Everything that I used to know and believe and then have been subsequently taught against has proven to be true and beautiful. I will get to the Tour de Fat stuff here is a second, but first I have to talk to you about spaces. So in the olden' days when I would put keyboard to paper (as they say) I would always put one space after a period instead of two spaces, always. It was a writing rule that I got from the MLA style guide (which to me (at the time) was infallible). And then I went to college, a nice college, well regarded, Jesuit. And it was here that I took a religious studies class based in the New Testament. The class was good, pretty hard and the subject matter was interesting. The professor of this class made rigorous demands about our writing, everything had to be right ("right" based on MLA style guidelines). The citations, the punctuation, he even measured our margins with a ruler. It was in this regard that I thought I would succeed, MLA style guidelines had become a bit of an obsession for me and my critical writing was improving as well. The submission of my first paper contained single spaced sentence starts following my periods. He docked me points for this "infraction" saying that a double space was required following a period. I argued with him endlessly about this, at the time I had trouble finding the MLA rule stating single spaces following periods and he would not take me at my word (generally a good idea). As the semester continued he continued docking points for my single spaces and my grade in the class was starting to suffer. It was at this point I decided to take him at his word, I switched to double spaces following periods to help my performance in his class and over the years I just accepted the fact that the double space was correct based on the MLA style guidelines (more research was not done on the matter as I was feeling defeated and deflated by the whole thing). But now there is vindication! This Slate.com article clears the whole issue up with citations and sources and everything, Slate.com never steers me wrong. Turns out I was right, single spacing is true and correct based on MLA guidelines and that professor was wrong. Now the trick is having to break the habit that has been ingrained into my typing fingers for the last 14 years, and so do you. We will now single space all new sentences starting after periods. Come on people, we can do this together and we can fight for correct typography and the following of MLA style guidelines. Citizens Unite!
OK, the single space rant is over, on to the Tour de Fat.
The 2011 season was full of TdF excitement, some new cities were added and the tour finally hit the eastern seaboard. Coast to coast the 2011 Tour de Fat raised $400,000! A new single season record that pushed the Tour de Fat money raised in total (over all of the years) to nearly $2,000,000 (that's two million dollars). That is a healthy chunk of change put into the pockets of local cycling groups to do a lot of good in your communities. Trail maintenance, general advocacy, more bike lanes, kids programs, community co-ops, the TdF saw it all. There were also 13 worthy souls that traded their car for a bike. This is a major commitment to making the world a better place through bicycles. They signed over the title of their car to a local non-profit that in turn sold the car for cash to put towards the organization. These folks were then handed a Black Sheep custom commuter bike to ride for the next year (and for the rest of their lives). They had to make a serious commitment to the bicycle, ride it everywhere for one year. In riding these bikes the traders are helping out our world, making it a better, cleaner world and promoting bicycle riding, getting people out of their cars and helping other people remember that bikes are good and fun to ride. Check out The Car for Bike Trader Blog here and read all about the bicycle and rider's escapades from the mind and handlebars of the traders themselves.
The 2011 Tour de Fat in Denver had some pretty awesome visitors too. There was several thousand people in attendance at the Denver show and we are glad that each and everyone of them came out to support their community. But a couple folks from from America ByCycle rode their bikes 1,100 miles to make it to the Denver show. We were very pleased to see them at the show and see their enthusiasm for people on bikes and we were even more pleased to see the movie they made about the adventure (because it's awesome and awesomely entertaining). I embedded the video below, but for more information on the ride and the people behind it check out www.AmericaByCycle.com.
On that note we'll talk later, enjoy the film and ride your bike more!