There still may be snow on the ground but many in Birmingham are already thinking summer, as the Birmingham Bike Festival gears up for its third year.
The one-day festival featuring dozens of bike races for all ages and skill levels is set for Aug. 25 this year in downtown Birmingham.
In addition, this is a big year for the festival as it prepares to host the 2013 and 2014 Michigan State Criterium Championship for men.
"Not only does being awarded host (of the Criterium) speak to the level of professionalism our event has achieved with the first two festivals, but it's going to attract a lot of riders," said Jeffrey Surnow, a Birmingham businessman and the festival's founder and director.
The Michigan State Criterium Championship is a one-day race open to any Michigan resident. Commonly referred to as a "crit," a criterium is a short- multi-lap, closed circuit cycling race traditionally held in an urban setting. The winner is the first to finish wihout having been lapped.
Cities around Michigan are granted the privileging of hosting the race for two-year stints if they exhibit a "strong dedication to promoting cycling," a release from the Birmingham Bike Festival says.
This is the third year for the Birmingham-based festival, created in 2011 to celebrate cycling culture and healthy living.
"I really want to encourage people to get on bikes, enjoy the fresh air, and engage in healthy lifestyle activities ... everyone is welcome," Surnow said.
Like in previous years, there will be six distinct championship races for juniors, women, professional and amateur riders. Cash purses will be awarded to the top three finishers of most races.
Last year, more than 240 cyclists participated in the festival, which featured a special Miles4Miles race, a parade-style ride that raised money for the Miles Levin Miracle Fund at Beaumont Children's Hospital, in honor of a Cranbrook student who passed away from cancer in 2007.
The 2013 Birmingham Bike Festival begins at 11 a.m. Aug. 25. Several community, sponsor and charity booths will set up in Shain Park, while local merchants will be on hand selling food and drinks, as well as bike gear. For the third year in a row, festival organizers will host a free bike valet.
For a closer look at the Birmingham Bike Festival
- Birmingham Bike Festival Celebrates Its Second Year
- Viewfinder: Inaugural Birmingham Bike Festival a Big Success