2013 I-Cycle Derby

TeamStrange I-Cycle Derby Rules

(Last update: Nov. 10, 2023)

The I-Cycle Derby is not a race, but a challenge that rewards those who master the art of riding specified average speeds over a specified course while contending with what can be challenging conditions. I-Cycle Derby is a timed, on-road enduro competition.

What to expect

The derby has been held in the Twin Cities metro area since 1949. It has never been canceled due to weather. Most roads used in recent derbies have speed limits of 25 to 35 mph. There could be short stretches of 40 or 45 mph, but the routes are designed to avoid highways. The intent of the derby is to be both motorcycle- and scooter-friendly. Also welcome are three-wheel motorcycles and motorcycles equipped with sidecars.

If it sounds easy, note that for the 2019 derby, 16 riders started but 7 finished.

One derby, multiple legs

The derby is divided into a morning portion and an afternoon portion. Each portion is roughly 25 miles long and roughly 60 to 90 minutes in length.

For the morning portion, riders leave the start-finish line at one-minute intervals starting at 10:31 a.m. For the afternoon portion, they leave the same start-finish line at 1:01 p.m.

If there are more than 30 registered riders, motorcycles will leave the start-finish line at 30-second intervals instead of one-minute intervals.

The derby is divided into multiple legs, or "cards". There are typically two or three legs in the morning portion, and another two or three legs following the lunch break. A rider receives a score for each leg; as explained below, the rider with the lowest total score for all legs is the winner.

How it works

There is no pre-registration for the derby. Sign-up starts at 9 a.m. The cost is $20 per motorcycle. All participants must sign an American Motorcyclist Association waiver form. A mandatory 10-minute riders' meeting begins at 10 a.m.

At the start of the meeting, riders draw a number. That number is the time they will start the rally in the morning and again in the afternoon. For example, a rider who draws number 8 will start the rally at 10:38 a.m. for the morning segment and at 1:08 p.m. for the afternoon segment. Each rider is given a sticker with her or his number. They place the sticker on their motorcycle's headlight or at the top of the windshield.

How to follow the route

Prior to the morning riders' meeting, each rider is given a card that gives turn-by-turn directions for the first leg. Below is an example of Card One for the 2019 I-Cycle Derby, which started and ended at Diamond's Coffee Shop in Minneapolis. The first card provides the route to the first checkpoint, where riders have their time recorded and where they receive a new card that will lead them to the next checkpoint.

The morning route brings riders back to the start, so riders have a chance to warm up and have a bite to eat.

Each card starts at 0.0 miles. Riders should reset their odometer or trip meter each time they receive a new card. That way, they will know the exact mileage, to the tenth of a mile, for every turn on every card.

Mileages are determined using a GPS.

Each of the six cards is about five inches wide and 11 inches deep. Most riders attach a clip of some kind to their handlebars, gas tank or windshield to hold the card so that it can be easily read while riding. Some riders use tape instead of clips.

Average speeds

At the top of each card is the average speed for that card. Average speeds are generally (but not always) between 10 mph and 30 mph. Note that the overall, average speed for the distance on each card is always below the posted speed limit. Riding the average speed given at the top of the card is key to how the rally is scored and how the winner is determined.

Prior to the rally, organizers calculate the precise amount of time it takes to ride the length of each card at its given, average speed.

  • If you ride the distance of that card at exactly that pace, you receive zero points for that card.

  • For every minute or fraction thereof you arrive before the correct time, you receive two points.

  • For every minute or fraction thereof you arrive after the correct time, you receive one point.

At the end the derby, the rider with the lowest number of points is the winner.

For those calculating to the second, 9:59 a.m. means the times between 9:59:00 and 9:59:59. Likewise, 10 a.m. means the times between 10:00:00 and 10:00:59.

Here are three examples:

  • If a rider is supposed to arrive at a checkpoint at exactly 10:00:00 a.m., and arrives at 9:59:45 a.m., then she or he receives two points, because he or she is 15 seconds early (9:59:00 to 9:59:59).

  • If the rider arrives at 10:00:38 a.m., the rider receives zero points, because he or she is within the one-minute window of his or her start time (10:00:00 to 10:00:59).

  • And if the rider arrives at 10:01:02 a.m., the rider receives one point, as she or he is now one minute past his or her arrival time (10:01:00 to 10:01:59).

Note that while the mileage is re-set to zero on each card, the time is not. The time for the three morning cards, and again for the three afternoon cards, is cumulative. In other words, the time for the next card begins at the second that the rider arrives at a checkpoint. If a rider stops at the first checkpoint at 11:01:06, then the time for next card starts at 11:01:07.

