The Tour of Somerville Cycling Classic will celebrate its 75th anniversary with three days of world-class cycling open to professional and amateur cyclists throughout Memorial Day weekend.
Known as the “Kentucky Derby of Cycling,” the tour, which sees riders pedal 50 miles through scenic downtown Somerville, is the oldest major bicycle race in the United States and a legend in the lore of bicycle racing.
Michael Malekoff, executive director of Tour of Somerville, explained that the event kicks off with the Bound Brook Criterium on Saturday, May 26. The first race begins at 9 a.m. The highlight of the weekend, he said, is a new racing event held Sunday evening: the Somerville Sprints. This high octane, super-fast drag racing-style event takes place on Main Street in Somerville and stars some of the fastest sprint cyclists on two wheels.
“It’s going to be a lot of fun because most people have never seen anyone go so fast on a bike,” Malekoff said. “While it’s a lot like the sprinting you’d see in track and field, there are no lanes and cyclists can bump and elbow each other. They cut other people off in the fight to the finish. It’s a bit like ‘Gladiator on Wheels.'”
The Tour of Somerville will be held Monday, May 28 after the 8:30 a.m. Memorial Day Parade. Before the first race begins at 10:30 a.m., families will have one-hour to ride and enjoy the course together staring at 9:30 a.m.
Malekoff, whose professional background is in the event planning business noted that bike racing is “a novel type sport” yet it attracts thousands to Somerville each year because of the rich history of this event. He added that in addition to watching bike races, this year, visitors will have plenty of other things to enjoy as well.
“We’ll have bands and entertainment in our music tent,” he said. “We’ll be closing off the side streets to traffic and offering sports demos in fencing, karate, and cheerleading. We’re going to have members of the Rutgers wrestling team, who did very well at Nationals, too. We’re also working with local restaurants to have some outdoor cafes.”
Free admission allows spectators to view all of the races. The following are additional events families can enjoy:
Unity Bank Children’s Activities
Sponsored by Unity Bank, children can enjoy entertainment, face painting and other fun activities.
Kid’s Festival Center
Bring your youngster (and their bike) for an opportunity to test their bike handling skills through our cycling obstacle course. Every kid gets a free bike and helmet check. Every inspection gets a coupon for discounts at local bike shops. Bike inspection enters you into a drawing for a new bike.
Cyclist Race Center
Support the top cyclists in the country as they prepare for their race. See top of line racing bikes as pro teams show how world class athletes get ready and warm up.
Bike Swap Flea Market
Got an extra bike or parts you don’t need? Here’s your chance to turn it into some cash. Check out our swap meet devoted to cycling. Bike shops are invited as are local bike clubs.
Click here for more information and to register for vendor space.
Division Street Music
Enjoy local entertainment all afternoon, performed by acoustic groups and entertainers. Supported by local restaurants, sit at one of our tables to grab a snack or lunch.
Sports Activity Center
Sport demonstrations from local youth organizations, college teams, and pro sports. Watch, learn, and participate as coaches explain how to join in the fun.
Family Fun Ride
9:30 AM on Main Street. Sponsored by Somerville Recreation.
Somerville streets are closed for the bike race and you can ride your bike on traffic-free streets Memorial Day. Win a pizza party for 10 by showing your school spirit. Best theme, creativity and enthusiasm wins.
To register, visit Tour of Somerville’s website.