Urban Tribe - Ride with your kids in front.

Racer likes indoor velodrome idea

Posted by on November 10th, 2006 at 8:55 am

Oregonian columnist and bike nut Jonathan Nicholas writes in this morning’s paper that a Portland developer* would like to see an indoor velodrome come to downtown Portland.

The developer,* Steve Brown thinks Portland would be a perfect place for an indoor track racing facility. He told Nicholas,

“It’s not hard to imagine combining the excitement of bike racing and beer to create something much more entertaining than the Blazers.”

Sure it’s just an idea at this point, but given several factors, it’s an idea that we might be hearing more about in the future. Here’s more from Nicholas:

“Bike racing, already a big-time sport in Europe and Japan, may be ready for U.S. prime time.”

Los Angeles already has a world-class indoor velodrome and Philadelphia just announced plans for one earlier this week. Nicholas also writes that the developer, Steve Brown, is a competitive track racer who took ninth at nationals earlier this year.

Track racing, like cyclocross is a great discipline primarily because it is so spectator-friendly and has the ability to get the general public excited about bikes. I love this idea and I hope this little rumor sticks around and maybe even grows into some real plans…

*Correction: Steve Brown is not a land and building developer. His company specializes in business development. Sorry for any confusion.

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  • Lee November 10, 2006 at 9:06 am

    I love it! Why the heck not? would be the question.

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  • Brad November 10, 2006 at 9:23 am

    Memorial Coliseum? That would be a great retrofitting idea for the building, the Rose Quarter has ample parking for spectators and there are hotels nearby as well. Portland could host track nationals every third year along with the new facilities in Philly and L.A.

    For locals, indoor racing in the winter and training sessions would benefit the Portland racing scene.

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  • Jorge November 10, 2006 at 9:28 am

    Great idea! All that we’d need to do is to encourage the riders to breed fighting dogs, smoke lots of dope while driving fast and generally behave like morons. That would guarantee at least the same draw as the JailBlazers…

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  • Dave November 10, 2006 at 9:38 am

    +1: Disc wheels and beer are fun for the whole family.

    +1: Track racing is practically a winter sport in the rest of the world anyway.

    +1: Alpenrose is a little intimidating for newbies, and a little small for larger fields.

    -1: Nobody but family really comes to races in LA to spectate.

    -1: Portland probably couldn’t sustain two velodromes, and Alpenrose’s distinctive character would be missed.

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  • McLaughry November 10, 2006 at 10:39 am

    * Nobody comes to LA to spectate, because the promotion is horrible. A casual observer might think that they are actually trying to destroy their own racing community. That’s a lot different from the way things happen in Portland. They charged 10 bucks per session to watch Nationals, and then they had no food, drinks, t-shirts, or anything else for sale. It’s easy to learn how to run a velodrome: watch ADT and just do the opposite.

    * Alpenrose’s “distinctive character” is that it’s fallling apart. The cost to repair it is going to exceed the cost of a new velodrome. Don’t get me wrong, I love that track, but it’s not viable in the long term. So the idea is to build a new track before the old one is gone, so that we don’t lose continuity in the racing community.

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  • McLaughry November 10, 2006 at 10:43 am

    By the way, if you know anything about fund-raising, if you have any contacts with McMenamin’s corporate HQ, or if you’re willing to volunteer to help this project, please let me know: smclaughry@yahoo.com


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  • John November 10, 2006 at 11:40 am

    PIR or Expo center might be good locations too. Or even out near the airport?(All off the max line. Would it necessarily need to be “indoor” or maybe just covered ?

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  • Dave November 10, 2006 at 11:56 am

    Something more central than PIR, please. What about that electrical warehouse that burned down this summer?

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  • Anita November 10, 2006 at 12:09 pm

    I would LOVE to have an indoor track in Portland! That would be fantastic – year round training for us trackies!!!

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  • Patrick November 10, 2006 at 12:26 pm

    Great idea, I hope it takes off. I’d love to stay warm and dry in the winter.

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  • John November 10, 2006 at 12:32 pm

    Let’s not forget that Portland also doesn’t have an indoor running track. My guess is that a 250m velodrome and 200m running track could be designed to co-exist under the same roof. That could get Nike, Adidas, and/or the running community involved in a future project, too.

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  • SKiDmark November 10, 2006 at 12:36 pm

    I have fantasized about a wooden indoor velodrome in this city since I got interested in track racing. There is one in Vancouver, B. C. http://www.burnabyvelodrome.ca/

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  • Wilfie November 10, 2006 at 12:52 pm

    Bring it on! I’d be an avid supporter.
    After seeing what Northbrook Velodrome
    was able to to raise funds so they could
    resurface and SAVE the track, it seems
    totally doable. Plus, getting our track fix
    during the rainy season would be PERFECT!
    Way freaking cool if you ask me… … …

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  • Peter W November 10, 2006 at 1:50 pm

    Having an indoor velodrome close to downtown would be great. I’m sure the PSU team (and every other Portland team) would love that… hey maybe they could build it close to the university and get the school to help pay for it. 😉

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  • Molly Keirin Cameron November 10, 2006 at 2:33 pm


    Then we could all carry out cyclocross fitness right over into the winter indoor track season!

