The IU Health Indy Criterium is tomorrow, July 8. In honor of the exciting event, we asked Erica Fowler, member of the Indy Crit planning committee and longtime cycling enthusiast, eight questions about what makes this annual event so special.
Read more about Erica’s experience to learn about how the Indy Crit is more than just a race, but truly a celebration of “all things biking” in Indianapolis.
How did you hear about Indy Crit?
My boyfriend, now husband and I, came together through cycling. We knew each other in high school, but reconnected at Indiana University’s Little 500. I guess you could say, through biking, our love fostered.
He had always stated that he wished there was an urban race in Downtown Indianapolis. And of course, the very first Indy Criterium was on our wedding day! We got married at the Hilbert Circle Theatre on Monument Circle. There’s some great pictures of him and groomsmen watching the race, while we were getting ready. It’s pretty fun! Ever since then, my husband has raced every year. I would definitely consider us a biking family.
Why did you get involved as part of the planning committee?
I have obviously always been involved with Indy Crit. I saw it on my wedding day and had been a spectator for many years. A few years back, my friend asked me to get involved as a course marshall. It was the very first time I had worked at an actual bike race. This year I wanted to expand my involvement. I was looking to get involved in something that allowed me to give back to the Indianapolis community directly. For years, I loved cheering, volunteering, and now I am proud to be planning with a great group of diverse people that are passionate about not only cycling, but Indianapolis.
What is your favorite IndyCrit memory?
My favorite memory is actually from last year. We had just had started our family. I had a baby at the end of May. My very first babysitter I had was so I could volunteer for Indy Crit. It really proved to me that being involved was really good for my soul and for our family. I can’t wait to share the Indy Crit with our daughter this year, and I’m excited for her to participate in the future. Indy Crit is something that can really grow with you and your family. It’s not just one memory, but many.
What are you most looking forward to for this year?
I think there are so many amazing things this year. The race is the capstone of the event, but what I’m excited about is to bringing in the non-competitive racers, kids and families into the event. Kids can race, learn how to ride a bike and more. Cycling is a really important part of my family – and I think Indy Crit’s festival is a great caveat for just that.
What is cannot miss at this year’s event?
There are so many chances to engage. You can ride the HandleBar, explore the Cultural Trail, participate in the family ride/kids race and check out the kids zone. I think sharing that passion of cycling with somebody who doesn’t know how to ride or just got a bike for Christmas helps us set the stage for the Indy Crits of the future. See the full schedule of activities and events here.
What’s the best spot for photo op?
The best spot is on the stairs of the Soldiers and Sailors Monument. It’s the epicenter of the festival! Stand on the stairs and snap a picture of the start/finish line. Once you’ve captured your photo, be sure to tag #IndyCrit2017 on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.
What do tell someone who is not a competitive cyclist about the event?
If you’re not a competitive cyclist, it’s still fun to come Downtown. Take a tour of the Cultural Trail or take a lap on the HandleBar. There’s so much more to do than just watch the bike race. You really can choose what you want to consume. Plus, the weather will be incredible, so there’s really no reason why you shouldn’t come down and spend the a few hours with us!
What is so special about the biking community in Indianapolis?
I can say from my own personal experience, the cycling community has really grown. The proof is in the pudding, just look at the success of our Pacers Bikeshare program. There are so many more ways to get involved with the biking community too – plenty of different organizations and races. Overall, I think the cycling community wants to foster its own. Someone always wants to help you buy a bike, learn to ride, find a route – there’s always people that want to help you out.