Cleveland's First Cycling Festival
The booming bike culture in Cleveland is no secret. The region benefits from well organized cycling groups, an abundance of local bike shops, several bike tour companies, accessible bike rentals locations and an entire organization dedicated to bike advocacy in Cleveland.
Did we mention all the cool off-the-beaten path bike paths? Or, how about a public transportation system that supports cyclists, as well?
But this event isn't just a race to win a couple of hokey medals. This is a full weekend of cycling events, music, food, beer and, of course, rock and roll.
Edgewater Beach, a massive waterfront park along Lake Erie that's just a short bike ride from downtown, will transform into "The Hub" during the cycling festival. Inside The Hub, cyclists and their families can check out a variety of activities, meet several local bike shops and even get the little ones in on the action with a kid's fun ride aptly named the "Kids Cruise."
The heart and soul of the event is in the five core cycling events that'll take place over the weekend in a variety of happening Cleveland locations.
Friday night races at the Cleveland Velodrome are all the rage around these parts. Get in on the high-speed action at this fully equipped velodrome complex - the only one of its kind in Ohio - just east of downtown Cleveland in Slavic Village. For those who've never experienced a velodrome, it's an arena for track cycling featuring steeply banked oval tracks consisting of two 180-degree circular bends connected by two straights. Surrounding the track and on the infield is spectator seating. Pretty cool, huh?
Cyclocrosses - with their use of obstacles, steps and steep hills that require riders to dismount and run with their bikes - are already challenging and fun-to-watch events. But NEOCycle's Spin Cyclocross promises to be even more unique, as it will utilize many of the natural elements in Edgewater Beach, as well as some man-made ones along the way.
Cleveland's downtown is undergoing a rather epic transformation with ever-popular nightlife destinations, three pro sports teams, a renowned culinary scene and a constant increase in the number of downtown residents. We can't think of a more exhilarating way to experience the energy of downtown Cleveland than with NEOCycle's Night Ride event. The ride starts and ends at The Hub and provides spectacular views of both downtown Cleveland and a beautiful Lake Erie sunset.
A gran fundo for everyone ranging from turkeys to pros? Sounds good to us. The Forest City Fundo features 10-, 25- or 62-mile non-competitive courses that wind through some of Cleveland's hottest neighborhoods, artsy communities and eclectic downtown districts. Rest assured, the untimed, non-competitive mass ride will have plenty of (FUN) rest stop areas, as well as a broom wagon helping riders with any difficulties they may incur.
Okay. This is when things get real. Criterium - or "Crit" as you extremists called it - is an event for serious cyclists. The highly competitive speed race is held on a short (less than one mile) course around Wade Oval in University Circle.
Not up for a high-speed race? This race is perfect for spectators, as the riders make continuous laps, creating an exciting and entertaining environment.
After spectating Criterium, spend the day walking between the arts and cultural institutions right there in University Circle (aka the most concentrated square mile of arts and culture in the country). Not a bad way to finish off your weekend, eh?
If you know what's good for your, jump, snap and jam your way to NEOCycle's website to register. The good news is that you can register for each individual event - so you're not locked into every event or race. And, while prices range, the typical registration cost is around 30 bucks.
It's a totally one-of-a-kind event in a totally one-of-a-kind city. That's just how we roll here in Cleveland.