The inaugural Long Beach Bicycle Festival presented by Wokcano Restaurant is expected to bring thousands of spectators and racers when it hits the streets of downtown Long Beach on Friday, April 3 and Saturday, April 4. The two-day event will offer family-friendly activities and amateur and professional bike races with more than $16,000 in prizes to be awarded.
The event begins Friday, April 3 with “Bike to Work Friday.” Residents who work locally are encouraged to ride their bikes instead of driving to work. At 4pm, the East Village Arts District Bike Expo will get underway on 1st Street between Elm and Linden. With fixed-gear competitions, a vendor fair featuring the latest in urban cycling gear, a bike valet, Gold Sprints and live music until 10pm, the event will jumpstart the weekend festivities.
The Wokcano Beer & Wine Garden will offer a selection of beverages, and the main stage will feature live performances by The Secret 6 at 8pm and Repeater at 9pm.
The fun continues on Saturday, April 4 from 1pm to 10pm as the races begin and the Pine Avenue Finish Line Festival livens up the city center. Amateur and professional cyclists will race on a 0.8-mile criterium course that winds through downtown streets, while spectators line the course and explore the festival on Pine Avenue at Broadway.
The family-friendly event will include a rock-climbing wall, face painter, bounce house, balloon artist, wildlife petting zoo and more. The vendor fair and expo area will feature live demonstrations, educational presentations, cycling gear and prize giveaways.
Following the final men’s race, which concludes at 7pm, the Bikestation Cyclestyle Fashion Show will take over the main stage with more than 30 models featuring local designers. At 8pm, more than $16,000 in prize money will be awarded to race winners followed immediately by a live performance by Was (Not Was) featuring Grammy Award Winner Don Was on the main stage.
“We’re expecting thousands of spectators and race enthusiasts,” said festival director Mark Bixby. “The cycling community is abuzz about this new event, and the local community has been extremely supportive.”
The first-time event will highlight the city’s Bicycle Master Plan, which sets out to make Long Beach the most cycling-friendly urban city in the U.S. The plan, which calls for the introduction of new bike lanes, improved access for cyclists and connectivity between different areas of the city, will be featured at the event with city staff on hand to provide additional information, answer questions and display mock-ups of designs being considered for implementation.
Long Beach City Council member Suja Lowenthal, who represents the 2nd District, will attend the festival and participate in a competitive tricycle race with other council members and in the fashion show.
Professional cyclist and Long Beach Bicycle Ambassador Tony Cruz is working closely with the city in the development of its plan and has played a major role in the planning and organization of the event. “What an amazing opportunity to highlight the many bike-friendly aspects of our city and the enhancements that are just around the corner,” said Cruz.
On Sunday, April 5 at 4:30pm, the newly renovated Art Theatre will offer a special screening of Breaking Away, a widely acclaimed cycling film featuring Eddy Van Guyse, who will also be an announcer at the festival.
“This festival would not be possible without the support of so many of our volunteers, civic partners and sponsors,” said DLBA President and Chief Executive Officer Kraig Kojian. “Because of the passion and enthusiasm behind cycling and the city’s new bike initiatives, this first-time event will be a tremendous success and one that I believe will become a staple activity for our downtown.”
For more information about the DLBA, visit www.downtownlongbeach.org or call (562) 436-4259.