Indiana University's Little 500
The fast track to fun at Indiana University's Little 500

Small Wheels

For the better part of the past century, Indiana has ushered in spring with the Little 500, bicycle races modeled on the Indy 500 that annually draw upward of 25,000 spectators to Indiana University’s Bloomington campus. This year is no different, as the university hosts the pedal-pushing competition immortalized in the Academy Award-winning movie Breaking Away. The 62nd annual men’s cycling race—with 33 teams riding for 50 miles on a cinder track—kicks off at 2 p.m. on Saturday, April 21. The women’s race (added in 1988, thanks in large part to the efforts of then undergrad/now Winnetka attorney Martha Hinkamp Gillum) is 25 miles on the same track; it happens at 7 p.m. on Friday, April 20, followed by fireworks and a live-music concert featuring Sublime with Rome. Worth noting: All of the racers are amateurs, and all ride identical one-speed Schwinn Roadster bikes. Both races will take place in Bill Armstrong Stadium, at Fee Lane just north of its intersection with 17th Street.

GO Little 500 at Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana; Friday and Saturday, April 20 and 21. Tickets for race events are $25 through For more info, go to or call 812-855-9152.

While you’re there: Through April 30, the university hosts Arts Week Everywhere, with concerts, exhibits, and outbreaks of poetry and theatre across campus. For a detailed schedule and more info, go to the event’s Facebook page.

Where to stay: The Grant Street Inn (310 N. Grant St., Bloomington; 812-334-2353, offers 24 guestrooms in an 1890s mansion just four blocks from the IU campus; rates range from $169 to $229. The Scholars Inn Bed and Breakfast (801 N. College Ave., Bloomington; 800-765-3466, has six guest rooms and a bake house renowned for its breads and granolas; rates range from $159 to $179.

Where to eat: Finch’s Brasserie (514 Kirkwood Ave., Bloomington; 812-333-2700, specializes in farm-to-table dining with dishes such as rabbit cacciatore and duck wings. The Irish Lion (212 W. Kirkwoood Ave., Bloomington; 812-336-9076, prides itself on traditional Irish cuisine such as slow roasted leg o’ lamb and corned beef and cabbage.


Photograph: Courtesy of Indiana University