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Battle of wheels
It's bicycle messengers vs. the pros
BY WARREN WOODBERRY JR.
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER
Don't shoot the messengers - just try to beat them.
That will be the goal of professional and amateur cyclists who will be racing against - that's right, bicycle messengers - at the Kissena Velodrome in Flushing on Saturday.
The Kissena Classic marks the official start of the 2005 competitive cycling season. And while sponsors say the emphasis of the friendly competition will be on camaraderie and fun, there will be more than $4,000 in cash prizes at stake.
"This event is really to kick off the race season for bike messengers now that the weather is getting warm," Barney Waters, vice president of marketing for the PUMA sneaker company, an event co-sponsor. "The season leads up to a world championship race for bike messengers from June 30 to July 4 in Jersey City."
Waters said the Kissena Classic is open to the public, and offers spectators the opportunity to become familiar with the fixed-wheel biking culture as well as the bike messenger community. Saturday's race is not being held to qualify bikers for the championship race.
Built by Robert Moses in 1962, the Velodrome, at Parsons Blvd. and Booth Memorial Ave., was showcased during the 1964 World's Fair in Flushing Meadows. After falling into disrepair following years of neglect, it was refurbished and repaved last year, and has been touted as a training facility for Olympic cyclists, should New York City win its bid for the 2012 Summer Olympics.
TEAM PUMA, a select group of five elite bike messengers, will showcase its skills, going up against peers and professional riders.
"PUMA gave us the opportunity to showcase our skills and styles to the world," said team captain Kevin (Squid) Bolger. "PUMA has been a supportive partner for TEAM PUMA and the bike messenger community, and we're proud to represent them in the streets and track every day."
Bike messengers will compete in the Kissena Classic for free, courtesy of PUMA. All other cyclists are asked to contribute $10. Registration for riders begins at 11 a.m. Saturday, and races will occur throughout the day until 5:30 p.m.
Entertainment will provided by deejays, and there will be refreshments and giveaways by PUMA and other event sponsors.
Other event sponsors include the Track Star Bike Shop, Timbuk2, New York City Department of Parks & Recreation, Kissena Velodrome Committee, Fixed Magazine, the NYC2012 Committee and the Major Taylor Association.
Originally published on May 18, 2005