In between there’s free group rides, night mountain bike ride, Cyclefest youth event, bike biathlon, poker and recovery rides, bicycle concours, time trials and much more. It’s all part of Big Bear Cycling Festival—first event of its kind in the country—with seven days of rides and events for both mountain and road cyclists July 30-August 7, showcasing Big Bear Lake as the cycling capital of Southern California and a chance for serious riders to acclimate to mountain elevation.
The festival is not just for hardcores, though the showcase events will task even the best riders. There’s family and children’s rides all week long and two-day weekend cycling expo in the Village on Friday and Saturday with 40-plus vendors, live entertainment and New Belgium Fat Tire Beer Garden.
The festival opens with the 3rd annual Big Bear Grizzly 100.MTB Gran Fondo on July 30 (story page 5). Grizzly 100 attracts bikers from around the world with some of the most challenging single-track, double-track, and fire road climbs and descents. The Radford Climb has earned a reputation as one of the most feared five-milers in the Southland.
The event includes the 100k National Ultra Endurance Century Challenge and the 70K Marathon Challenge and the increased $7,500 cash purse attracts the best. MTB Gran Fondo with sport rides of 20/30/50K round out the day’s events. 2016 also sees the Ride to Recovery Century Challenge, a veterans program helping save lives by restoring hope and purpose.
Tour de Big Bear returns August 6 as one of the Southland’s premier cycling events. Last year was the sixth consecutive sellout attracting over 1,700 riders, and for good reason. Each distance is staffed with course marshalls, legendary nutrition/hydration aid stations, first aid attendants, and rider safety and repair vehicles.
Excellent signage and law enforcement at major intersections assures safety and cash and prizes are award to first, second and third place finishers in the 70 and 100 mile routes. Cyclists cruise alpine roadways and trails around Big Bear and Baldwin Lakes and over Onyx Summit’s 8,443 elevation.
Four rides comprise the event with varying distances and climbing, ranging from a couple hours to all-day adventures. Tour de Big Bear proper is a 25-mile route with 1,300 feet of climbing and it’s the easiest! Big Bear Valley Tour is double the distance at 50 miles and sports over 3,000 feet of climbing. Then there’s the Grand Tour at 70 miles and 4,800 feet of climbing. At 100 miles The Climb sports 7,425 feet of climbing including ascending Onyx Summit…twice! It’s a timed event for training purposes.
Returning is the popular King/Queen of the Mountain race segment with cash and prizes awarded along with HC racing component. All registered riders receive a goodie bag, custom-made finishers medal and high performance technical shirt along with complimentary bike valet so they can enjoy the expo and raffle without worry. Plus free entry into the Fat Tire Beer Garden and live entertainment on Saturday.
Rounding out the weekend is the free organized recovery ride and competitive time trial on Sunday, Aug. 7. With first aid, repair mechanics, SAG repair vehicles, course marshals and emergency radio personnel at all aid stations and on the courses, Big Bear Cycling produces a professional event that draws riders from around the Southland including top teams.
Big Bear Lake offers some of the finest cycling in California for riders who escape the summer heat to cruise alpine roadways and trails.It’s a cycling-friendly city with recently-marked designated routes through neighborhoods and by the lake, and bicycle racks outside shops in The Village. Big Bear Cycling Association has guided and organized rides Saturday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday during the riding season, April through October. Visit www.tourdebigbear.com and www.bigbearcyclingfestival.com.