Arts & Entertainment

Tour of Somerville Celebrates 75 Years of World-Class Racing

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Cyclists on West High Street during the 2017 Tour of Somerville. Credits: Rod Hirsch/Tapinto file photo
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Cyclists lean into the turn from West Main Street on to North Bridge Street during the 2017 Tour of Somerville. Credits: Rod Hirsch/Tapinto file photo
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Cyclists set off on the 2017 Tour of Somerville on West Main Street. Credits: Courtesy Tour of Somerville
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Cyclists turn onto Mountain Avenue from West High Street during the 2017 Tour of Somerville. Credits: Rod Hirsch/Tapinto file photo
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Crossing the finish line at the 2017 Tour of Somerville. Credits: Rod Hirsch/Tapinto file photo
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SOMERVILLE, NJ – Memorial Day weekend will mark the 75th anniversary of the longest-running bike race in the country.  Since 1940, Memorial Day in Somerville, New Jersey has become synonymous with the Tour of Somerville. Dubbed the “Kentucky Derby of Cycling,” the classic attracts over 1,000 professional and amateur cyclists, (racing in 2 towns in 3 days) including Olympians and cyclists from around the world. 

The five-day event runs from Thursday, May 24, through Monday, May 28, and includes a parade, kids’ activities, music, entertainment, great food and athletic competition.  Spectators this year will see an additional day of racing beginning with the Bound Brook Criterium on Saturday, Sprint Races on Sunday, culminating with the Tour of Somerville on Monday.  Details for the anniversary event weekend are available on the web at www.tourofsomerville.org.

“It is not only a bike race, but a festival, a giant family reunion and more all rolled into one, while honoring American heroes on Memorial Day,” said Michael Malekoff, executive director for the Tour of Somerville.  “In 2017, a 501c3 was established with a specific mission to advance cycling, both racing and recreational, in the state of New Jersey.  Free admission encourages spectators to stroll the streets while enjoying the Tour and cheering cyclists as they speed by at 40 mph past Victorian homes and main street storefronts in the borough's downtown district,” added Malekoff.

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The event has had an impact on cycling in the state.  Beginning in 2018, cycling education and safety programs are being established within communities for schools, recreation departments and local families. Malekoff believes cycling safety programs for kids is an essential need, along with the physical health benefits of cycling as a recreational activity.  “We are fortunate the Tour is held here in the state of New Jersey and that Somerville has the distinction of hosting one of the most prestigious cycling events in America.  We need to capitalize on this distinction, by promoting the health benefits associated with cycling throughout the state,” added Malekoff.

Past races have drawn crowds in the tens of thousands and organizers expect those numbers to rise this year with the addition of Somerville Sprints on Sunday evening.  Sponsorships opportunities are available for the event and provide great exposure, marketing opportunities, and a chance for employees to participate at the Tour of Somerville. There is everything from a specific bike race to a “kid’s festival center,” sports demonstration exhibition, bike swap meet, live entertainment, and more.  

For more information contact Malekoff by email at mike@tourofsomerville.org or by phone (908)-884-1567.

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