FORT LEE, N.J. -- Onlookers can catch high-speed action this Sunday, Sept. 13, with during the 10th annual “Tour de Fort Lee” to raise money for educational programs, equipment and scholarships.
More than 300 bikers and several hundred spectators are expected to line a rectangular, cordoned-off stretch of Abbott Boulevard, River Dale Drive, Oleri Terrace and Forest Avenue.
The event is presented by Bergen Velodrome and Cycling Center and is sponsored by Strictly Bicycles, a 21-year-old borough business, along with Benzel-Busch Motor Car Corporation.
Deputy Police Chief Tim Ford, who's also president of the Fort Lee Education Foundation, launched the event while trying to rekindle a family bike ride.
He visited a criterion in Rockleigh and got pointers from David Reynolds Russell at Bergen Velodrome and Cycling Center, who founded two bicycle clubs of his own.
The result was a popular, full-on event fit for all categories of professional riders.
“Cycling is one of the most popular sports elsewhere, but for a long time it hadn’t caught on in America,” said Russell, who formerly raced and now teaches at Ramapo High School and Ramapo College.
Now, he said, “there are over 50,000 cyclists – people that make an effort to get racing licenses.”
Online registration closes at noon on Saturday.
Cyclists should begin meeting at the Abbott Boulevard and Tremont Avenue table as early as 6:30 a.m., organizers said.
Juniors will begin a series of races around the 0.88-mile track followed by senior athletes.
Men and women in three age categories and with USAC licenses will whiz by spectators, many in beach chairs.
New this year is a fat-tire mountain bike race, open to non-USAC licensed riders only. For $20, they can participate in their own amateur level citizens' race.
“Having the race is great. It’s a unique event," Ford said. "I don’t know any other town in the surrounding area that has a criterion bike race like this, and it all helps needy Fort Lee students.”
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