A week-long cycling festival starts with the the first Mountaintop Trail Rally and culminates with the 8th annual 2017 Tour de Big Bear on Saturday, August 5, voted Southern California’s favorite ride.
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 29-August 6, 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 Trail Rally at Snow Summit on July 29 kicks off a week of two-wheel fun. There’s mountain bike race and ride, Olympian Ryan Hall’s vertical mile running challenge and casual hike.
Tour de Big Bear of course on August 5 is the main event.. Last year was the seventh consecutive sellout attracting over 1,700 riders, and for good reason. Each distance is staffed with course marshalls, the nutrition/hydration aid stations are legendary, plus first aid attendants, rider safety and repair vehicles.
Excellent signage and law enforcement at major intersections assures safety and cash and prizes are awarded 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.
If that’s not enough there’s the HC Gran Fondo, a 125-mile ride—all at altitude—with 12,000 feet as it climbs Onyx Summit twice and heads out past Snow Valley to Green Valley Lake and back. It’s a pro peloton challenge that tasks even the best riders…but free beer at the finish is worth it!
All Tour de Big Bear 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. The famous aid stations are worth the price of admission themselves, offering delicacies like ribs, fruit, smoothies and much more.
Other tour events include the Friday poker ride and bicycle concours. Rounding out the weekend is the free organized recovery ride and time trial on Sunday, Aug. 6.
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 has a long history of hosting top tier cycling events, including three Amgen Tour of California Stages (would have been four if snow hadn’t forced one to be moved), NORBA National Mountain Bike Championships, World Cups and more. It offers some of the finest cycling in California for riders who escape the summer heat to cruise alpine roadways and trails. Big Bear Cycling has guided and organized rides Saturday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday during the riding season, April through October. Visit www.tourdebigbear.com and www.bigbearcycling.com.