Bikes and beaks take center stage this weekend on the Silicon Valley Tour de Coop.
The annual bicycle tour of backyard chicken coops, scheduled 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, will feature approximately 31 “coopsters” – families that open their homes and coops for visitors to tour.
This year’s tour theme is “Sustainable Lifestyles.” Along with seeing residents’ fowl friends, coop stops will feature homemade lemonade, banana bread, gardens and beehives – examples of how coopsters stay committed to helping the environment through eco-friendly practices such as sourcing food at home.
“Some things tend to come and go, but for a lot of people, this is a lifestyle,” said tour organizer and Los Altos Hills resident Scott Vanderlip, who touted the tour as a great way to meet neighbors. “It’s one of the few events where people open their backyards to strangers to show their coops and their lifestyles.”
More than 800 participants have registered to take part in this year’s tour, and each will receive a map of the coop stops, which are arranged into bicycle loops ranging from 6 to 20 miles. Participants unable or unwilling to bike can drive to various coops.
“I think this year’s most popular loop will be the Los Altos-Los Altos Hills loop,” Vanderlip said. “We have a concentration of coops this year in the Los Altos-Los Altos Hills area. You can do an 8-mile tour and visit six coops, so it’s a nice concentration of coops without having to bike a lot.”
First-time coopster and new chicken owner Noelle Weyer will be showcasing her “Chick-Inn,” the home of her family’s four chickens: a Barred Plymouth Rock named Starla, a Rhode Island Red named Rosie, a Black Australorp named Olivia and a Buff Orpington named Pip.
“I’d seen signs and people bicycling around in previous years, and I’d always had a little bit of an interest in chickens,” Weyer said. “We had an old playhouse in our backyard. We’d been tossing the idea around for quite some time about transitioning it into a chicken coop and getting some chickens, and the timing just happened to be right this year for us to do that this spring.”
The Weyer family incorporated recycled materials – including the playhouse, an old vegetable bed and Tupperware to house the chicks – when designing the “Chick-Inn.”
“We were able to take a lot of scrap wood, or things that were used when the kids were young, and turn it into something that we think looks pretty neat and unique to our backyard,” Weyer said.
The Tour de Coop is free.
To register and for a map of participating coop stops, visit tourdecoop.org.