People are riding bicycles inside bars, and the NY Times is on it. Today the paper of record takes a look at the slightly zany subculture of bicycle roller racing, a pastime favored by competitive cyclists during the off-season. Earlier this month, NY Velocity and the Century Road Club Association held a fundraising race inside the Parkside Lounge, where cyclists competed to see who could pedal the fastest without going anywhere, by riding fixed-gear bikes on stationary rollers. As you can see spirited crowd turned out to drink and cheer on the cyclists as they rode in place (and sometimes crashed):
The races have been happening regularly in NYC bars for years (here's one video of a race at the bar Union Pool in 2007), and the Times reports that roller races "are nearly as old as cycling itself and have always had a romping, spectator-friendly atmosphere, as much vaudeville as athletic spectacle. Two of the sport’s early greats — Major Taylor and Charles Murphy, a k a Mile-a-Minute — faced off in a series of races in theaters across Massachusetts at the turn of the last century. In 1950s Britain, crowds still flocked to indoor races, with dancing between the heats."
The winner of the Parkside Lounge race, which was officially sanctioned by USA Cycling, was Olympic cyclist Bobby Lea, 28, who narrowly bested Matthew Diefenbach, 47, after Diefenbach crashed off the rollers during the home stretch. (Video below.) Lea was awarded the first place prize of a novelty beer bottle, plus "bragging rights" for fastest bar biker, which you have to admit is more impressive than "shuffleboard champion."