In the Crosshairs: a history of garage racing in Crystal City
In recognition of National Bike Month, we’re kicking off things off with a fun event to celebrate bike culture in National Landing. The National Garage Racing Championships, our popular underground bicycle race series, returns to the neighborhood April 28 and 29.
Bill Schiecken launched the popular event series in 2012, so we sat down to talk about the history – and future – of garage racing in National Landing.
Responses have been edited for length and clarity.
Tell us more about the National Garage Racing Championships.
In 2013, the BID and I worked together to bring a fun new activity to the parking garages of Crystal City. We produced and hosted the first-ever Crystal City Diamond Derby, which was a cyclocross-inspired bike race. It was so successful, and so popular, that we soon launched a weekly garage racing series called Wednesday Night Spins. That series was popular too, and soon grew to become known as the Crosshairs Garage Races in 2018. And now, based on popular demand and after a brief hiatus due to the pandemic, we’re bringing back the races with a new spin. This event is now officially the National Garage Racing Championships.
What are you most excited about this year?
Garage Races is a party surrounded by a bike race. This event has brought people from all neighborhoods together for over a decade, and we’re excited to bring it back after the pandemic with new life and energy and excitement.
Can people just come to watch, or do they have to hop on a bike?
The National Garage Racing Championships is open to all! Whether you come to watch and enjoy the pop-up bar, or if you choose to compete for the championship jersey, you’re bound to have a great time. The fact is, you won’t see this style of bike racing anywhere else. Friday night will be jam-packed with activity, from a happy hour to kick off National Bike Month, to fixed-gear bike races, the relay, and the super fun Anything Goes race. Saturday is full of championship races and the opportunity for novice racers to get to try out the course.
What’s the craziest thing you have ever seen at these races?
The Anything Goes race is by far the craziest and the best spectator event. Expect costumes, insane looking bikes, plenty of shenanigans, and tons of fun.
That does the future hold for the National Garage Racing Championships?
With the new format and a championship debuting this year, we look forward to welcoming people from across the country to National Landing to participate in the future. For many cyclists, near and far, the Garage Races were already a bucket list item. Being able to compete in a national championship will give the series a fun boost.
How did National Landing land this national championship?
There is so much going on in National Landing. We love being able to bring new people to discover the shops, dining, parks, and events the neighborhood has to offer. After the success of Garage Races for over a decade, we remain the only event of this kind anywhere. Now with thousands of new people coming to National Landing to work and live and play, we look forward to growing this weekend celebration of bike culture, reaching new people along the way.