Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Like NASCAR without the fumes and the noise

One of our favorite summer rites commences tomorrow: the Nature Valley Grand Prix. It's a five-day bike festival featuring pro bike racing on the streets of downtown Minneapolis and St. Paul. (There are also stages in Stillwater, Mankato, and Cannon Falls).

Tomorrow's opening stage is a newly added criterium in the Capitol City. Criterium racing is fan friendly, because it's conducted in a small circular course. That means rather than just passing you by in a single flurry of particolored lycra, the racers keep coming back, for more than an hour.

The most important implication being that you can find a comfortable watering hole to sit at and drink a nice glass of wine or a cold mug of beer, and enjoy the festivities of a fine summer evening. For Minneapolis's Friday night hoopla--the peak of the excitement--we highly recommend a curbside position like Brit's Pub or The Local, where you could literally pass a beer over the barriers to the peloton (but you might lose your arm).

Great River Energy Bicycle Festival/Nature Valley Grand Prix, http://www.minnbikefestival.com/