Tour de Concord Vancouver Family Bike Festival and Criterium Cycling Race comes to north shore of False Creek

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      Professional and amateur cyclists are gearing up for a major cycling race in Vancouver today (June 30).

      The Tour de Concord Vancouver Family Bike Festival and Criterium Cycling Race runs from 3:30 to 9 p.m. on the north shore of False Creek.

      "It's going to be the biggest bike festival of the summer," Concord Pacific event director Jaime Williams told the Straight in an interview. "We'll have over 20 bike-related vendors, plus a dozen food vendors, a huge beer garden, a DJ, and then a really existing series of races."

      It will start with youth amateur competitions and culminate in the professional men and women's series.

      "It's an 800-metre course where racers will be looping," Williams explained. "It goes through Concord Pacific Place and then along Pacific [Boulevard] all the way to the front of the Plaza of Nations," she said.

      Part of Pacific Boulevard will be closed for the race, allowing audiences to get a good look at the competition. There will also be demonstrations of various types of bikes as well as a hop-on obstacle course for kids.

      The Vancouver-based InstaFund Women's Professional Cycling Team will be among those competing in the race. One of the members, Isabella Bertold, told the Straight that it's really exciting for her to be racing a criterium in front of a hometown crowd for the first time in a couple of years.

      "We are probably the most successful team in North American racing this style of racing," she said. "We haven't missed a podium yet and are often on the top step. So we're really looking forward to this."

      Video: The InsaFund Women's Professional Cycling Team promotes carbon neutrality.

      Cycling fans interested in meeting Bertold and other members of the InstaFund team can do this by visiting their booth from 5 to 7 p.m. before the race.

      "Please come down and say hello to my teammates and learn more about the team and bike racing in general,"  Bertold said.

      Food vendors Narihiro Sato and Yuri Yamaki told the Straight that they are also excited about a criterium being held in downtown Vancouver.

      "We're serving authentic Japanese food," Sato promised.

      Yuri Yamaka and Narihiro Sato will be among the food vendors at Concord Pacific Place.

      Concord's marketing tied to cycling

      The Straight asked Williams why a major development company like Concord Pacific decided to put on this event, which is free for the public to attend.

      "It's really part of our corporate mandate,"she replied. "We are building homes for people that are really in the most bike-friendly place to live.

      "So we're providing amenities that support a cyclist lifestyle, whether you're a commuter for work, an athlete, or just out for family exercise," Williams continued. "We provide a gear room and storage facility. Our elevators are equipped to take bikes with a private exit for people riding a bike."

      Not only  that, but she said that Vancouver has a spectacular seawall.

      "So we're helping to support that lifetyle of getting out and riding your bike."