“Part of the rea­son tried the Red Hook Crit was to fix what I found an­noy­ing

Canadian Cycling Magazine - - FEATURE -

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

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