Bicycle to the bike races July 5 in Cedar Rapids

You may have heard that Cedar Rapids is hosting a state championship criterium Sunday, July 5. (A news release sent out this week is just below with some details.) What you probably didn’t know is that there will be free, supervised bicycle parking – so pedal on down that Sunday morning, park the ride, and enjoy the racing. Consider helping as a volunteer, too.

Bicycle racing returns to downtown Cedar Rapids

The Gold Pointe Fitness Club Criterium, sponsored by Gold Pointe Fitness Club and presented by HBA Racing, will be held in downtown Cedar Rapids on Sunday, July 5, 2009.

Race promoters expect more than 200 racers to compete for $7,500 in prizes and State Championship medals for criterium and single-speed disciplines in 12 different races beginning at 9 a.m. and running throughout the day.  The races will start on the 3rd Avenue bridge and cover multiple laps.  Each lap will be approximately one kilometer with four corners and will cross the 2nd and 3rd Avenue bridges. The total distance for each race varies according to the racers’ category.

A criterium is a circuit race held on a small course that is entirely closed to traffic.  The length of the course can be between one and five kilometers.  Riders circle the track for a predetermined number of laps with the first rider crossing the finish line declared the winner.  The typical criterium course is relatively flat and features high speeds and group sprints at the finish.

From 1987 through 1997, the Mercy Challenge bicycle races were held in downtown Cedar Rapids.  Members of the HBA Racing team hope that reviving this racing tradition now will help focus attention on the city’s post-flood rebuilding progress by drawing racers and spectators into the downtown district.

Organizers also hope to highlight the work being done in Cedar Rapids to encourage the use of alternative transportation.  The City Council recently approved a resolution asking for Bicycle Friendly Community status and there is a growing interest in cycling as an alternative mode of transportation.  The city’s Bicycle Advisory Committee is working on plans to facilitate that interest throughout the community.

To encourage cycling to the event, organizers will provide free on-site bike parking in a secure, staffed bike corral.

For information on the Gold Pointe Fitness Club Criterium, contact Larry Howe at or visit the race website at

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