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Turlock Council approves downtown bike race

Downtown business owners, race director come to agreement on logistics

POSTED June 23, 2015 8:31 p.m.

Downtown Turlock will officially play host to the first annual Turlock Criterium bike Race on Aug. 8 after the Turlock City Council unanimously passed the item on Tuesday.

“A few of us in the local cycling community have been talking about this for a while,” said Event Director Mitch Boehs earlier this month. “It’s something we’d like to do for the community, the city of Turlock, and local cyclists.”

The criterium race, which is similar to a grand prix in that cyclists perform several laps on a smaller course, will allow locals to witness the talent of licensed USA cycling athletes. However, the first time event will close down several downtown streets, one component that had many business owners vocalizing concerns at the June 9 meeting.

The event will take place from 1 p.m. to 8:15 p.m., prime hours on Saturday for many boutiques and restaurants. In a petition it states that several businesses attempted to discuss changing the time, date, or location of the race, but those concerns were not addressed by Boehs. These businesses, including  Vintage Lounge and Piano Bar, Memo’s Cocina, Minerva’s Furniture, and Red Brick Bar and Grill , retained an attorney before the council on June 9  to articulate their concerns evidenced by the petition they  signed that states they “feel this event will not be something that enhances their normal business.” 

Local attorney Mike Warda stated that ultimately the businesses are not against the race itself, but that it was asking a lot of the downtown shops to close the streets for such a significant length of time that as it would certainly impact business.

“I think it’s unfair to ask the local businesses to share in that risk when the likelihood of reward particularly for the first two or three years is probably going to be very low,” explained Warda on June 9.

Business owners themselves took to the podium to request an alternative plan that would not disrupt the natural flow of business with patrons, customers, employees and bands that come and go to shops and bars. However, the number of people vocalizing concerns was matched by people in the community in favor of the event.

“Twilight criteriums are a great way for the community to come out in the evenings… it really promotes a sense of community and I think the event got started with that,” said Titus Striplin, former pro cyclist and managing partner of 10 East Kitchen & Tap House.

On June 9 Warda and Beohs were granted two weeks to come to an agreement, which was unanimously approved by the council on Tuesday. The date and time will remain the same, however, Boehs has been charged with working out logistical issues with the businesses to ensure that their routine needs are met.

The Turlock Criterium Bike Rice will take place from 1 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. Aug. 8. It is a free event and open to the public. While the races are predominantly reserved for professional cyclists, there will be a kid’s race as well. A portion of the proceeds will go towards Bikes for Kids and those interested in contributing to the event can call Boehs at 756-2140.

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