I call it my favorite holiday: Tour de Fat at the Mothership (aka New Belgium Brewing in Fort Collins). This year the celebration lands on the Saturday of Labor Day weekend, giving me a little more than a week to prepare.

And nothing brings a perma-grin to my face faster than outrageously costuming myself and my cruiser and being cheered on like a hometown hero along a parade route.

At least, that’s the way it goes down in Fort Collins, but regardless of where you choose to ride (Denver’s TdF is also on the horizon), the following tips will enhance your experience.

1) Get into character: Last year, the crew I rode with exceeded 30 people, and a Mad Max theme was easy to costume with thrift finds. Save your scraps for the late planners. If you’re not into a theme, take some queues from the Burning Man hoards. Etsy is a natural source of inspiration. I’m diggin’ the tutus at the local Light store (disclosure: the designer is a friend of mine).

2) Pimp your ride: Without a doubt, the bikes are the eye candy of TdF. Specifically, the Frankenbikes. Trick out your ride with new parts from the Fort Collins Bike Coop or Denver’s Pearl Velo.

3) Arrive early: Secure your spot at the beginning of the parade line, then jump off the route occasionally to watch the mass of cyclists ride by. But be sure you don’t wait too long before getting back in the saddle. The festival location could fill up, after which entry is one-in, one-out.

4) Be weird but play nice: Especially if you’re a newbie, read the 10 Commandments of Tour de Fat before you go.