that list, at least when it comes to former singer Robert Calvert. Calvert penned the group's biggest (and spaciest) hit, but the sci-fi sound of "Silver Machine" wasn't about a flying saucer; according to a 1981 interview with Cheesecake, it was about the silver racing bike the singer owned growing up. Although he wrote the lyrics tweaking the high-tech aspirations of the Space Race, Calvert didn't sing them. That honor went to former Hawkwind bassist and Motörhead singer Lemmy Kilmister, whose own boyhood sport of choice was a variation of softball played with a freshly polished human skull.

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Share July 7, 2015 Share on Facebook Tweet This!

Topics: tour de fat

SKaiser writesTour de Fat Car Trader Benefits Include Friendly People at New Belgium

This Wednesday marks the deadline to submit your sweet soul to the Tour de Fat car-for-bike challenge. The folks at New Belgium Brewery will take good care of you and we at CHIRP Radio are happy to support the Tour de Fat celebration in Palmer Square this Saturday, July 11th.

Click here if you're ready to give up a your vehicle and commute by bicycle for one year, or longer if you fall in love with two wheels of transport.

We met up with original car trader of 2009, Joseph Marinaro. He enjoys keeping in touch with the New Belgium people and encourages the 2015 car trader to commute by bike as long as possible.

"The freedom and health benefits are amazing and the experiences are plenty and thrilling," he said.

CHIRP: Where do you currently live and what are you doing these days?

Marinaro: In early 2010, I moved to the farthest reaches of the suburbs, Crown Point, IN!!! I still work downtown and make the 50 mile-each-way commute by car, now. While we have bikes, family life (I have a stepson in high school, a stepdaughter in grad school and a four year old son) gets so busy that put exercise is usually hiking, swimming and going to places we have to drive to.

CHIRP: Why did you take the challenge to give up your car? 

​Marinaro: I was fairly new to city life and found owning my Jeep was more of a hassle than it was worth.

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Share July 4, 2015 Share on Facebook Tweet This!

Topics: tour de fat

SKaiser writesIs 2015 Your Year for the Car Trader Challenge?

The deadline is fast approaching to enter New Belgium's Tour de Fat car-for-bike challenge. If you're unfamiliar, take a look at details and enter your spectacular self-made video here.

CHIRP Radio supports the Tour de Fat celebration in Palmer Square on Saturday, July 11. Entries are due by Wednesday, July 8.

In 2013, Johnny Mays took the challenge and says this for the next winner: Don't half ass it. Read on for Johnny's commitment to the yearlong ride.

CHIRP: Where do you currently live and what are you doing these days?

Mays: I live in Houston, TX and work for Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PwC), IT auditing Fortune 500 companies. I also teach yoga on the side.

CHIRP: Why did you take the challenge to give up your car? 

Mays: I was sick of working corporate America life, and I wanted to get out to travel and see the country - on a bike!

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Share July 2, 2015 Share on Facebook Tweet This!

Topics: tour de fat

SKaiser writesLearn Your City’s Streets with Tour de Fat’s Car For Bike Challenge

Chicago has over 200 miles of on-street bike lanes and routes. It gets a wee bit easier each passing year for riders as the Department of Transportation works to grow the network of bike facilities. 

CHIRP Radio supports our bike-friendly city's efforts and is partnered with New Belgium Brewery for the Tour de Fat celebration in Palmer Square on Saturday, July 11. Click here for details on entering the 2015 Car Trader challenge. Entries are due by Wednesday, July 8.

Dave Pabellon, Car Trader of 2011, knew of Tour de Fat's car-for-bike swap and thought, "Why not me?" The time spent commuting by bike made him more in tune with Chicago and the city's strides in building a strong bike culture.

CHIRP: Where do you currently live and what are you doing these days?

Pabellon: Still residing in Chicago, but have moved out of Humboldt Park further North, past Lincoln Square. Also, I'm still employed as a senior designer at a wonderful studio, Faust but soon I will be transitioning into a new position at Dominican University as a professor in design.

CHIRP: Why did you take the challenge to give up your car? 

Pabellon: Well, in 2011 I had this Saab that kept dying on me and at the time I thought it was a necessity because the Faust studio was located in Riverside IL (now we are in Pilsen). But after doing some google mapping and talking to some friends about going car-less I decided to go for it. I've loved attending the Tour de Fat's in the past and thought, "why not me?"

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Share June 29, 2015 Share on Facebook Tweet This!

Topics: tour de fat

SKaiser writesAre You the 2015 Car For Bike Trader?

