red hook criterium milano: gearing up for a bicycle race in italy — with a brooklyn accent

On October 15 at 10:30 p.m. the still streets of Bovisa, an industrial district of Milan, Italy will pulse to life with a uniquely New York City-style bicycle race. The Red Hook Criterium Milano, a European off-shoot of the increasingly popular Brooklyn race, fields competitors who ride fixed-gear bikes without brakes for 18 laps around a short, technical course at speeds averaging 26 miles per hour. Like all criterium races, this one requires superior bike handling skills, power and tactics to achieve victory.

In this second edition of the Red Hook Criterium Milano, is pleased to partner with Trimble Racing to sponsor Neil Bezdek, a New York City-grown pro racer and cycling advocate. Bezdek (below), who worked as a New York City bicycle messenger after college and then advanced through the Century Road Club Association ranks to a pro contract, won the Red Hook Criterium in Brooklyn in 2009 and finished second in Milan (2010) and Brooklyn (2011).

Neil Bezdek
photo: eloy anzola

I met Bezdek through the advocacy organization Transportation Alternatives, where he was a regular volunteer. And I learned about Red Hook at this year’s Bicycle Film Festival premier of Racing Towards Red Hook, an account of the 2011 race, in which sparks literally flew at the dramatic finish.

Learn more about the race from Neil in this video that captures the spirit of last year’s Milan event:

RHC MILANO from Pietro Malegori on Vimeo.

The Red Hook Criterium, created by promoter David Trimble, is firmly rooted on the streets of New York City. With this city’s fixed-gear cycling culture the envy of the world, Trimble is, with the Milan event, exporting an authentic experience that occupies a unique position between underground racing and sanctioned road cycling. It attracts a diverse field, including pro and semi-pro cyclists, track racers, bike messengers and urban cyclists. Recently, Trimble told the New York Post, “I wanted to create this race to mix the different communities.”

Cross-over is even broader this year as a running race — same course, different time — has been added to the Milan event. Trimble also confers a cultural twist on his races. Last week’s race registration, for example, took place in an art gallery, where a photography exhibit was on view.

Bezdek, who writes the monthly blog “Rambling Man” for Bicycling Magazine about his life on the road as a pro cyclist, will become an occasional contributor to He’ll be shedding his racing kit to share strategies for safely and confidently navigating the city streets.

In the mean time, we’ll be receiving some dispatches from Milan. Ciao Neil, and good luck!

Velojoy is pleased to  partner with Signature Cycles, a premiere NYC retailer and custom fit studio, in providing Bezdek’s custom racing kit.

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