Picture a race from the Fast and the Furious. It's quick, its urban, but this time, it's on bikes. Fixies, to be exact. Also, it's street legal.

James Grady is the force behind the Mission Crit, which stands for a "crit" or a "criterium," and is being held this Saturday starting at 7 p.m. It's a fixed-gear bike race that's been given the thumbs up from the city, which took months of planning and insurance approval.

Grady tells SFist his race will appeal to fans of cycling and non-fans alike in part because of its simplicity. "It's going to be a bunch of laps of people going really really fast on bicycles," he says.

Last year Grady held his first crit in a parking lot south of AT&T Park with 20 riders. That was thrilling, but this year, there are 60 male racers and a wait list of 15, with well-known cyclists traveling in for the event. There's also an 8 person women's race to be held first.

The crit's format is admittedly byzantine, but passersby and spectators will surely get the gist. The course is about a half-mile long and the races are each 40 minutes. At the 20 minute mark, Grady will do some math to figure out how long the average lap takes the leading riders,and then determine how many laps will be left in the race based on that figure.

That's when things really heat up, he explains. For the first 20 minutes, "What people are doing is establishing positions and figuring everything else out, not necessarily going 100%." That said, you can't just hang out and save energy: "if a rider is lapped they are out," says Grady.

Here's a look at the course:


The Mission Crit's format is much the same as the Red Hook Crit, which drew thousands of spectators last year. The best way to get in to see the race, according to Grady, is at 16th and Harrison Street. The women's race starts at 8, the men's race at 9. Though spectating is free, tickets can be bought and some prizes will be given out, and ticket sales will go to benefit bike messengers who can't work due to injuries. So, if you'd like to see people darting around the Mission on fixed-gear bikes in a more organized fashion than usual, here's the Facebook event.

courtesy of Mission Crit