Sunshine and smiles at Biketoberfest 2009

$14,000 raised for local bike advocacy

The sixth Biketoberfest Marin festival was enjoyed by nearly 3,000 under sunny skies near the foothills of Mt Tamalpais in Fairfax, California at the weekend, with US$14,000 raised for local bike advocacy causes.

According to event organiser Tom Boss, the money – raised by ticket sales for the beer tasting portion of the event – will be split 50/50 between Access4bikes and the Marin County Bicycle Coalition.

"While the money is great, the event is also about building the cycling community and celebrating the bicycle," he told BikeRadar.

Fifteen northern California brewers offered 20-plus beer choices for tasting throughout the day's events, held in the FairAnselm Plaza near Sunshine Bicycles and the Iron Springs Pub.

Several northern California bike companies, including WTB, Marin Bikes, Rivendell, Steelman, Sycip, Soucraft, Hunter and Swobo, displayed their goods while group rides were led on the nearby Camp Tamarancho trails by mountain bike pioneers Charlie Kelly and Otis Guy, and skill sessions were led by Luna Chix retired pro Marla Streb.

"This is my second year with a booth at Biketoberfest, because Fairfax and Marin has such a great culture of bicycles that brings people out to have a great bicycle related experience," said Black Mountain Cycles' Mike Varley. "It's also a great time to see old friends and catch up with other vendors. The multitude of local brewers is an added bonus, too."

The streets were filled with cyclists for the entire day, as participants crossed Center Boulevard to check out the 40 vintage bicycles on display. Fairfax is known as the birthplace of the mountain bike, and the Java Hut parking lot is a popular starting point for group rides like the recent Dino Ride.

Soulcraft's Sean Walling grew up in nearby Marin, and the Petaluma-based framebuilder brought his bikes and family to Biketoberfest. He supports Biketoberfest for several reasons.

"It's local, which is where we have a lot of support and fans and I personally get to see a lot of old friends," he told BikeRadar. "The bonus is that we sell a lot of soft goods there so we make a little money, which is nice."

New vendors Rivendell, Hunter and Swobo enjoyed the foot traffic as well. Several people rode their bikes to the event, while others rode the nearby trails and roads throughout the day.

"We sell mostly to bike riders, not to bike sellers," Rivendell's Grant Petersen said. "We are the sellers, and we wanted riders to see the bikes. Plus, Fairfax is the best town in the world for riding, and I went for a good ride that morning. Everybody likes Fairfax. I hope it stays there forever." 

(L-R) Sky Yaeger, Karen Helfrich, Grant Petersen, Gary Helfrich and Bruce Gordon

Swobo's bike designer Sky Yaeger echoed Petersen's reasons for exhibiting at Biketoberfest. "It's important to shake hands and kiss babies, and drink beer and eat sausage, and meet with all our loyal local fans, misfits and hecklers," she said.

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