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At the Red Hook Crit, It’s Anyone’s Race

Cyclists of all stripes come together in Brooklyn for backstreet racing and good times

By Ian Landau

March 23, 2011

STROLL ALONG THE WATERFRONT in the Red Hook neighborhood of Brooklyn on a cool March night and you might feel you’ve been transported onto the set of Gangs of New York. Hulking Civil War-era warehouses loom over you. Old piers jut into the darkness of New York Harbor. There’s little or no foot traffic. There are no cabs.

But come Saturday, nearly a hundred cyclists will line up in this very place at the unlikely hour of 11 p.m. to take part in what is possibly the country’s coolest bike race.

The Red Hook Criterium pits messengers, trackies, roadies, and fixie fanatics against one another to vie for some sweet prizes, like custom Giro helmets, jerseys from Rapha, and every racer’s favorite, stacks of cash.

Participants will complete 20 laps of a challenging three-quarter-mile course replete with cobblestones, potholes, a tricky chicane, and hundreds of loud-mouthed heckl…

Red Hook Crit - A Race Like No Other

by Graham White

While most people nowadays are content using their fixed gear bikes to cruise around the city taking in the sights, there exists an ever growing population of urban athletes taking their race ready track bikes from the wooden boards of the velodrome to the streets to compete in fixed gear criteriums. A mash-up of bike messenger style alleycat races and traditional road racing criteriums these races are high on adrenaline and low on rules. One gear, no brakes, furious racing all in a compact urban setting that’s an incredible buzz to watch. In this arena bike messengers race wheel to wheel with pro racers to find out who has the skills and speed to come out on top.

The most high profile of these races is the Red Hook Crit, which now boasts a series of races that take place throughout the year in Brooklyn, Milan and Barcelona. What started as an illegal, non-serious birthday race for race director David Trimble in 2008, has morphed into an internationally recognised even…

A Brooklyn Bike Race Worthy of James Dean

March 30, 2009
A Brooklyn Bike Race Worthy of James Dean

The old cobblestones on the Red Hook waterfront in Brooklyn have felt the weight of many kinds of vehicles, from wagons to tractor trailers to the snazzy cars and S.U.V.’s of the neighborhood’s newer residents. But as a soft drizzle fell on Saturday night, the stones felt something new — a clandestine bicycle race.

From shortly after 11 p.m. until nearly midnight, about two dozen cyclists hurtled over the bumps and around the tight turns of several blocks near the East River while spectators cheered from sidewalks.

The race, called the Red Hook Criterium, was organized by David August Trimble to celebrate his 26th birthday, which had been a few days earlier. Among the participants were art dealers, bike messengers, graduate students and at least one man who said he was happily unemployed. All were riding track bikes — fixed gear bicycles fit with narrow tires and aerodynamic frames for racing. And no brakes.


5 Minutes with David Trimble

If the name Trimble sounds familiar, it should. The Trimble Aero TT Bike was among the most radical frame designs in the early 1980s. Designers James and Brent Trimble were on the cutting edge of carbon bike design and early aero frames such as the Kestrel 4000 and GT superbikes used by the United States Olympic team in 1996 and 2000. Twenty-seven year old David Trimble is now making his own mark in cycling through grassroots race organization. Trimbles Red Hook Criterium will enter its fourth year in Brooklyn, New York, combining track bikes (fixed gear; no brakes), night racing, and the off-the-beaten-path energy of the Red Hook neighborhood. An art exhibit and after-party complete the Red Hook Crit package, set to run this year on March 26.
Coming from a bike-building family, have you been riding and racing your whole life?
Actually, no. I started go-kart racing at age 12 and raced professionally for several years. I was wheel-to-…