Tour de Fat

In a weekend full of peregrination travel, I ventured down to Nashville, Tennessee with Walter to visit our buddy, Joey, who recently moved down in lieu of an internship with CAA.  It was a spur-of-the-moment kind of trip, the only kind I seem to know.

After shortly arriving, we went out to the local Vanderbilt bar scene and got a feel for Nashville culture – a slight variation of what I am accustomed to here in Cincinnati in the sense of people’s out-goingness and the general aesthetic feel of the city.

What really struck me, and what was easily my favorite part of the entire trip, was an unlikely stumbling upon a festival called Tour de Fat.

Craving for some contemporary Nashville food, we traveled to a nearby hole-in-the-wall shack called Hog Heaven that had the most delicious mouth savoring pulled pork sandwiches.  While eating, we heard bands jamming out and people conversing.  Naturally, we were curious to see what all the commotion was about, so we made our way up to the festivities.

The best way I can describe it is as a contemporary art/bike festival to promote awareness for being conscious of our fossil fuel usage, a healthier way of living, water conservation, and a general appreciation for creativity and the arts.  The first thing we came across was the bike pit: an enclosed circle with bicyclers riding intricate “bikes.”  I put bikes in quotations because they were certainly not your staple bikes, rather they were tripped out in a creative style.  For example, one of the bikes wheels were made entirely out of shoes stemming from a centralized socket in the middle of the make shift wheel – something that you would see in a Doctor Sues novel.  Another had a ring of wheels encompassing the whole thing, while another had no handles and relied on a pull lever in order to turn (Google image Tour de Fat if your curious to see what exactly I’m talking about).

Intrigued by the innovative designs of the bikes, we explored further in the park to see what also lay in store.  By the bike pit was a 20ft ring toss, in which eager bikers tossed rubber tires around the top. They had kaleidoscopes made out of 7ft long mirrors with a bike wheel spinning with shiny and colorful objects adorned in the spokes.

There were countless other novelty items such as unique revolving bike chairs, an obscura, intricate twisted metal frames made out of bike parts, stations with propane tanks and metal tubes in which anyone was free to take part in making music – all the while bands were jamming out on stage and performers are dancing, holding bikes with their teeth, and juggling bananas with their mouths.

I had never seen anything like this before.  Cincinnati would surely never have anything this liberal in our conservative town.  Friedrich Wilhelm Schelling, a German philosopher, regarded nature’s most impressive characteristic as its ability to profligate creativity.  His high regard of the arts and creativity as the pinnacle culmination of understanding nature inspired many artists in the Romantic Movement such as Goethe, Weber, Hölderlin, and Coleridge.

                                “Architecture is frozen music” – Schelling 

I cannot wait to move to a more liberal city, ideally San Francisco, that places a heavier emphasis on the importance of creativity and the arts.  The aesthics were very compelling.  When you are surrounded by that much innovation and creation, you cannot help but feel a sense of raw emotion and feeling on what it truly means to be human.


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