4th of July Celebration Duals with Annual Bike Criterium in Northfield

NFLD Bike Criterium_ Photo by Paul Hartley.jpg

Celebrate Independence Day and take in the rush of adrenalin as cyclists speedily maneuver through the streets to compete in the popular 4th of July Bike Criterium held in Northfield each year. Racing begins at 9:00 a.m. with the final race of the day starting at 4:30 p.m. A kids’ parade follows with a carnival offering fun games, face paintings, and prizes for children. A firework show will be held at the Middle School grounds starting at nights’ fall.

In its 13th year, the 4th of July Bike Criterium has built momentum. Ben Witt, organizer of the event, says the criterium “draws some of the best amateur bicyclists from around the state and beyond.” It is a great spectator sport and attracts even some top contenders and semi-professional racers to downtown Northfield.

Northfield’s Bike Criterium consists of timed events ranging in length from 15 to 70 minutes using a series of laps. Races are divided by age, gender, ability levels and different combinations thereof.

“The layout of the town and the course makes it exciting,” said Witt. The hills can be quite steep in places and it’s a challenging course to ride around well. It is regarded as one of the better criteriums in the state for that reason.”

Northfield is becoming known as a destination for bicycling. Cycling groups enjoy weekly rides on favorite routes around Northfield’s scenic countryside, and Northfield is actively pursuing the goal of a city-wide network of connected trails and on-street routes for commuters, leisure and family recreation. Bike racks have been installed at key locations throughout the historic downtown’s commercial district, as well as bike repair stations. There is also a project underway to create an extended trail system between Northfield and Dundas, and the Mill Towns Trail that will connect Northfield to Cannon Falls and Red Wing to the east, and to Faribault and Mankato to the south and west.
 
“We are working to make Northfield a premier bike-friendly city, a regional hub for recreational cycling in Southern Minnesota and a northern-most base camp for the Southeastern Minnesota Association Regional Trail (SMART) system,” says Suzie Nakasian, the Northfield City Council's representative on the city’s Convention and Visitor’s Bureau.
 
The annual 4th of July Bike Criterium and the Jesse James Bike Tour add their own powerful spin to established community events, drawing both in-town and out-of-town spectators and participants.
 
For more complete information, check the following websites:
•   visitingnorthfield.com for events and attractions in the Northfield area, plus travel packages and itineraries for an extended stay
•   www.northfieldcrit.blogspot.com at milltowncycles.com for more information on the Criterium.
•   http://go.northfield.org/ for Northfield bike trails and maps
 
The Convention and Visitors Bureau is a division of the Northfield Area Chamber of Commerce. Find “Visiting Northfield, MN” on Facebook and follow “NorthfieldCVB” on Twitter.
 
Schedule for the 4th of July in Northfield:
Bike races: 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. in downtown Northfield
Carnival: 5:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. by the downtown post office/ Sesquicentennial Legacy Plaza(sponsored by St. Dominic Church)
Kiddie parade: 6:00 p.m. (line up by Econofoods, leads to carnival)
Fireworks show (between the Middle School and Bridgewater Elementary) approx. 10:00 p.m.