Ivan Fuentes is a Houstonian who loves his tacos and his bike. On evenings and weekends, you can find him riding around the city on his single-speed, visiting one of the dozens of taco trucks and bars that he frequents. This year marks the fifth anniversary of Tour de Taco, which he founded with local biking group Crucial Matter.
“The idea came to me because I love bringing people together for a good time, and what better way than with tacos?” says Fuentes, the communications director for local non-profit BikeHouston. “They are delicious and cheap. Why would anyone not be interested in tacos?”
On the first Friday of each month, he and around 200 other like-minded souls get together to—true to their motto—ride, eat, and party. Think of it as a bar crawl mixed with tacos and cardio. It’s a social outing, which means it rolls at a leisurely pace, allowing everyone to stick together as much as possible.
For last year’s four-year anniversary party, the group swelled to more than 500 riders, and the event ended with a concert by Houston’s own legendary vatos rudos, ska band Los Skarnales. The venue was stacked up to the ceiling with cases of Lone Star Beer, which were all gone by the end of the night. Fuentes hopes to top that party this July, when the Tour de Taco turns five.
Join one of these rides, and you won’t find the group eating anything that costs more than $2 a pop. According to Ivan, a taco should be good, fast, and cheap. “If Tacos Tierra Caliente can do it,” he says, “other trucks should too!” You won’t find them holding up the line by ordering a quesadilla, either.
The group normally gives a heads up to the truck owners to be ready on ride nights. Besides working closely with Maria Samano at Tacos Tierra Caliente, Fuentes has formed close relationships with Leo Chavez of Taco Keto and Saul Obregon of La Macro Food Truck. One good night feeding hundreds of taco riders can swing a truck’s profits into the positive for the week, maybe even the month. Riding bikes, having fun, and supporting small business: It doesn't get any more Houston than that.
Join Crucial Matter’s Tour de Tacos on the first Friday of each month. The group meets at 6:45 p.m. at Market Square downtown. Third Fridays bring a raspas and elotes ride. For more information, visit facebook.com/groups/crucialmatter.