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  • SKiDmark November 10, 2006 at 4:15 pm

    It’ll get them pesky no-caliper brake havin’ fixed riders off the street too.

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  • Dabby November 10, 2006 at 4:56 pm

    Is a good idea, I wil admit, but could this be a case of someone else coming to town, hoping for city matched funds to build their dream, instead of putting money where we should?
    I admit Alpenrose is a bad , but fun track that needs to be replaced, or supplemented, but we should be careful as to what we get ourselves inot.
    Of course, I say use your own financing and build a indoor velodrome, that would be great.
    Here in Portland we are already losing enough in taxes to useless development that we should take a second, a third, and a fourth look before doing much of anything (with our tax dolllars involved).
    Like maybe some homeless shelters instead?
    And by the way, I am in no way saying that a indoor velodrome is usleless, as I would ride there too.
    But we can see the decisions made recently as far as development in this town.
    Bad decisions by the city, the PDC, and others that we will all be paying for for a long time to come….
    Leave our tax dollars out of it, and start a’ buildin’.

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  • Dabby November 10, 2006 at 5:37 pm

    By the way,
    I may sound like a crabby, distrusting old man, but for the price of 4 blocks of stupid trolley we could have one or two indoor tracks………
    For the price of one tram we could have a elevated Velodrome, skatepark, and Mt Bike park that hangs by sky hooks from somwhere or something, and is run by robots.

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  • Tiah November 10, 2006 at 8:34 pm

    Of course an indoor velodrome would be appreciated by many cyclists in Portland.So, if people wanna get it built then by all means I think they oughtta.
    Dabby-there isn’t any mention about using tax dollars, and the idea is brought up by an intown developer, so why jump to the conclusion that it would draw an out of town developer? Even if interest was sparked by an outside developer, that would give hometown developers the chance to firmly say that they want it down locally.
    Your comment on the lackluster usage of taxes however is certainly a good one. Though Portland has many homeless shelters, clearly our homeless population outweighs the supply. It would be great to see the city get behind a more utopian existence. Not where everything is perfect(as that clearly does not exist), but where priorities are straight. A look at how we take care of our citizens is vital to that.

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  • SKiDmark November 10, 2006 at 9:48 pm

    The advantage to an indoor facility is that the track could be wooden. Wood is a little less slippery and a little more forgiving than painted concrete, and it looks classy. The Velodrome in Vancouver shares space with a volleyball court. A running track inside of the velodrome track is a great idea. Indoor anything is a good idea in Portland. Not everyone wants go out and get wet all the time, and some sports just can’t be played in the rain.

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  • […] Steve Brown — the local developer whose vision for an indoor track racing facility in Portland is making the rounds in the cycling community — has put his money where his mouth is. […]

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  • Dabby November 10, 2006 at 10:40 pm

    I believe my point on the finances is proven by a shout out already on this very site for money……….
    This will turn into tax breaks, PDC money, out of town investors, etc…
    I know this because I am able to read between the lines……

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  • Dabby November 10, 2006 at 10:42 pm

    Another question…
    How big is the Bike Polo court going to be in this venue?
    FYI, it only needs to be as big as a tennis court…

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  • SKiDmark November 10, 2006 at 11:15 pm

    Jeez Dabby….at least it is focused on cycling and not some silly ball sport or….NASCAR.

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  • Dabby November 11, 2006 at 4:31 pm

    True, but perhaps you have missed the point Skid….

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  • SKiDmark November 11, 2006 at 6:58 pm

    Well then spell it out, Dabby, I am a little thick.

    What I see so far is bunch of people poo-pooing the idea of something bike-related, which makes no sense to me at all given that this is http://www.bikeportland.org .

    Yeah I am aware of all the things that could be done, like shelters, or extending the MAX as opposed to adding redundancy, or maybe even some affordable healthcare for lower income folks with kids. Maybe some Share the Road type PSA’s on the backs and sides of buses.

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  • josh m November 12, 2006 at 11:18 am

    given our rainy months outnumber our dry months, it’d be nice to have an indoor track.

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  • Dabby November 12, 2006 at 6:00 pm

    It would also be nice if Santa showed came down my chimney now, instead of waiting another month and a half…
    Ho Ho Ho

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  • huss September 4, 2008 at 2:26 pm

    Build this instead, or both.


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  • huss September 4, 2008 at 2:48 pm

    Lets realy be \”Bike City\” and Also Sullivans gultch….project!!!


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