ANNISTON, AL (WBRC) - Some 500 cyclists will be racing through the streets of downtown Anniston Saturday.
The Sunny King Criterium is the first stop on the professional cycling tour for 2019.
This sixteenth annual event is held adjacent to the Noble Street Festival.
The events bring in cyclists from around the nation and around the world, and bring in spectators, adults, and children alike with their own bicycles. They’re also encouraged to bring cameras and well-behaved dogs on leashes, and tailgating is encouraged.
There will also be carnival rides and a live stage outside the Peerless Bar and Grill on 10th Street.
It’s part of Anniston’s efforts to rebrand the city as a haven for cyclists.
“We have a really strong cycling community, and that really gives us a unique opportunity to set ourselves apart in ecotourism. That’s something that’s really important now to bring in that new revenue, so that we can continue to make improvements in our own town,” Johnson said.
Downtown Anniston is decorated with multi-colored bicycles for the event, an art project by students at Donaho School.
There will be heats during the day, starting at 11 a.m., but the main events start at 6 p.m.
The bike races mean part of Anniston’s Noble Street and parts of Gurnee Avenue and Wilmer Avenue will be closed to regular traffic for much of the weekend.
The Piedmont Road Race, which takes place Sunday, will be on a 40 mile course in Calhoun and Cleburne counties. It will also result in brief road closures on Ladiga Street and McFarland Avenue in Piedmont.