If you’re an avid bike rider looking for a challenge, mark your calendar for Feb. 18 and 19.
The 45th edition of the annual L.A. Chinatown Firecracker Run (LACFR) this year includes a 40-mile bike ride, whose route runs through Pasadena.
The LACFR is one of the largest and oldest running races in the United States, with a history dating back to 1978.
This year, the event organizers have added the 40-mile bike ride to the race weekend.
The bike ride is starting and ending at the Chinatown Plaza on Broadway.
“The new route goes through Downtown LA, The LA River, Glendale, Eagle Rock, Pasadena, Altadena, San Marino, South Pasadena, El Sereno and Lincoln Heights.”
“We start in the historic Chinatown with a backdrop of City Hall, ride past Los Angeles State Historic Park, Autry Museum, LA Zoo, LA Equestrian Center, Bette Davis Park, Verdugo Mountains, JPL/NASA, Christmas Tree Lane, Eaton Canyon and much more,” the event page read.
For more information about the bike route and registration, https://runsignup.com/Race/CA/LosAngeles/LAChinatownFirecracker
Cyclists will ride through some of the most scenic streets in the San Gabriel Valley, including Linda Vista Avenue, Woodbury Road, New York Drive, Huntington Drive, Sierra Madre Boulevard, Mission Road, and Altadena Drive among others.
Each registered participant will receive a commemorative 2023 Firecracker race bib, an ultra-soft commemorative short sleeve t-shirt, a finisher medal and a Goodie Bag.
Participants and their guests will also get to experience the Lunar New Year Celebration in the heart of historic Chinatown. The event kicks off with a lively opening ceremony featuring traditional lion dancers and the lighting of 100,000 firecrackers.
After the race, participants can head to the Firecracker post-race expo to browse the vendor booths and enjoy the new Chalk Art Festival and Boba Garden.
Even if biking isn’t your thing, there are plenty of other events to participate in at the LACFR this weekend.
Lace up your running shoes and join in on the 5K or 10K run/walk, or bring your little ones and furry friends for the 1K kiddie and PAW’er dog run/walk.
Registration for the event is now open and can be done via the RaceJoy app. Whether you prefer to participate in person or virtually, the fee ranges from $30 to $65 depending on the event you choose.
History of L.A. Chinatown Firecracker Run (LACFR)
The L.A. Chinatown Firecracker Run (LACFR) has come a long way since its humble beginnings in 1978, as chronicled in a 2022 article in the Belmont High School Alumni News.
The event was the brainchild of two Los Angeles natives – Edmund Soohoo, an alumnus of Belmont High School (Home of the Sentinels), and Helen Young, a founding member of the Echo Park Lotus Festival, heysocal wrote of the origins of the run.
Soohoo and Young were looking for a way to celebrate the Lunar New Year beyond the annual Golden Dragon Parade. Young suggested a marathon or bike race, but Soohoo knew the hilly terrain of Chinatown would make a full marathon difficult. He settled on a 10K and began researching and reaching out to potential organizers, heysocal reported.
“For that initial 10K in 1979, just over 1,000 runners lined up at Chinatown’s Central Plaza. Over the years, additional events were added to encourage participants of all ages and interests. Today, Firecracker events include a 5K run/walk, a bike ride, a kiddie run, and a PAW’er dog walk. Participation has grown to nearly 10,000.
“The event is no longer just a local one; every year, Firecracker L.A.-sponsored events attract hundreds of newcomers to Chinatown,” according to heysocal.