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Bike race runs through village

HAMBURG — More than 200 bicyclists will spin into the village on June 7 and 8 for the annual Hamburg Bike Race, and chairperson Greg Wichlacz said resident safety is his top priority. The racing cyclists can reach speeds of up to 45 mph, and he said he wants everyone to stay safe and have fun, both participants and spectators.

The race will take on the Boston hills on June 7, on a 14.2-mile course that cyclists will trek three or four times, depending on their heat. That race will tackle such hills as Feddick Road, Taylor Road and Haag Road, getting the leg muscles pumping through altitutdes the village course lacks.

That same day, at 10 a.m.-12 p.m., a police auction will be held at the Hamburg village police station, to auction off bicycles and other evidence that has been collected by the department.

“A lot of times, bikes get stolen, discarded or found and if no one comes and claims them, after a certain amount of time, they can sell them off,” Wichlacz explained. “It’s a great way to support the police department, if you’re in the market for a new bike.” He noted that other evidence, such as tools and speakers may be available, as well.

On Sunday, the bike race will take to the village streets, starting with a kids’ lap at 1 p.m., sponsored by the Character Council. Marshals will be stationed on street corners, to help residents cross safely.

“These bikes go fast,” Wichlacz explained. “And you can’t get out of the way in time. You could hurt yourself, and hurt the cyclist. It’s not like a car. We’re asking that people be really vigilant about traffic.”

The event is sanctioned by the United States Cycling Association, and brings racers from all over the country. In past years, cyclists have come from as far away as Rhode Island, Maine, north of Toronto, Michigan, Vermont and elsewhere.

“It’s a pretty hot race,” the organizer said. “We encourage people to come down, have an ice cream cone, have a drink at a local bar, maybe grab some lunch or dinner and watch the race. It gets people out in the village, gets people out in the community.”

Wichlacz said the event is a family-friendly race which does not serve alcohol or tolerate crude behavior. Last year, a racer got into an altercation with another cyclist during the race, according to Wichlacz.

“He was dropping f-bombs all over the place,” he said. “He was black-flagged immediately and pulled out of the race. That man was given the opportunity to apologize to the mayor and the village board, in public, but he apparently chose not to do so. He won’t be allowed to race, this year. We don’t tolerate that kind of behavior.”

The race will run until 8 p.m., after which organizers said many racers take to local restaurants to grab a bite and explore the area, before heading home. Wichlacz also cautioned residents to watch for more cyclists than usual, all weekend long.

“Keep an eye out for bikes on side streets, throughout the village,” he said. “They can be harder to see, so just drive extra-carefully, come out, watch the race and most of all, enjoy what our village has to offer.”

Organizers said the race will start at 1 p.m. to allow churchgoers, particularly from the nearby Baptist church, which is directly on the route, to get home from the services before roadways are closed or routes redirected.

“We want this to be a fun thing,” Wichlacz said. “And we don’t want to inconvenience people more than we have to, which is why we decided on the timing.”

The race will kick off on Sunday, June 8, with a children’s race at 1 p.m., in which kids will take one lap around the course. After that, the official race will begin and local motorists and pedestrians are urged to use caution and obey traffic marshals who will be stationed at closed roads and crossways, to advise residents and travelers. Local restaurants and shops along the route will remain open, according to their regular schedules.


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