You won't regret it or fear it. That's the repeat message thus far from the featured Car Traders of New Belgium's Tour de Fat car-for-bike challenge.

CHIRP Radio is partnered with New Belgium Brewery for the 2015 Tour de Fat celebration in Palmer Square on Saturday, July 11. If the experiences shared by these guys motivates you to step up and throw your hat in the ring, click here for more details. Entries are due by Wednesday, July 8.

Five years ago Iggy Igz accepted the challenge and last winter was the first he hadn't commuted by bike. What happened over those five years? Read on and find out.

CHIRP: Where do you currently live and what are you doing these days?

Igz: I currently live in the River West / West Town area. Currently, I am doing facility management downtown and just recently started a painting company.

CHIRP: Why did you take the challenge to give up your car? 

Igz: I took the challenge because I believed I could. Honestly, I probably wasn't the best candidate in the sense of "revolutionizing" someone to delve deep into bike commuting and culture. I was already kind of there. I was driving at the time, but largely because I was dealing with a new dog that had severe separation anxiety and I had take him to work with me. It was also time to stop doing that. I took the challenge last minute and didnt get an opportunity to make a video.

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Share June 26, 2015 Share on Facebook Tweet This!

Topics: tour de fat

SKaiser writesWill You Take the Year-Long Car For Bike Challenge?

This is the moment we bring you Bill Bushnell: 2012 Tour de Fat winner of the Car Trader challenge. He sat down with CHIRP Radio to share his experience of trading horsepower for legpower and biking the mean streets of Chicago.

Read on to see how Bill's challenge lasted over a year and what it really means to show up to work with an icy beard and smile on your face.

Stay tuned over the next couple weeks as we feature Car Traders of Tour de Fat past. CHIRP Radio is partnered with New Belgium Brewery for the 2015 Tour de Fat celebration in Palmer Square on Saturday, July 11.

CHIRP: Where do you currently live and what are you doing these days?

Bushnell: I'm living in the suburb of Elmhurst and I'm working as a web developer for a company in Glenview

CHIRP: Why did you take the challenge to give up your car? 

Bushnell: A few years ago, gas prices were spiking and as I was standing at a gas pump watching hours of my life tick away with each gallon going into the car, I thought that there must be a better way. It sparked me to think about my commute differently, not driving my commute as a necessary, but a choice I was making everything morning. I saved up a bit, bought a relatively inexpensive bike since that's all I could afford at the time, and started commuting by bike. After a couple months of intermittent bike commuting, I was loving it, but my bike wasn't up to the challenge. I decided that the commuting by bike was something that I really wanted to do, but it was going to be all or nothing for me. So I threw my hat in the ring for the car trade, and was lucky enough to be selected. I traded the car, bought a new, more durable bike, and some accessories to make the commute easier and more feasible despite whatever weather may come out way. The rest is, shall we say, history.

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Share June 23, 2015 Share on Facebook Tweet This!

Topics: tour de fat

SKaiser writesWould You Give Up Your Car and Bike Year Round in Chicago?

Get the scoop of what it's really like commuting by bike everywhere from the brave souls who've experieced it firsthand: past Car for Bike Traders of the annual New Belgium Brewery Tour de Fat celebration of all things bicylce, man's greatest invention.

Over the next couple weeks CHIRP Radio is taking some time to honor past Car for Bike Traders with a little Q&A. CHIRP Radio is partnered with New Belgium Brewery for the 2015 Tour de Fat celebration in Palmer Square on Saturday, July 11.

This week we bring you Adam Wonak, challenge winner of 2014.

CHIRP: Where do you currently live and what are you doing these days?

Wonak: I'm living in the West Loop/Noble Square area. I moved here from Logan Square earlier this year. I'm working as a Software Engineer.

CHIRP: Why did you take the challenge to give up your car?

Wonak: I'd been interested in the car-for-bike trade for a number of years. I'd had the same car since college but had been using it less and less--my bike had become my primary mode of transportation a while back. The idea of living car free was very appealing to me, and the chance to ceremoniously trade in my car for a bike in exchange for a year of car-free living seemed like a fitting way to finally make that happen.

Adam Wonak's entry video

CHIRP: What kinds of adjustments did you have to make to your life and daily routines? 

Wonak: The transition was not difficult at all because even before I gave up my car I rarely drove. I commute to work mostly via bike, and I have several grocery stores within walking or biking distance and my neighborhood has a lot of fun bars and restaurants, so I don't typically venture too far.

