Bike Month is here in Long Beach!
Long Beach Mayor Bob Foster kicked off National Bike Month on May 7 with his annual Bike Ride to City Hall, one of more than a dozen exciting activities and special events taking place in Long Beach during May 2013.
The mayor’s bike ride promotes awareness of the annual Tour of Long Beach & Bike Festival, the annual bicycle circuit around Long Beach benefiting Miller Children’s Hospital. This year’s event and daylong celebration at The Pike in Rainbow Harbor will take place on Saturday, May 11.
Other upcoming events include Fix Your Bike Day & Safety Rodeo on May 11 at McBride Teen Center; Bike to Work Day on May 16 at City Hall and CSULB locations; and Kidical Mass on May 19 in Bixby Knolls.
An updated listing of events will be posted throughout the month at BikeLongBeach.org/events
The Downtown Long Beach Associate presents the Bike Fest of Long Beach. Grab your bike and cruise to THE PIKE AT RAINBOW HARBOR to Celebrate Bike-Friendly Long Beach at the Finish Line of the Tour of Long Beach!The event is FREE and will feature the BEACHWOOD & FRIENDS CRAFT BEER GARDEN, a Vintage Bike Exhibit & Fashion Show, Live Entertainment and Swing Bands, a FREE Bike Valet, Children’s Activities, Vendor Village and food specialties from Downtown’s Restaurants.
This weekend is when Long Beach puts its money where its mouth is when it comes to championing bicycle culture.
This will be the fourth year of the Tour of Long Beach, which begins as early as 6 a.m. Saturday, May 11, near Shoreline Village. The Downtown Long Beach Associates’ BikeFest will take place at the finish line from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., at The Pike’s grassy area near Shoreline Drive and Pine Avenue.
“The Tour of Long Beach and its finish line festival is a celebration of the bike friendliness and bike culture in downtown Long Beach,” said Julie Meigs Korinke, DLBA communication manager. “And this year, BikeFest will be highlighting downtown’s vintage and biking fashion with two new elements.”
The Tour of Long Beach was an idea of the late Mark Bixby and Long Beach’s Bike Ambassador Tony Cruz (2000 U.S. Olympian). The tour has a variety of ways to participate with the Family Fun Run (free, 5 miles), Tour of Long Beach ($55, 31 miles), Metric Century Ride ($65, 62 miles) or the Cruz Gran Fondo ($120, 100 miles).
“With all the different rides, anyone can participate, whether you are a kid who just got a bike or an avid cyclist,” said Brett Beck, Memorial Medical Foundation director. “It’s designed to be a great weekend for families and neighbors to show off what Long Beach has been trying to do to be one of the most bike-friendly cities in the nation.”
The Tour of Long Beach puts money toward the Miller Children’s Hospital Jonathan Jaques Children’s Cancer Center. Beyond an entry fee, riders also can choose to fundraise for the race — $200 raised by May 10 gets the cyclist a special Champions Club jersey.
“There’s a lot of rides for different diseases and diagnoses, but you don’t really know what the money is specifically going to,” said Renae Waestman-Furlow, marketing manager for Jonathan Jaques. “We’re really big on transparency.”
The hospital is part of the Children’s Oncology Group, working to cure cancers in children and teenagers — specifically certain types of leukemia.
“Our goal is to make pediatric cancer a survivable disease, to make sure each child is curable,” Waestman-Furlow said. “And any advances we receive here, a patient in Texas will get that same knowledge. When you come and ride and make every pedal count, you’re doing something locally, but also helping every patient across the country.”
The main Tour of Long Beach route begins along the water in downtown Long Beach, goes north along the Los Angeles River, cuts across the city roughly parallel to Heartwell Park, back down along the San Gabriel River and across the boardwalk back downtown. The special Cruz Gran Fondo will be led by Tony Cruz, and its path reaches south all the way to the Laguna area and back.
The event is trying to raise about $500,000 and race officials said they expect about 3,000 cyclists of all ages and types. One-way of traffic along Shoreline Drive will be closed from about 4 a.m. to 10 a.m.
At the finish line, the BikeFest will be a daylong celebration for riders and spectators alike.
There will be a vintage bike and fashion show at 1 p.m. inspired by Bernard Serrano and the Cyclone Coasters, featuring fashion from the 1920s-1990s. A vintage exhibit will take place all day. Live swing performances will serenade the celebration.
“Guests will be encouraged to hit the dance floor with their best swing moves,” Korinke said.
The Beachwood and Friends Craft Beer Garden is returning with a larger footprint. There will be about a dozen breweries with 20 craft beers to choose from — five-ounce souvenir glasses and $20 for 10 tastings. There will be a bike shop vendor village, free bike valet, face painting and bicycle safety classes aimed at families.
“The festival really serves two purposes: To be a celebration of the participants in the tour and the other is to celebrate our biking community here in Long Beach,” Korinke said.