In 2011, a little over a year after I found my passion for cycling through riding fixed gear bikes through the concrete jungle of New York City, I found myself, camera in hand, at Monster Track. The event is one of cycling’s most famous, most dangerous, and most significant alleycats in the world. Fast forward to 2022, and here I am again, camera in hand, at the 23rd edition of the annual brakeless urban street race.
In this episode of The Pro’s Closet Bicycle Kingdom, we explore the intricacies of Monster Track. Monster track mirrors the chaos of the city it takes place in, New York City. It is the pinnacle of Alleycat racing. It’s part party, part race, but in the end, it’s all about community.
Disclaimer: Riding bikes is inherently dangerous. That said, while we are not encouraging people to ride fixed-gear bikes in a crowded city, we do see value in sharing this story of a longstanding subculture in NYC and cities around the globe. Be careful. Ride respectfully. Spread bike love.
Minneapolis’ infamous bike race is back for its 23rd year. The Stupor Bowl returns February 1st, 2020, so get ready! Head to the Facebook page for more information.
Monster Track is arguably the most intense and highly regarded annual street race in the world. Throughout its history, racers have been inspired to travel from all over the globe to compete for the title. In it’s 16 year history, no out of town racer has come out with a first place finish.
It can be difficult for someone to appreciate Monster Track and understand what makes it such a special race for its participants without actually being there. This year, Monster Track is told through the experience of its past champions, native citizens of a city that allows for a race of this caliber, and its visitors.
The classic NYC alleycat is back and events start tonight. Head over to the Facebook page to find out more!
KVLT in Göteborg: the 2014 Svart Katt
Words and photos by Johan Björklund
Svart Katt is an alley cat race through the darkest corners of Göteborg where the riders look for as many checkpoints and solve questions scavenger hunt style with the help of a map and a manifest during the cold and dark night. You could say it’s a sightseeing tour in the twilight zone.
This one’s a ways off, but don’t miss this year’s Supermarket Street Sweep, one of the largest food drive alleycats!
One of the most metal alleycats ever is returning from the crypt this year in Sweden. The Svart Katt is coming… and if you’re able to make it, do so. In the past, this race has been insane.
One of the world’s most infamous alleycats gets some love from some of Mexico City’s bike messengers in this trailer for a forthcoming full-length feature.
The 2014 All City Championship Weekend: Bandit Cross
Words and photos by Chris Lee
The third and last segment of the All City Championships got off to a wet start. With isolated thunderstorms all morning, racers began to trickle in to the start at One On One.
After a quick briefing of the rules and some last minute instructions, racers ran to their bikes for the le mans start and started knocking out checkpoints from their manifest.
In the end it was David Smith and Chelsea Strate that took the win for men’s and women’s category, respectively.
Monster Track. The world’s most infamous, dangerous and in my opinion, most significant alleycat. In the 15 years it’s been thrown in New York City, it never ceases to surprise its contenders. There are only a few rules, the most important being two words: NO BRAKES.
Typically, there’s a weeding down process, at the hands of multiple manifests. Everyone starts with one, but only a select few make it to true completion by filling up to three. This year, mother nature smiled on the event, delivering somewhat favorable conditions (when compared to previous years being riddled with rain and snow). At the end of the event, the winners of Monster Track XV were Cooper Ray and Hannah Todd.
On the scene at the event and working the Williamsburg Bridge checkpoint was Chris Lee, who provided a few photos from the event. Check them out in the Gallery!
To avoid your bank accounts being drained by the queues of NAHBS builders, I’ll start dropping in normal content these next few days…
The Rookie Race is the “warm up” to Monster Track. So once again Boda Boda took to the streets to cover another fast-paced alleycat in NYC but this one’s got an unexpected ending.
Remember, in Boda Boda videos, #neverreadthecomments
Monster Track is this weekend in NYC and that means there will be a prize bag up for grabs. Not just any prize bag either. Philly’s REload Bags have been sponsoring the event for ten years and each year, their designs just keep getting better and better.
Rather than a messenger bag, Roland went with a Flight Pack. My personal favorite bag in REload’s line.
Now the question: who’s gonna win this?
March 13th – 16th brings Monster Track to NYC for the 15th year. See all the information at the event’s Facebook page. Greg Ulgalde killed it again!
Alleycat footage from Boda Boda will always get me pumped to ride. Any bike. So good!
Keep alleycats and CMWC weird. Or something!
Each Wednesday night, for the next three weeks, Beat the Clock Cycling will be throwing some short and fun cross races in Austin. Dubbed “Urbocross”, this series is part alleycat style race and part traditional cross circuit races. Last night, a good number of people showed up as the sun was setting on the east side of town to take part in the 20 mile race. Sure, speed counts, but like all alleycat races, your route will make or break you. That and making sure you get your manifest signed at all the check points…
I had fun shooting this race and everyone had fun racing. That’s a win / win if you ask me. See ya next week, Austin. Check out more photos in the Gallery!
I’ve been having a blast here in Minneapolis so far. Bandit cross ruled, last night’s track bike criterium was fast and fun but tonight’s main event is going to be even better.
Here’s the scoop from Bike Jerks: Meet at One on One at 4pm, Rollout to Undisclosed Starting Location at 4:45, Shortly after 5pm Race Start
Turn in your Manifest by 9pm or be DQ’d
Gear Junkie Office
2836 Lyndale Greenway Level
Minnehaha Rail Station
Witch’s Hat Tower
Spring St. Tavern
White Sands Beach
E 27th st / West River Parkway
Don’t be a clown, bring your helmet