What’s New at the North Star Bicycle Festival?

In its 17th year, the North Star Bicycle Festival and Grand Prix expands its schedule with many fun and exciting spectator attractions and amateur racing opportunities. Presented by North Memorial Health Care and PreferredOne, the event is set for next week, June 17-21, 2015, offering many new, family-friendly activities and exciting spectator events to come out and watch or participate in.

A little friendly chatter before the race. photo Stephanie Williams

A little friendly chatter before the race with “Fast Freddie” whiile the fans look on. photo Stephanie Williams

So what’s new, fun and free to see, you ask?

According to David LaPorte, the festival’s executive director, “It will be the last chance for fans to see “Fast Freddie” Rodriguez, one of the true cycling legends of our time. They will also see Minnesota’s own Greg LeMond, a 3-time Tour de France winner, who will lead the Greg LeMond CEO Ride for Kids Friday evening in Uptown to build awareness of our new charitable partner, Special Olympics Minnesota. Families with kids will enjoy the new RBC Kids’ Zone, sponsored by RBC Wealth Management, and local amateurs will be able to compete in the North Star Bicycle Festival Omnium for the first time.” Here is a more detailed rundown:

Last Chance to See “Fast Freddie

Four-time U.S. Champion, Team Jelly Belly's "Fast Freddie" Rodriguez, on last year's podium. photo Stephanie Williams

Four-time U.S. Champion, Team Jelly Belly’s “Fast Freddie” Rodriguez, on last year’s podium. photo Stephanie Williams

For fans familiar with the amazing career and lightning speed of Team Jelly Belly’s “Fast Freddie” Rodriguez, this will be the last chance to see him compete, as the four-time U.S. Champion is retiring after the 2015 season. Team Optum will return with three past Grand Prix Champions, 2014 Champion Ryan Anderson, 2012 Champion Tom Zirbel and 2011 Champion Jesse Anthony.

Plus, Greg LeMond CEO Ride for Kids

Three-time Tour de France winner and World Champion Greg LeMond will lead local executives in supporting Special Olympics Minnesota by participating in the Greg LeMond CEO Ride for Kids, a new addition to the Uptown Minneapolis Criterium. The event will take place Friday, June 19 before the men’s race. LeMond and the executives will ride one lap of the race route, accompanied by several Special Olympians. Proceeds from this event will support  the Festival’s programming for children and Special Olympics Minnesota, while building awareness of our new benefiting charity.

RBC Wealth Management Kids’ Zone

A new Kids’ Zone, sponsored by RBC Wealth Management, will be featured at the Uptown Minneapolis Criterium and the Stillwater Criterium. The Kids’ Zone will consist of stunt rider shows, Kids’ Fun Race, cycling clinics, slalom courses, kid-friendly activities such as contests and face painting and treats. The Uptown stage will feature a bike rodeo that includes figure eight runs, start and stop drills and a “chaos box” where kids practice rules of the road under the guidance of the Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota. Children who are entered in the Kids’ Fun Race and are sporting a bib can participate in cycling activities within the Kids’ Zone. Any child may participate in the non-cycling activities.

Life Time Fitness Hillfest

The festival is partnering with Life Time Fitness by kicking off the 2015 events with its challenging Hillfest recreational ride out of Prescott, WI on Saturday, June 13. Riders on road bikes, cross bikes and mountain bikes will tackle up to 4,000 ft. of elevation gain on the 100-mile course. Routes of 60-miles and 30-miles are also offered. Those with young children can opt for a 15-mile family course, where kids 12 and under ride free with a registered adult.

Plus, the Saint Paul Criterium Returns to Lowertown 

From 2007-2009 the Downtown Saint Paul Criterium was held in the trendy Lowertown neighborhood. It was moved to the Rice Park area in 2010 to make way for the construction of the Green Line Light Rail. With the Green Line now open, the Downtown Saint Paul Criterium returns to Lowertown, and this event will be better than ever. The Green Line is bringing people to the Union Depot terminus, the Saint Paul Saints are playing in their new CHS Field and many new restaurants and pubs have appeared. Lowertown is a very happening place and we are thrilled to be back.

It all starts June 17th in St Paul

The Festival and pro stage race starts Wednesday, June 17th with a morning time trial route along Sant Paul’s Mississippi River Blvd, and a new evening criterium route in Lowertown surrounding downtown’s Mears Park. It continues with a road race in and around Cannon Falls on June 18, followed by a evening criterium in the Uptown neighborhood of Minneapolis on Friday, June 19. Cycling teams travel east to Menomonie, Wisc. on Saturday, June 20 for the Menomonie Road Race. The race culminates on Sunday, June 21 with the Stillwater Criterium, which includes a brutal 24-percent grade climb up Chilkoot Hill, the most difficult climb in North American racing. For more information on all the fun and schedule of events, visit: www.northstarbicyclefestival.com.

About the North Star Bicycle Festival

Now in its 17th year, the North Star Bicycle Festival presented by North Memorial Health Care and PreferredOne is celebration of bicycling that includes amateur and professional racing and community events. The North Star Grand Prix has become the premier professional bike race on the USA Cycling National Racing Calendar, attracting top American and International racing teams from around the world. Spectators can watch the races for free. Proceeds from the festival to go Special Olympics Minnesota. For event schedules visit

Source: www.northstarbicyclefestival.com