In 2008 the first renegade race was held by a handful of core individuals on the rough, public streets of Brooklyn's Red Hook neighborhood. Dubbed the Red Hook Criterium, the unsanctioned bicycle race is open to amateurs and professionals alike, with the alley cat-style course favoring urban cyclists and bike messengers with high levels of fitness, honed reflexes and an acute sense of their surroundings. Now five years in the ultimate DIY road race continues to grow in interest from the public and participants alike since its quiet start. Still held at night, rain or shine—admitting fixed-gear track bikes only to maintain the high level of difficulty, competition and camaraderie—the RHC is as core as ever, albiet now backed by a handful of sizable sponsors.
As the RHC steadily holds its significance within the tight-knit cycling community and beyond as one of the country's most celebrated urban cycling events, the race has recently announced an expansion. Traditionally held twice a year, 2013 will see the Red Hook Criterium Championship Cycling Series expand to four races, including a second in Brooklyn—to be held at the Navy Yard—as well as races in Barcelona and Milan.
To celebrate the continued success of the race San Francisco's original messenger bag maker Timbuk2 today releases a modest range of limited edition RHC branded bags made in San Francisco with a lifetime warranty. The Especial Messenger and Especial Medio backpack—which already exist within the Timbuk2 cycle-ready collection—have been specially embroidered to mark the occasion. Both waterproof bags are designed to handle the daily stressed dealt with by commuters and messengers alike.
The Especial Messenger is constructed of tough Cordura and ripstop nylon with waterproof TPU inside and out. This sleek over-the-shoulder bag features plenty of pockets for all your daily needs as well as space for a 15" MacBook Pro. For a more substantial option the expandable Especial Medio backpack is a beast plain and simple. Similarly made of 500d Cordura with non-pvc panels to improve durability, the substantial pack really is a carry-all. After getting the chance to see the non-branded version firsthand last fall we can firmly attest this pack is absolutely all it's cracked up to be.
Launched today, the Timbuk2 + Red Hook Crit Especial Messenger and Medio backpack are now avaialbe directly from Gage + Desoto for $220 and $195. To learn more about the upcoming race at Brooklyn's Cruise Terminal in RedHook—scheduled for 30 March—or to register visit Red Hood Criterium online.
Race images by Francesco Rachello. Product images courtesy of Timbuk2.