Professional and amateur cyclists gear up for a big bike race in Vancouver today (June 30).
The Tour de Concord Vancouver Family Bike Festival and Criterium Cycling Race runs from 3:30 PM to 9:00 PM on the north shore of False Creek.
“It’s going to be the biggest bike festival of the summer,” Concord Pacific event director Jaime Williams told the Straight ahead in an interview. “We will have over 20 bike-related vendors, plus a dozen food vendors, a huge beer garden, a DJ, and then a real-life series of races.”
It starts with youth amateur competitions and culminates in the professional men’s and women’s series.
“It’s an 800-meter course where racers will loop,” Williams explained. “It goes through Concord Pacific Place and then along Pacific [Boulevard] all the way to the front of the Plaza of Nations,” she said.
Part of Pacific Boulevard will be closed before the race to allow the public to get a good look at the game. There will also be demonstrations of different types of cycling and a hop-on obstacle course for children.
The Vancouver-based InstaFund Women’s Professional Cycling Team will compete in the race. One of the members, Isabella Bertold, told the Straight ahead that it is very exciting for her to ride a criterium in front of an audience from her hometown for the first time in a few years.
“We are probably the most successful team in North America racing this style of racing,” she said. “We haven’t missed a podium yet and are often on the top step. So we’re really looking forward to this.”
Cycling enthusiasts wishing to meet Bertold and other members of the InstaFund team can do so by visiting their booth from 5-7pm before the race.
“Please come down and say hello to my teammates and learn more about the team and cycling in general,” said Bertold.
Food vendors Narihiro Sato and Yuri Yamaki told the Straight ahead that they are also excited about a criterium being held in downtown Vancouver.
“We serve authentic Japanese food,” Sato promised.
Concord’s marketing tied to bicycles
The Straight ahead Williams asked why a major development company like Concord Pacific decided to host this event, which is free to the public.
“It’s really part of our corporate mandate,” she replied. “We build homes for people who really live in the most bicycle-friendly place.
“So we provide amenities that support a cyclist’s lifestyle, whether you’re a commuter for work, an athlete or just for family activities,” continues Williams. “We provide a gear room and storage space. Our lifts are equipped to take bicycles with their own exit for people who ride the bicycle.”
Not only that, but she said Vancouver has a spectacular sea wall.
“So we’re helping to support that lifestyle of getting out and cycling.”