“Part of the reason tried the Red Hook Crit was to fix what I found annoying
IJet Fuel Coffee. “Alley cats” was actually the term originally used to describe Englar and a group of fellow bike messengers who would explore downtown Toronto at night. The unsanctioned, urban race, which usually took place around Valentine’s Day and again at Halloween, took riders through several kilometres of downtown streets and had a renegade-like spontaneity. Organizers had to avoid the authorities. Announcements were sudden, and race maps were closely guarded until the last minute and featured key checkpoints that each racer had to pass as he or she raced through the busy urban streets. The events were also a way for those in an oft-maligned profession, bike couriers, to let off some steam by racing their likeminded colleagues. Nadir Olivet, a former bike messenger and the owner of La Carrera Cycles in Toronto, was a part of that early scene. As he explains it, the races always started or finished in an alley, and involved free stuff (because friends had some free stuff to give away) and beer. However, it wasn’t long before word spread and a lot of people started coming to Toronto from other countries to compete. “When it went mainstream, it became a monster,” says Olivet. Sponsors took notice, which took the organization of events to a whole new level. Olivet started as a competitor, but considers himself the second generation of organizers who helped expand the races and bring in sponsorship. He says Englar gave him the blessing to run some races and credits Red Bull and Nike with helping to facilitate the races that evolved far beyond what was originally created for a bunch of bike messengers.
David Trimble is decidedly not a bike messenger, but in 2008, he organized his own race – the first Red Hook Crit – to celebrate his birthday. Trimble was no stranger to bikes and cycling: his father and uncles made some of the first carbon-fibre bikes in the business. But Trimble had taken a detour into motorized wheels, first racing go-karts and then as a mechanic on Indy cars. He lived for a time in Houston, where one of his sisters got him into mountain biking. This led to mountain bike races in Texas. Soon, Trimble’s bike collection expanded. “At some point my car broke down and I didn’t want to buy another, so I bought a fixed-gear bike and started riding that around,” he says.
A move to the Red Hook neighbourhood of Brooklyn in 2006 cemented his shift to road riding because it was harder to race mountain bikes in