New Jersey Criterium State Championships

Somerville & Bound Brook Hosts State Championships

The New Jersey State Criterium Championships were awarded to Somerville and Bound Brook. The Senior/Elite Categories will take place on Saturday, May 25thin Bound Brook and the Junior State Championships will take place on Monday, May 27thduring the Tour of Somerville races.

New Jersey has a long history when it comes to bike racing dating back to the 1890s. New Jersey was the world center of bike racing in the early 1900s, with racing centered around velodromes, steep-banked tracks that were 1/6thof a mile. New Jersey had several velodromes with the most famous in Newark and Nutley. Thousands attended weekly races where cyclists could make more in one week than major league baseball players made in a year.

Eventually as cars took over as the choice mode of transportation the New Jersey velodromes/bike racing disappeared until the launch of the Tour of Somerville in 1940 when the criterium bike race became the race of choice in the United States. A criterium is a bike race that takes place on a closed loop, flat course with a distance of ½ to 1-mile in length. Races are generally 25 to 75 miles in length. Mostly held in the center of towns, criteriums are an exciting spectator event as racers whiz by every couple of minutes at speeds in excess of 30 miles per hour and crowds can see the tactics used by cyclists to try to win the race.

The Tour of Somerville is the oldest criterium in the nation now entering its’ 76thyear. As is the tradition in cycling, the winners of the NJ State Championships will receive New Jersey’s version of the “yellow winners jersey” emblazoned with the New Jersey state seal. The state championships are sanctioned by the NJBA (New Jersey Bicycling Association) and USA Cycling. 

For more information check out the racing schedules for each day.


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