The Nelson Cycling Club’s annual Fat Tire Festival is held each year in memory of avid local cyclist Cam Alexander who lost his life tragically while doing what he loved: riding his bike. The local community loved and respected him so much that they decided to throw a party for bicycles in his honor. That was nearly 20 years ago, and today Nelson’s Fat Tire Fest is an annual celebration of all things bicycle for kids from 2-92 to enjoy. This year’s festival will be held over the weekend of August 22-24 at various venues around town in order to showcase why Nelson is one of the best places to ride in the greater Pacific Northwest. The event also helps raise money to build and maintain more of the classic Kootenay downhill trails Nelson is famous for, as well as new, mellower cross-country and all mountain trails being built close to town.
The festival kicks off Friday at 5 p.m. downtown with bike decorating and a bike parade down Baker Street and continues all weekend. “BikeFest,” an evening of fun, free events including the Show’N’Shine (bring your fanciest, oldest, or funkiest bike down); Kootenay Krawl (slowest one wins); and the popular Last Wheelie Standing Competition. The weekend also marks the last MarketFest of the season featuring live music, vendors and the best tastes of the Kootenays. The Festival features several fun rides for those who shy away from competition, including Saturday’s relaxed group ride on the spectacular Smallwood cross-country trail system west of town. Also on Saturday, starting at 11 am., you can hop on a shuttle with Footsteps Eco Adventures for the BlackJack DH Shuttle Ride – collect cards to make 21 to win this fast-paced, downhill mountain bike event. At 3 p.m., the fun moves up to Mountain Station for the Poker Ride that highlights some of the best trails in town. The day’s events wrap up that evening at 5:30 with the Roots, Rocks and Rhythm Party.
On Sunday the focus shifts to the new trail developments that have been going on at Morning Mountain, just outside Nelson, with races for adults and kids. The Bottom’s Up Trail now winds its way up the mountain on nicely shaded and graded tread. The cross-country races at Morning Mountain will feature trails such as Born Again, Plunger and Oilcan, while the downhill event features a new machine-built, rolling, bermy, flowing course that locals are raving about. Race or just watch and enjoy food, music and spectator friendly courses. Nelsonfattire.com.