Teams get pumped for Folsom Handcar Derby

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FOLSOM, CA - The 22nd annual Folsom Handcar Derby is about to begin – so it’s time for handcar and quadripede racers to start pumping.

Races are set to take place May 4-5 on the tracks in front of Broadstone Marketplace on East Bidwell Street in Folsom.

“This is a long standing tradition in Folsom and one of the few handcar races left in the nation,” said Dan Bocinski, 47, of El Dorado Hills.

Bocinski has been racing handcars for 15 years and is now helping to keep the Folsom races alive.

“I got involved in it through a corporate game in 1998 and ever since then, we were hooked,” he said. “We raced in Sacramento, Truckee and now we want to help preserve the Folsom event.”

This year’s Folsom Handcar Derby will kick off on Saturday, May 4,with a day of practice and qualifying for all the teams competing in the handcar and quadripede events, said Bocinski.

Saturday, May 4, will include a day of practice and qualifying for all the teams competing in the handcar and quadripede events.

Race day starts at 9 a.m., Sunday, May 5, with the pusher’s contest.

“Anyone wanting to try to push the 850-pound handcar for distance is welcome to compete,” said Bocinski. “Various weight classes in each of the men’s and women’s categories separate competitors.”

The handcar race competition will begin immediately after the pusher’s contest.

“Each team of five has one shot to be the best in their division and set the fastest time,” Bocinski said.

A handcar team consists of one pusher to get the handcar started from a dead stop and four pumpers to propel it down the tracks, Bocinski said. Multiple divisions including men, women, co-ed and masters will face off and pump the handcar down the 800-foot track with times separated electronically by 1/100th of a second.

“This is an extremely trying sport. A lot of people compare it to running a marathon in 30 seconds. So getting that 850-pound handcar up to about 30 mph takes a lot of energy, especially with four people on top of it,” said Bocinski. “It takes a very competitive group of people to take part in this event.”

The final event includes two contestants piloting the world’s only racing quadripede down the course, according to organizers.

“This is only the third year for this event, with the past two years resulting in a huge success for participants and fans alike,” Bocinski said. “The day ends with the medal awards ceremony for all of the competing divisions.”

The family friendly event is free to the public. Train rides are available for children adjacent to the race course. All proceeds from the event benefit the Folsom, El Dorado, Sacramento Historical Railroad Association.

For more information visit or call (916) 985-6001.