Despite outcry, downtown bike race still a go

CHARLES TOWN – A June 28 bike race will go on as planned despite efforts from Charles Town officials to have the race’s start delayed till noon to accommodate businesses downtown.

The Two Cities Criterium Bicycle Race through Ranson and Charles Town will close sections of Washington, Liberty and George streets in ChaPagesrles Town from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

The closures mean his business won’t make any money that Saturday – his busiest day of the week, Butch McKinney of McKinney’s Auto Repairs and Towing on George Street told the Charles Town City Council last week.
Typically, the last Saturday of the month is busy with motorists getting their cars inspected before their stickers expire at month’s end, McKinney said. He told the council the bike race will mean his business will lose thousands of dollars.
McKinney predicts the race will hurt other businesses downtown, too.

Race promoter Chris Burns didn’t attend the June 2 meeting where McKinney voiced his displeasure. City Manager David Mills talked with him later about moving the event’s start later in the day, but Burns said the time for such changes already has passed.

“If they had asked me sooner, we would have started the race at noon,” Burns said, “but doing that now would be a disservice to the residents, as well as the racers. I think having it at noon next year is a much better idea.”
Burns said the race, sponsored by Team Integrity Cycling in Charles Town to promote cycling in the community, has seen about 20 cyclists signed up so far. He expects more to take part.

Tammy Turner, McKinney’s wife, said she remains angry. “The Council thinks they can do whatever they want with no consequences,” she said. “They don’t care. It’s very frustrating.”

The council gave the green light to the race back in February. “We need to have events,” said Mills, who became city manager June 2. “Everyone is doing the best they can. It’s difficult to keep everyone happy.”

Mills and Charles Town Police Chief Chris Kutcher said they’ll continue to discuss how to better manage such conflicts in the future.



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