It was Saturday night, the day before everything people had come to the Eastern States Championships for was on the line. Nerves were a bit frayed, so it was time for some friendly, and genuinely silly competition: the inaugural NASA Tiny Bike Races.
The format was a simple single-elimination bracket. The bicycles were two brand new toddler bikes from Toys ‘r’ Us, complete with lunch boxes and training wheels. The premise of the competition was goofy, but the prize was a set of four tires from Toyo. NASA Director of Sponsorship, Jeremy Croiset, and Toyo Tires Senior Manager of Competition Performance Products, Marc Sanzenbacher, schemed up the contest in the weeks leading up to the Eastern States Championships.
“We’re always trying to find a new and interesting way to interact with the racers, and provide some much-needed down time during a stressful weekend of racing,” Sanzenbacher said. “We came with up with the idea of an adult tricycle race and thought that would be a good way to keep some of those competitive juices flowing, yet still be fun.”
NASA National Event Manager and Texas Regional Director Will Faules was in charge of purchasing the tricycles, but after attempting to ride one around the Toys ‘r’ Us showroom, he knew they wouldn’t work, so they went with toddler bikes with training wheels.
It was all in good fun till the contest got down toward the finals. The rear tires had become so knackered from racers rotating the bikes into turns that they had to be duct-taped to make them last longer. In the end it was NASA Florida’s Bruce Byerly versus NASA Great Lakes Jamie Clos. Byerly led from flag to flag, earning him a full set of Toyo Tires. Oh, and he got to keep the bike … at least what was left of it.