My employers have all valued and supported bike commuting. Although it wouldn't be a problem locking my bike outside during the workday, being able to store my bike indoors and keep it clean helps preserve the longevity of my bike, especially in the winter. At my current office (I changed jobs last fall) there is space to keep my bike indoors, and my previous office even built an indoor bike storage room for its employees.

The biggest adjustment was making the occasional trip to one of my doctors, whose office is in Park Ridge. Instead of driving to those appointments, as I'd usually done, I now bike the 16-mile commute up Milwaukee Avenue to Northwest Highway--and it's a delightful trip!

Another adjustment I made was to ramp up my bicycle safety. Since I'm totally reliant on my bike for transportation now, I wanted to make sure safety was intentional and not an afterthought. Part of the bike shop credit I received went toward upgrading a lot of my safety gear, such as a new helmet with powerful lights attached, for nighttime riding.

CHIRP: How has living without a car changed you? 

Wonak: One thing I miss about my car was the massive bike rack. The Explorer had a trailer hitch with a 4-bike rack. On one bike trip to Wisconsin I took with my friends, we were able to transport 4 bikes on the rack and 2 bikes in the trunk! Without that car, I am no longer the bike mule when we leave town for bike excursions, and we've had to find alternate solutions for how to carry everything.

CHIRP: What do you feel are the biggest benefits of the lifestyle change you made?

Wonak: To be completely honest, I don't feel like much has changed. I had been planning on getting rid of my car for a while and was distancing myself from it further and further, so when it was finally gone I really didn't notice much of a change. That having been said, reflecting on the benefits of this lifestyle, I like to joke about the fact that my active lifestyle supports my eating habits: I like to eat a lot of rich food and sweets, so being active and biking regularly helps me burn all those extra calories!

CHIRP: How can your town, your state, and/or society in general make bicycling more attractive to other people?

Wonak: I really love the work that the Active Transportation Alliance is doing in Chicago. The work they're doing with CDOT on the Chicago Complete Streets campaign is great. The number of Chicagoans that choose to bike to work is large and growing, and it's important to make sure everyone can be on the road safely and comfortably. In fact, when the first protected bike lanes were installed on Kinzie I loved them as both a cyclist and a motorist. Dedicating space for bikes and for cars makes the streets safer for everyone.

CHIRP: What would be your advice for the next person who is going to take up New Belgium's offer?

Wonak: If you live and work in the city, Chicago has some great infrastructure to get around by bike, and it's getting better every year. If you live within about 5 miles from where you work, the daily commute will be totally doable--even in winter. Take the time to experiment and figure out the gear that works for you (warm boots in the winter are a must) and you can handle anything!

If you're inspired to take the Car For Bike challenge, click here for more details!

Share June 18, 2015 Share on Facebook Tweet This!

Topics: tour de fat

Clarence Ewing: The Million Year Trip writesNew Belgium Brewing and CHIRP Are Looking for the Next Car Trader. Is it YOU?

CHIRP Radio is proud to partner with New Belgium Brewing this year for their annual Tour de Fat celebration on Saturday, July 11th. There will be bands, costumes, food, drinks, and lots and (of course) lots of bikes.

We're also helping New Belgium find the next proud soul to become a Car-for-Bike Swapper. Every year in every city the Tour de Fat visits, an individual agrees to give up their car for one year in exchange for a bicycle and a chance to change their lives by living healthier and more eco- and community-friendly. You will get the funds and the know-how to build your bike just how you want it for your year of cycling action.

BONUS: The proceeds that New Belgium receives from your car will be donated to CHIRP Radio! How's that for a win-win-win situation?

If you're interested in becoming The Chosen One at this year's Chicago Tour de Fat, head over to New Belgium's information page for application submission instructions. And DO IT NOW! July will be here before you know don't want to miss your chance! 

Share June 8, 2015 Share on Facebook Tweet This!

Topics: tour de fat

Falyn writesTour de Fat: New Belgium and West Town Bikes Give Back to Chicago

By Falyn Freyman

When music, bicycles, and beer come together, it's summertime bliss. When you add philanthropy into the mix, it' even better.

Colorado-based New Belgium Brewing is known for its delicious craft beers and generally rad approach to sustainability, community-building, and giving back. Their annual Tour de Fat returns to Chicago this year for another free, daylong festival featuring a costumed bike parade, live bands and performers, contests, and of course, beer, with all proceeds and donations directly benefiting Humboldt Park non-profit West Town Bikes.

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Share July 8, 2014 Share on Facebook Tweet This!

Topics: tour de fat