“Out and About” in Winston-Salem with the W-S Cycling Classic

On Memorial Day weekend, Winston-Salem was the center of the biking world. Professional cyclists from around the globe converged on our city for the 6th-annual Winston-Salem Cycling Classic Race, one of the country’s most prestigious professional cycling events.  The Classic has become an annual tradition in Winston-Salem, drawing thousands of fans to the festivities downtown and throughout the neighborhoods of Winston-Salem.  The weather forecast of significant rains did not dampen the spirits of participants or attendees.  There were Criterium races on Saturday; the 58-Mile Gran Fondo and 31-Mile Gran Fundo races, sponsored by Flow BMW, on Sunday; the road races on Monday; and numerous family-friendly activities throughout the weekend, such as the Gears and Guitars concerts (“The Biggest Party on Two Wheels!”) and the Crumley Roberts Kid Zone.

On Monday the road race course wound out of downtown and into the neighborhoods of Winston-Salem.  First came the Winston-Salem Police Department vehicles to make sure the course is clear, followed by the WSPD Motorcycle Police, leading the peloton of bicyclists and the film crew riding beside the peloton, comprised of dozens of racers.  Then came the chase cars for every team. loaded with extra bicycle equipment and painted with the sponsors’ logos.  Finally, the EMS (in the event of an accident) completed the procession, which came through repeatedly over an almost three-hour period for the women’s race, and an almost four-hour period for the men’s race.

Monday’s weather forecast was for rainy weather. Yet in neighborhoods throughout Winston-Salem, people came to the streets starting in the morning to see the women’s and men’s road races.  The rain held off for most of the day, and the road races were an exciting spectacle. The races created a wonderful opportunity for neighbors to socialize as the racers lapped the course. Each time the racers approached, the sound of bells and the yells of fans signaled that the peloton was about to arrive.  Young children often rode their bikes on the sidewalk, “racing” the racers!  The Classic provided a true family-friendly “staycation” for the Memorial Day weekend.

Thanks to the help of many community-minded businesses and volunteers, and Winston-Salem Cycling, we are fortunate to host this world-class cycling event.

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