One of America’s oddest annual races is the Kinetic Grand Championship, which will be taking place from May 28th to 30th this year. This three-day race takes place along the beautiful northern coast of California from the town of Arcata over to Ferndale.
It’s basically a 42-mile long course that is pedalled by competitors in all sorts of odd contraptions. The race sees people pedalling along roads, beaches, mud and through a bay.
The event combines a love of art with competition as the racers append weeks creating all sorts of sculptures that are used as bicycles. They come in all colors, shapes, and sizes and are very unique and creative.
The roots of the race go back to 1969 when a local artist decided to transform his child’s tricycle into some type of mobile sculpture.
This led locals to see who could come up with the weirdest or best type of human-powered sculpture and the strange bike race was born when the first winner rode to victory in a 10-foot turtle. The race now takes place every Memorial Day weekend. It‘s often referred to as the Triathlon of the Art World.
The first day of the event sees riders start off at Arcata’s plaza at noon. They then race through miles of sand at Manila dunes on their way to the town of Eureka. The second day starts at Humboldt Bay in Eureka where participants head to the water before ending up back on land.
After the second day there’s a campout. The race ends on the third day at Ferndale and everybody involved heads to an awards dinner at the town’s fire hall.
All of the kinetic sculptures used as bikes are works of art and every racing team will have its own theme. Spectators ride their own bikes as they follow the race and to join in on all of the fun and to take in all of the magnificent scenery.