For example, let's say a rider arrives one minute late at Checkpoint One. That rider receives one point for being a minute late. The rider receives a card for the second leg, resets his or her trip meter to zero, and calculates the perfect arrival time to Checkpoint Two. However, in order to make up the minute lost on the first leg, the rider will now have to arrive at the next checkpoint one-minute sooner than what would have been the perfect time for the second card. That way, the rider regains her or his correct pace for the morning and will receive zero points for the second leg.

Checkpoints, clocks and following the derby route

Each checkpoint is run by volunteers who record the time, to the second, when each rider arrives at the checkpoint.

Once a rider can be seen approaching the checkpoint, the time they arrive is either when they arrive at the checkpoint or when the approaching rider can be seen putting her or his foot on the ground.

Stopping with a foot down at a traffic-control device (such as a stop sign or traffic light) that is within sight of the checkpoint is not counted as stopping for scoring purposes.

Once the rider arrives at the checkpoint, the rider's time will be recorded and the rider will receive a card with directions leading to the next checkpoint or to the finish line.

All times used at the start-finish line and checkpoints are for the Central Time Zone and can be viewed at www.time.gov.

Riders are expected to follow the route exactly as given on the cards. Figuring out a possible shortcut and stopping for a rest along the way is like cheating at solitaire. Lyle T. Bear, CEO of TeamStrange, does not cheat at solitaire and neither should you.

Riders are welcome to keep their leg cards as lucky souvenirs.

When riders should call derby officials

A phone number is given at the top of all six route cards.

If a rider cannot finish the derby, for any reason, she or he is asked to call the number at the top of the card. This is important. Volunteers, who cannot stay at their checkpoints indefinitely, keep close tabs on how many riders have checked in, and how many are still expected to show up. The checkpoint volunteers and derby officials need to know as soon as possible if a rider has decided to drop out of the rally or has mechanical or other difficulties.

If a rider has questions about the route or rules, he or she is welcome to call the number and speak with derby officials.

If riders are exceptionally behind schedule

What happens if one rider, or many riders, are exceptionally late in arriving at a checkpoint? How long will volunteers remain at checkpoints to record times and hand out route cards, and how far behind can a rider get behind schedule before being declared a DNF (Did Not Finish)?

Longtime derby veterans recall one year when the driving conditions were so bad, even the fastest rider was 45 minutes late when arriving at the first checkpoint.

To deal with such situations, the I-Cycle Derby has a DNF Window Rule. Riders who arrive at a checkpoint after their DNF Window closes will not have their times recorded and will not receive a card for the next leg.

The DNF Window for each rider is 45 minutes. For example, if a rider is expected to arrive at a checkpoint at 11 a.m., she or he has until 11:45 a.m. to arrive at the checkpoint. If the rider arrives later than 11:45 a.m., he or she will not have their time recorded and will not receive a card for the next leg.

Should riding conditions be so challenging that the entire field of riders is exceptionally late, I-Cycle Derby organizers have the option of increasing the length of the DNF Window as necessary.


2019: Card One of Six

Average speed for this card is 20 mph. Derby Phone: 651-308-8686

Turn-by-turn directions (start with odometer at 0.0)

0.0: From start at Dock 14, behind Diamonds Coffee, go northwest through parking lot to 18th Ave. NE.

0.2: At 18th Ave. NE, turn right. Go to Central Ave. NE.

0.3: At Central Ave. NE, turn right. Go to NE Broadway St.

0.8: At NE Broadway St., turn left. Go to Pierce St. NE.

1.1: At Pierce St. NE, turn right. Go to Hennepin Ave. E.

1.6: At Hennepin Ave. E., turn left. Go to 12th Ave. SE.

1.9: At 12th Ave. SE, turn right. Go to SE Como Ave.

2.2: At SE Como Ave., turn left. Go to Commonwealth Ave.

4.4: At Commonwealth, turn left and continue straight into the State Fairgrounds where Commonwealth becomes Dan Patch Ave. Continue straight on Dan Patch Ave. to Liggett St.

5.3: At Liggett St., turn right. Go to Carnes Ave.

5.4: At Carnes Ave., turn left. Go to Star Tribune booth (on left) and DNR fire lookout tower (on right).

5.5: At Star Tribune booth and DNR fire lookout tower, arrive at Checkpoint One.

At checkpoint: Record time, Reset odometer to 0.0, Receive Card Two.


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