20- to 25-mile bike race in the works in Bartlett
Bartlett officials appear excited about early plans for the Kickstand Classic, an event that some say would put the village on the bike-racing map.
Final plans are still in the works for the 20- to 25-mile race, spearheaded by the Active Transportation Alliance, a group that encourages biking, walking and transit while promoting safety.
"Cycling is really growing, and we know that bike racing is for the most part limited to elite cyclists," Active Transportation Alliance Executive Director Ron Burke said at last week's village board meeting. "No one's really done this before; it's good in that we're on the forefront here."
The group asked several suburbs to host the race, but no community was as "enthusiastic" and as "good to work with" as Bartlett, Burke said.
"We think it's going to be an event that brings a lot of people to Bartlett who have not been here before," Burke added.
A registration cap for the race, tentatively planned for Sunday, Sept. 25, remains unclear.
"It will be probably in that 2,000 to 3,000 range is kind of our preliminary estimate," Burke said. "We're still trying to calculate what the max is."
According to the initial plans, Bartlett and Active Transportation Alliance would split the cost of the race, estimated at $33,390.
The race route remains in the works, but bikers would likely start downtown outside village hall, head south on Bartlett Road, then east on Stearns Road, north on Newport Boulevard and back on Devon Ave. Or the route could be reversed.
Staff is also considering a route that turns north on Chippendale Drive rather than Newport to ensure members of the Alliance Bible Church have access to Sunday services.
Police Chief Kent Williams says the department is ready to handle the event.
"It'll be a fun, exciting challenge, and we're confident we'll pull it off," Williams said.
Burke says bicyclists would be chip-timed while completing four or five of the 4.1- or 4.8-mile loops before being greeted with a festival at the end.
Village President Kevin Wallace says the festival is the key to drawing people back to the event in the future.
"You always go back if they feed you well at the end and the party's fun at the end," Wallace said. "That is the key to these types of deals."