The Fastest One Mile on Two Wheels

The Chicago Criterium -- a 1.1-mile bike race around Grant Park -- sets off

Courtesy of the Chicago Criterium

If the interminable Tour de France has left you yawning, head to Buckingham Fountain this Sunday, July 26 for some high-speed biking action. The Chicago Criterium, a break-neck 1.1-mile bicycle race that takes riders down breathtaking straightaways and hairpin turns around Grant Park, kicks off at 7AM.

Criterium refers to a cycling race held on a closed circuit loop course approximately 1.1 miles in length. Chicago's version begins on Columbus Drive, heads north to East Jackson Boulevard, south on Michigan Avenue, east on Balbo Drive, then back to Columbus. The course offers up more tight left turns than a ride at Six Flags and more fun for spectators than a lot of other sporting activities (golf, we're looking at you). The second annual Chicago Criterium was recently named the number one race of its kind in the nation by USA Cycling, the national governing body for the sport.

There will be entertainment, vendors and Jumbotrons to watch the Criterium as it happens set up in Grant Park throughout the day, and kids can get in on the racing fun with a Big Wheel Race taking place at 2PM. The children's event is B.Y.O.B.W. (Bring Your Own Big Wheel), or one can be provided. Each competitor will receive a helmet, T-shirt and medal.

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