Electric City Classic Hill Climb to return after pandemic hiatus

Jul. 3—SCRANTON — The Electric City Classic main bicycle race downtown has been canceled for a second year in a row because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but its companion hill climb will return on Aug. 28, organizers announced Saturday.

Scranton Tomorrow, a nonprofit economic-development organization, held the inaugural Electric City Classic bicycle race and hill climb on Aug. 24-25, 2019, and it drew hundreds of professional cyclists from around the world and thousands of spectators to the city.

The main event — called a criterium, or "crit," race — took place on a short-circuit course lapping several blocks downtown. The hill climb followed the next day on the steep, cobblestone section of Olive Street in the Hill Section, between Prescott and Taylor avenues.

The cobblestone section is on the steepest part of Olive Street, between Buenzli Court and Taylor Avenue. Cyclists start at the bottom of the hill at Prescott Avenue and cross over North Irving Avenue on their way uphill to Taylor Avenue.

Last year, the two-day event was canceled because of the pandemic. At that time, it was rescheduled for Aug. 27-28, 2021, with the downtown crit race set for Aug. 27 and the hill climb again to follow the next day, Aug. 28.

However, as the ongoing pandemic ensued earlier this year, it still wasn't feasible to plan the main crit race downtown.

"We were all heartbroken when we had to cancel the event in 2020, but we remained committed to bringing it back to the community when it was safe to do so," Scranton Tomorrow President/CEO Leslie Collins said in a statement. "It wasn't feasible to host the criterium (race) in downtown Scranton this year, but we knew we could host the hill climb."

So, only the hill climb will return as scheduled, and will take place Saturday, Aug. 28, from 4 to 7 p.m. The race event is open to the public, with riders of all skill levels welcome. New elements this year will include a kids' race, wheelbarrow races, food and music.

Registration information will be posted online soon at electriccityclassic.org/registration.

Contact the writer: jlockwood@timesshamrock.com; 570-348-9100 x5185; @jlockwoodTT on Twitter.