Other NJ News

Oldest Bicycle Race in USA to be Broadcast Live Through Memorial Day Weekend

The Tour of Somerville Cycling Series will be broadcast around the world in real time. Credits: Alex Tinder
The 2017 Tour of Somerville Cycling Series will be broadcast around the world in real time. Credits: Alex Tinder

SOMERVILLE, NJ  - The Tour of Somerville, a tradition in bicycle racing started in 1940, will be broadcast live on Memorial Day. This is the first time in 74 years of international competition that the signature race will be seen around the world in real time on several platforms, including YouTube and Twitch.

Cameras will be positioned at strategic locations throughout the race course in downtown Somerville to capture all the action, bright colors, drama, strategy and pageantry of race day.

“There are a number of countries represented in the race including the Canadian women’s team that won last year. Also, team Guyana has had a number of countrymen attend the race to support their teamsaid Joe Saling, Tour of Somerville race announcer for 35 years and a former competitive cyclist who was a top performer in the Tour of Somerville. "For the first time people all around the United States and other countries will be able to watch this event live."

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The live stream of the oldest bicycle race in the United States will include Saling’s minute-by-minute race updates, announcements and historical anecdotes intertwined with live footage of the pack of cyclists speeding through the downtown course that begins on West Main Street before turning onto No. Bridge Street, West High Street, Mountain Avenue and back onto West Main Street.

This year’s Tour of Somerville Cycling Series has expanded to include three days of racing: the Bound Brook Criterium on Saturday, May 27 and the Raritan Criterium on Sunday, May 28 lead up to the Memorial Day races in Somerville. Footage from Bound Brook and Raritan will be included in the live broadcast.

“This is a fantastic countywide celebration with these three neighboring communities coming together to honor Memorial Day,” said Somerville Mayor Brian Gallagher.

Monday is the Tour of Somerville, with several exhibition and junior races leading up to the Kugler-Anderson Memorial, which honors the first two winners, Furman Kugler (1940) and Carl Anderson (1941), both of whom were killed serving their country in World War II.

Tens of thousands of people from all over the nation and the world converge on the tree-lined streets of Somerville on Memorial Day to cheer the cyclists as they speed up to 40 MPH past Victorian-era homes and Main Street storefronts downtown.

Additional race-day coverage, including interviews with competitors, spectators and race organizers and features on the front-yard and curbside parties along the race route will be included in the stream.

The broadcast will also feature footage from the Somerville Memorial Day Parade, which precedes the race activities, ending with ceremonies at the historic “New Cemetery” on South Bridge Street, which is commemorating 150 years of compassionate service in 2017. More than 2,000 veterans from as far back as the Civil War are buried at the New Cemetery. 

The race weekend schedule begins Thursday evening, May 25 with The Legal Runaround, a 5K walk-run event in downtown Somerville.

The Tour of Somerville Cycling Series is a community event: a series of bike races, a festival, a carnival and a giant family reunion rolled into one, honoring American heroes on Memorial Day.

There will be live entertainment on Division Street, a kids’ zone with rides, face painting and other activities at the Unity Bank branch on Mountain Avenue and an interactive bicycle sculpture celebrating the Tour of Somerville on Division Street.

The events are free and made possible through the support of individuals and companies. Race sponsors will be represented throughout the live stream. 

To become a sponsor and be part of the live stream broadcast, access the website online at tourofsomerville.org/live-stream.html

For race weekend details, visit www.tourofsomerville.org.

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