The Chainlink

The city of Berwyn recently adopted ATA's biking/walking/transit plan. The city will be holding events to help promote this plan. As a member of the citizen advisory committee, I thought a criterium would be a cool event to host. This would be non-sanctioned, just a fun event to showcase biking and all things Berwyn. I was thinking about a 5k course, 30 miles in length, with different classes for all types of riders. What experiences have you guys had with criterium's?....Is this a good length for such an event?...Would a bicycle event like this encourage you to come and check Berwyn out?....I envision a fun event, Svengoolie as the Grand Race Marshall?.....A rubber chicken drop on riders ala WKRP's turkey drop?...

Opportunity abounds...

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I've seen a 24 race in Crested Butte, Colorado.  Wow!

pistola said:

I like the idea of a 24 hour race if logistically possible. Crits are fun and cool, but I don't think they would necessarily be the best venue for promoting the Berwyn bike plan. Crits are generally 1k or 1 mile loops that showcase speed and bike handling. The course is closed off to the public but does draw a decent crowd if well promoted. I think a better idea would be a run ride or bike tour of some sorts to showcase all that Berwyn has to offer and how easy it is to get around on a bike.

The Chicago land area needs more races - especially ones within reasonable distance from the city.. Excellent idea! I haven't had a chance to read all of the other comments yet but it needs to be sanctioned by a cycling government body otherwise it'll be way too expensive (insurance) and not many will come if there's no incentive with upgrade points. 

There is A TON of stuff that goes into planning and pulling off a race. Criteriums are usually defined by a closed 1 to 2 mile course, closed meaning no cars or peds allowed! Crits are generally measured in time with a lap count down.. example women cat 4 races 30 minutes plus 1 lap

perhaps i should have said that putting ON a race is a form of entertainment....of course the racers are living a healthy lifestyle (no comment on doping). For the purposes of the City of Berwyn, they need to promote healthy lifestyles in their citizenry first, thus creating bike racers, thus creating something or someone to support in their community.

The Chicago Stadium (torn down) was built for track racing - for betting, for entertainment...not exactly to promote a transportation agenda or healthy lifestyle.

S said:

That's a pretty broad stereotype to have.  Most of those people racing on bikes spend 10+ hours a week  working out.  They are probably just as fit or in better shape than most of people (bike commuters included). Establishing the dichotomy between the two is even more egregious since bike messengers founded at least two of the racing teams in the chicago area (xxx racing, the largest one in chicago, and chicago cutting crew).  

Anne said:

Glad to hear that you're on the committee, Bernard!

Criteriums/Competitive Bike Racing = Entertainment

Bike Riding = Healthy Lifestyle

Thanks for mentioning the Wright Ride Anne. I'm on the committee with Bernie that's exploring ideas for events in Berwyn and I'm also the 2012 OPCC President so the club will have involvement in any event that happens.


Anne Alt said:

I'd agree that working with a race promoter would be the way to go.  The crit that's been held in Beverly for several years is VERY popular.  They have a festival starting before the race and ending a while later with music, food and beer.  The food and beer vendors are popular local businesses, and they sell a LOT.  The crowd is thousands of people spread out along the route.  A neighborhood group organizes a Big Wheel race for the little kids before the main event.  Plenty of people come from outside the neighborhood.  This event and the Memorial Day 5K/10K race consistently draw big crowds.

I've enjoyed riding in Berwyn for years, and I'm glad to hear that they've adopted a bike/walk/transit plan.

A few thoughts regarding dates - do NOT have it on the same date as the Oak Park Cycle Club's Wright Ride (usually the 3rd Sunday in August) or the Active Transportation Alliance's Four Star Bike Tour (Sunday 8/26), as both of those rides are likely to pass through Berwyn.

The criterium series which includes the Beverly and Evanston races runs from 7/6-7/22 this year.


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