Monday, June 15, 2009

Something for Everyone at Cirque du Cycling

Story by Jonathon Maus of

Saturday’s Cirque du Cycling event, held on N. Mississippi Avenue, managed to do something very special: It brought together just about every aspect of Portland’s diverse culture of bike lovers. From kids (young and old!) to tall bike builders and everything in between, it was a two-wheeled feast.

Things got started with a family bike ride. After decorating bikes, participants rolled out from the headquarters of Self Enhancement Inc., (a local non-profit that was the benefactor of the event) and headed north to Peninsula Park.

At the park, Sean Sullens and Deanne Gomez from the Piedmont Neighborhood Association greeted riders with a table-full of cookies and fruit snacks. It was great to see so many kids and families out for a day on the bike. (More family ride photos)

Family ride at Cirque du Cycling-1 Family ride at Cirque du Cycling-12 Family ride at Cirque du Cycling-21 Family ride at Cirque du Cycling-11

Next up was the Art Bike Parade and local bike clubs and gangs showed up in force. The staging area on N. Fremont was turned into an impromptu bike show.

Art Bike Parade at Cirque du Cycling-54
Scrapa, the entry from local
non-profit, SCRAP.

Art bike builder Neal Fegan’s latest work caught many eyes (more on his creation in a separate post), as did the public debut of the Irondelles all-lady tall bike gang. Others groups in the parade were; Team Beer, The Belligerantes, The Kaufman Family (with cute, matching bike shirts!), Freaky Fridays (costumed families on Bike Friday tandems), Revolutionaries on Wheels, The Ladies of Scrapa, cargo bikers, Droupout Bicycles Club, North Freak, and more.

There was a lot to see; including a bunny-hopping cargo bike piloted by Jamie Nichols of Portland-based Metrofiets.

The crowds lining Mississippi Ave. loved the creative and crazy bikes and costumes. (Most everyone, I think, also liked the surprise (naked) parade guests. More coverage and discussion of that here - photos here).

To fully appreciate the scope of the bikes and people (including non-clothed ones) that showed up, watch the slideshow below:

Created with Admarket’s flickrSLiDR.

Racing action at Cirque du Cycling-8
Racers speed by bleachers
set up for the event.

With the parades out of the way (and the shock of nakedness wore off), the racing action heated up. The region’s fastest bike racers zipped around the .8 mile course, mere inches from onlookers who clapped enthusiastically (being careful not to spill their beers of course).

Re-live some of the race action in the slideshow below:

Created with Admarket’s flickrSLiDR.

The Bike Vigilantes took the line in the men's cat 3 race. All held in and fought through the fast paced crit. Dylan VanWeelden finished in 26th followed by Chris Sautter and Khari Gates. Check out full details of the race on Oregon Cycling Action. Photos by Dave Condon are here.

Meanwhile, at a VIP lounge area set up in the corner of Mississippi and N. Failing (the new Tupelo Apartments) the director of SEI, Inc., Mayor Sam Adams, and local business owners rubbed shoulders and enjoyed complimentary beverages and food.

This event brought together not just many strains of the bike community, but it put biking in a positive light for the entire Boise Neighborhood (well, maybe except for the nakedness). Hopefully, the Cirque will become a respected annual tradition.

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