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“Fantastically eccentric” folding bike race kicks-off Open Streets at 10 a.m. Sunday, June 10
50 cyclists expected to race—wearing business attire.
It’s a bike race where participants must ride a Brompton folding bicycle, one of Britain’s most famous exports—and it’s a race where participants must ride in a blazer, button-up and tie. It’s the 3rd Annual Brompton U.S. Championship, a run-up to the Brompton World Championship in England this August.
There are still spaces available and registration will be open at Calhoun Cycle and on the shop’s website (www.calhouncycle.com) through Saturday, June 9.
The race will be 6 miles over a closed half-mile circuit. The Championship Race will kick-off Open Streets Minneapolis, an initiative of the Minneapolis Bicycle Coalition taking place on Lyndale Ave S. The fastest male and fastest female will, as with all of Brompton’s national championship events world-wide, win flights and entry to the Brompton World Championship, to be held at Blenheim Palace, England.
The race will start and end on Lyndale at W 34th Street. Pre-race check-in begins at 8:30 and runs through 9:40 a.m. Race time is 10 a.m.
In keeping with the World Championship event, the Minneapolis race will feature a Le Mans running start and have a strict dress code: all riders must wear a button up shirt, tie and blazer. No Lycra may be exposed and helmets are required. To encourage high standards of sartorial elegance there will be prizes for the best dressed. A fastest folding competition will also be held after the race.
“Poor dress sense will not be tolerated,” declared the organizers of the first Brompton race in 2009. In reality, some participants’ concept of “business attire” ran to kilts and wild plaid trousers. One cyclist raced in a gorilla suit—with a necktie, of course.
“This race has little to do with bike racing. We’re celebrating the Brompton—all of its quirkiness and all of its style” says Brompton dealer and Calhoun Cycle owner Luke Breen, who’s organizing the event with Greg Neis, sales manager at the shop.
For all the fun, the U.K. race has attracted some fast company: in 2008, Tour de France stage winner Roberto Heras competed—and came in second to Britain’s own Alistair Kay. Heras returned to win in 2009, by just a fraction of a second, with Kay demoted to third. Alistair Kay called the BWC “A fantastically eccentric British day out!”
This first Minneapolis race will be a great companion event to Open Streets Minneapolis and spectators can expect to see just how fast these practical little British bikes can go.
If you’d like to race your Brompton folding bike, you can register in person at Calhoun Cycle or online at www.calhouncycle.com through Saturday, June 9. Calhoun Cycle will host a Registration and Packet Pick-up Party between 5:30 pm and 8:30 p.m. at the shop’s 3342 Hennepin Ave location on Saturday evening.
Questions from prospective participants may be directed to the Calhoun Cycle staff at 612-827-8000. Complete rules and information for spectators can be found at http://www.bromptonbicycle.com/events/.
Note: the Brompton race comes at the start of Open Streets Minneapolis, a day without motor vehicle traffic on much of Lyndale Avenue. By opening up the streets for people to walk, bike, run and skate for a day, we get an opportunity to experience our city in a whole new way. In addition to biking, walking and skating, there are programmed recreational activities along Lyndale including yoga, dancing, and games. There are also musical performances and classes on bike safety and repair. Details are available at http://openstreetsmpls.com/. Sponsors for Open Streets include Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota, Modern Climate, 89.3 The Current, Yelp, Calhoun Cycle, Bike Walk Week Twin Cities, Nice Ride Minnesota, and Community Design Group.
About the Brompton folding bicycle
The Brompton is a bike which rides superbly, is safe, agile and fast, yet folds easily and quickly into a highly-compact and portable package. Finely-engineered and elegant, the Brompton has a full-sized frame, made mainly of steel for strength and stiffness. Its rigid frame and accurate alignment make for a lively, first-rate ride. The Brompton is designed to be practical and light enough to be genuinely portable.
First sold in the U.S. in 1995, Brompton has moved to grow in the U.S., appointing Ed Rae as their North American Agent and establishing a network of more than 30 dealers across the U.S. and Canada. In 2011, Brompton further demonstrated its growth by appointing John McConaghay, formerly of Minneapolis, as a second North American Agent.