Frequent Questions

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Also, be sure to check around the site. Even though we have our heads in it, we have thought of almost everything.

How much climbing, descending and mileage on each ride?

You know the old saying about buying something, "If you have to ask how much it costs, you can't afford it." Well, that sort of applies here. Also, and this is just my opinion, elevation change doesn't tell the whole story. Check the downloads page for 2012 routes.

Will there be guides or course marking?

OK, now don't get me started. We have marked these routes for years. Some of the same people hang the course markers and have been doing so since the BBFT started. We think it works great and every year there's someone that disagrees. Chalk that up to, "You can't please everybody." The courses for the BBFT are marked using a randonneering style. That is to say there is very little marking and then only where the route makes a turn. As you are riding along, enjoying the scenery YOU are always on the lookout for our signature Hot Pink Trail Ribbon with the word "TRAIL" printed on it. When you see two long strands of this ribbon hanging on your right side you feel drawn to the right. You then come to an intersection or turn. You naturally look to your right. Down the trail that direction you notice another two strands of Hot Pink Trail Ribbon with the word "TRAIL" printed on it. You're smart, you proceed to the right even if you saw another rider go the other way (This would be a good time to shout at them). Same applies for a turn to the left, only the first ribbon you saw was on YOUR LEFT. Pretty easy, like I said we like it. Oh yeah, there are guides too; lead, mid and sweep in each group. Stay between the lead and the sweep unless you prefer to ride an UNMARKED course! Whew. All the guides know the way to go.

What about food and water during the ride, what should I bring along?

The answer to this question might just be the best thing about Bend's Big Fat Tour. We always say you should be self sufficient in terms of tools, tubes, energy bars, spare clothes and water. However, the tour is designed so you can bring what you normally bring on a 20 mile weekend ride and still be able to complete an 80 miler. In fact the routes are laid out so you typically will have an Aid Station about every 25 miles on Friday, Sunday and the Epic route Saturday and about 20 miles for the Recreational route on Saturday. Now, the good part: Our Aid Stations are stocked with unlimited water and Gatorade, cookies, brownies, candy and energy bars, salted baby red potatoes, meat and vegetarian pannini sandwiches and fresh fruit such as apples, oranges and bananas. It's making me hungry just writing about it. Each Aid Station also has a bike mechanic with a full set of tools (not for loan) and some spare parts. We really want you to finish the ride!

KrisDoug Aid.jpg

Is there any Medical help during the rides?

Yes. We have two EMT's on motorcycles who are on duty from the time the first riders leave the trail head until EVERYONE has been accounted for. I know of a couple of doctors and nurses who ride the tour. It is rare that people get hurt, but it happens and we are ready. It also helps that we ask people to CHECK IN at the Aid Stations and CHECK OUT at the finish, just so we know where you were last seen in the event you don't show up for the party, that would be a shame to miss, by the way. This is a good time to mention the Bend's Big Fat Tour is NOT A RACE!

What if I can't finish the ride?

This happens. No shame in it. These rides are long, technical and strenuous, it is a challenge to finish one let alone all of them. The Bend's Big Fat Tour is geared (pun intended) for challenging everyone at many different levels. This is why it's a great event for couples or families. Sign up for the biggest ride you think you can do. There's always help at the Aid Stations, and typically a vehicle or two to get back to town if you're truly "done". Also, the Aid Station Volunteers can direct you back to town the easy way, bail out down the road. In the past few years we felt that the routes were becoming too easy, so for 2012 we've made it harder to finish. You'll thank us later.

What if I can't make it to Registration to pick up my ride packet?

We will have your ride packet waiting for you at the start of the ride the next day but it's a good idea to get there early to check in, sign your waiver and make ready. On-site registration goes until 7:00pm Thursday and Friday nights and there's always a few people who can't make that. We'd appreciate if you try to get here on time but understand if you can't.

What about the weather?

OK, What about it? As any BBFT Veteran knows, the weather is part of the fun of the Big Fat Tour. Expect EVERY kind of weather. Bring ALL of your riding gear, especially the nasty weather stuff. One day it can be perfect and 73 degrees, and the next 20 degrees and snowing. We ride in all of it and that's what makes this event special. If you are prepared you'll have fun. We have a motto: "There's no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing."

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Photo by John Harris 2005

Tell me more about the Party.

OK, the Saturday night party is THE BBFT tradition. We have Live music, ample supplies of a couple flavors of Deschutes ales, plenty of tasty food, a raffle and prize give-away and of course all the stories and socializing you can handle. All registrations include the Party and we practically guarantee you won't leave the party hungry or thirsty. Make sure you have your wristband on when you enter, otherwise "No soup for you!" (and no raffle ticket, either) Your wristband is your ticket for everything on Saturday. The 2012 Party will be held at the Century Center, live music TBA.

Is there camping or lodging for the event?

While we don't provide any camping or lodging with the price of the Tour we can recommend some things to check out.

Camping: Check out Tumalo State Park, 6 miles North of town on the Deschutes River. They have showers, RV spots, tent spots and reasonable prices. Go to the Oregon State Parks website for more info:

The Deschutes and Ochoco National Forests have numerous camping opportunities in developed campsites and dispersed areas. Check out their camping info here:

Are there Friday or Sunday morning shuttles or carpooling?

The routes for the 2012 Bend's Big Fat Tour are now available on the Downloads Page.

Those interested in carpooling to the Friday Ochoco Ride should meet at the Century Center to depart at 7:30am. There is VERY LIMITED parking at the Ochoco Guard station but we have reserved the campground, please park there. Hot food will be provided after the ride by Parilla Grill but it is a BYOB beverage service!

On Sunday if you want to carpool to the Scout Lake Day Use West of Sisters, we suggest you make some friends Saturday night and ask about carpooling. We aren't officially providing transport for Sunday and many folks drive home (to somewhere further West) from there but there are also many folks returning to Bend afterwards. Maybe there will be an announcement about it Saturday at the Party.