Tell Us Your “Commuter Idyll” Story Today, Be a Tour de Fat VIP

Bike Pit

Try out a wacky bicycle in the rodeo. Photo: Josh Koonce

Today’s the last day of our Commuter Idyll contest. That means it’s your last chance to tell us how you switched from a stressful car commute to a relaxing transit ride or stress-relieving walk to work — and win one of several prizes!

Last year’s contest was run by Streetsblog USA, and the winner was Jake Williams from Chicago, who switched from a 26-mile drive to Lincolnshire to a 12-minute walking commute to a new job.

We’ve got cool prizes this year thanks to a generous sponsorship from New Belgium Brewing, the employee-owned company from Fort Collins, Colorado who’s bringing Tour de Fat back to Palmer Square Park this coming Saturday.

What’s your commuting story? Did you give up on the cost and headaches of constant car breakdowns, then switched to listening to Talking Headways on Metra? Were you so sick of stop-and-go traffic on the Kennedy or Eisenhower that you instead chose to park the car and hop aboard the Blue Line instead?

Even if you don’t yet have an Idyllic story yet, but want to give it a try, New Belgium is also looking for someone to give up their car at the fest and get a new bike in return. You’ll have to apply online beforehand.

The Tour brings “bikes, beer, and bemusement” to every stop, including numerous live bands and a wacky bicycle rodeo, and also raises funds for local bicycle nonprofits. For Chicago, 100 percent of beer proceeds will be donated to West Town Bikes, a bike kitchen in Humboldt Park which teaches high school students how to repair bikes and manage a store.

John will be holding down the fort at the Streetsblog Chicago table, while I’ll be pouring $5 drafts of Snapshot and Fat Tire for West Town Bikes until 2:30 p.m.

Last year’s fest drew 8,000 attendees and raised more than $40,000 for after school programs at West Town Bikes. The fest starts with a bicycle parade (and cargo bike roll call) around Logan Square. Costumes are encouraged, so look for 35th Ward Alderman Rey Colón in his Zorro outfit.

New Belgium Beer  Tour De Fat

All beer proceeds will be donated to West Town Bikes. Photo: Drew Baker

Tell us your story by midnight tonight in the comments section below or email it to us. The grand prize winner will get a VIP pass to the Tour de Fat, including two complimentary beer tokens, free food and access to the VIP area, plus a goodie bag with a t-shirt, bottle opener, and an ankle strap to keep your pants clean. Three runners-up will get VIP passes. Additionally, Morgan Whitcomb and Vig Krishnamurthy of Sam Schwartz Engineering (where Williams started work) will design an infographic to show your before-and-after commutes.

The Commuter Idyll grand prize winner will get a shout-out during the bike parade and during the performances. While you’re at the festival, be sure to drop by our table to say hello and pick up some free schwag, including our coveted “I love bus rapid transit” buttons.

Here’s the full schedule for the fest.

Revival Stage
11 a.m. — Bike Parade Launch
12 p.m. — Fashion! Best costumes of the Tour de Fat
1:10 p.m. — The Slow Ride Race
2:30 p.m. — Car for Bike Trade
3:55 p.m. — 1,000 Person Dance Contest (winner receives a New Belgium cruiser bike)
4:20 p.m. — Los Amigos Invisibles
5:05 p.m. — Finale

Variety Stage
1:35 p.m. — The Handsome Little Devils
3:00 p.m. — Yo-Yo People
3:40 p.m. — Mucca Pazza