When the CMWC originated in Berlin in 1993, Toronto messengers were there. Two years later, in 1995, Toronto hosted North America's first edition of the races. Toronto makes history once more as it becomes the first city ever to do it all over again.
In 1995, Toronto welcomed about 500 messengers from about 20 countries. In 2008, we expect 700 to 1,000 competitors from all over the world.
Toronto has always been a pioneer of courier racing. Alley-Cat racing originated here, as did the Human Powered Roller Coaster. The St. Stephen's Courier Classic has raised a total of about $20,000 for a local charity. Then there are ice races, Goldsprints and of course Global Gutz. We've also celebrated Critical Mass on the last Friday of every month since the spring of 1994.
CMWC 1995 was held in the derelict urban splendour of an industrial warehouse district. For 2008, we change it up and move the races offshore to the Toronto Islands, a chain of small islands in Lake Ontario harbour, reached by a 15-minute ferry or water taxi ride. The Islands have a history of bike racing as the home of one of the city’s first outdoor cycling tracks. It’s also the original location of the legendary Toronto messenger ice race on the figure-eight track.
Instead of concrete and gravel, the atmosphere of CMWC 2008 is about trees, water and wildlife in a massive park that's also home to a car-free community of residents.
In 1995, the U.S. based Bicycling magazine named Toronto as North America's most bike-friendly city. CMWC 2008 is an official City of Toronto Bike Month event.
World Championship Main Race
The showcase event of the CMWC is the most complex bicycle race in the world: three or more grueling hours of navigation through multiple checkpoints. Racers determine the fastest and most efficient route to collect and drop packages – replicating the real-life world of the urban messenger.
In true Toronto style, CMWC XVI features spectator-friendly challenges like ramps, stairs and maybe even a jump or two. (remember Checkpoint 5?)
An exciting event for fixed-gear, road, mountain and BMX bikes, with prizes for fastest male and female
An always-popular showdown that tests competiors’ ability to carry heavy loads over a challenging course
Bike jumps over a bar that keeps being raised
A competition to see who can balance a stationary bike longest without putting a foot down. After starting with a basic track stand, competitors must gradually remove hands and feet take until only one bike remains standing.
Another fan-favourite fixed-gear event. Competitors sprint to high speed, then lock their rear wheel to see how far they can skid. (The world record is over 500 feet!)
CMWC Bike Polo Tournament
Teams of cyclists use a mallet to pass a ball and score without setting a foot down. Bike Polo was a demonstration sport at the 1908 Olympics. Now, messengers have helped re-vitalize the sport with their own brand of hard-court bike polo that is taking the world by storm.
The Slow Race
Riders race head to head, sprinting as slowly as possible trying to be the last to cross the finish line! A judge for each rider keeps a close eye at all times to insure the back wheel never stops or reverses. Zen challenge racing at it's best.
Pedal Boat Race
A fun race on the water in pedal-powered boats