By Catriona Lowe – Homer Cycling Club
The third-annual Big Fat Bike Festival brought a smile to many faces and a significant boost to the Homer Cycling Club’s bank account. Creating and hosting an event that spans an entire weekend requires a lot of thoughtful planning, contributions from a broad swath of the community and many hours of volunteer work. HCC thrives because so many individuals and businesses are willing to enthusiastically and generously support our mission.
First, a quick semantic clarification: bikes used during the festival are fat bikes, not fat-tire bikes. There is a significant difference between the two terms. Fat-tire bikes are regular mountain bikes. The name originated when riders started using wider tires on a regular bike frame. Fat bikes have a wider frame to accommodate the extra big rim and tire. Fat bike, not fat-tire bike.
Our local media did a great job of covering the festival and alerting community members to the opportunity to participate. KBBI, Homer Tribune and News. Homer nonprofits couldn’t do what they do without your support.
I would also like to give a shout-out to other significant contributors for the 2014 festival.
Since 2013, Cook Inletkeeper has provided office and storage space rent-free to HCC. CIK also allows us to hold our monthly meetings in their space. Having a home-base has made a huge difference for HCC board members, simplifying and streamlining setting up activities, events and meetings. At the BFBF banquet, Bob Shavelson of CIK spoke about increasing the awareness of wilderness stewardship to fat bike adventures.
Beluga Lake Lodge provided an excellent base for Saturday’s Big Ride, allowing us a warm place for check-in, plenty of space to gather and load bikes, and a great setting for the post-ride burger and brew banquet. The lodge staff rose to the occasion, patiently and speedily plying participants with food and drinks.
It’s a logistical feat to get 50-plus bikes to Anchor Point; a task that would be cost-prohibitive if Homer Brewing Company, Seward Adventure Company and Phil Morris had not donated driving, along with use of trucks, vans and trailers.
The obstacle course was extra sturdy and challenging thanks to lumber and supplies given by Small Potatoes Lumber and Spenard Builders Supply. On Friday evening, tiki torches borrowed from Kachemak Nordic Ski Club lit the course, creating a welcoming atmosphere for the Meet and Greet.
Salt water and sand are particularly damaging to bike components, and it’s crucial to clean bikes immediately after a beach ride. Joe Martin and South West Alaskan Pilots Association hosted the Big Fat bike wash with supplies provided by Cycle Logical. Joe Martin provided a bike-wash bonus by purchasing pizza for all to enjoy.
Yoga may not be an obvious feature of a fat-bike event, but year after year, participants enjoy the meditative stretch as preparation for Sunday’s activities. Alayne Tetor volunteers as the instructor in the beautiful space that Many Rivers donates for our use.
Donations of coffee from Two Sisters Bakery, along with bagels and spreads from the Bagel Shop were key ingredients of the rider sustenance plan.
Many volunteers helped in one way or another, in particular Robbi Mixon, Jessi Dullinger, Katy Countiss, Daniel Countiss and Chuck Lindsay. They went above and beyond to assist HCC board and core members get this event rolling.
Silent auction and door prize items came from across the fat bike and local communities. A big thank you to: Surly, Borealis Fat Bikes, Cycle Logical, Far Out Cafe, Free Spirit Wear, Sasquatch Alaska Adventure Co., Freddy’s Roadhouse, Homer Art and Frame, Homer’s Jeans, Nomar, Grog Shop, Ulmers, Healing Hands Massage, Fat-Bike.com, Sockeye Cycle, Gear Shed, Homer Saw and Cycle and Bike Belts.
Until next time, roll on cyclists!
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