Something for everyone at the ‘Cirque’

Racing action at Cirque du Cycling-7

Racing was far from the only
attraction at the Cirque du Cycling.
(Photos © J. Maus)

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.

Story continues below


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.

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., Tony Hopson, Sr., 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.

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)

Founder of BikePortland (in 2005). Father of three. North Portlander. Basketball lover. Car owner and driver. If you have questions or feedback about this site or my work, feel free to contact me at @jonathan_maus on Twitter, via email at, or phone/text at 503-706-8804. Also, if you read and appreciate this site, please become a supporter.

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14 years ago

I made a quick video of what I saw with my lens:

14 years ago

I had a great time watching the races. But man people were crossing the street without paying the least bit of attention to where the riders were. Other than that it was a great afternoon!

14 years ago

The director of SEI is Tony Hopson Sr. I noticed you included Sam’s name but not Tony’s. Hope that was just an oversight. Tony’s done a lot for the community, he should be recognized.

Kronda, it was just laziness on my part. I’ve added his name. Thanks for the comment. — Jonathan

14 years ago

Mad props to CAPA Cycling’s Joe Dengel for winning the CAT III race!

14 years ago

Looks like it was a fun event! But I don’t quite agree with the title, “Something for everyone at the ‘Cirque’.”

There was no women’s race in the criterium. Several of us have asked this year and in previous years. The organizers offer for women to ride in the men’s races, but for most of us that’s not a competitive race.

I’m not a race promoter, and am not completely aware of the limits of their permit and costs involved, but adding another 30min women’s race seems like it should be doable.

Ayleen and Team Cirque
14 years ago

Women are more than welcome, and encouraged, to race in the Cirque races and they can even race a category up.

The event is so tightly timed with extreme logistics, street closures, a gigantic need for volunteers, etc. It would be very difficult to add in another race to the already tight timeline, but if we do, a women-only race is definitely on our radar.

We hope more people will get involved next year to sponsor this great event and volunteers so it can continue to blossom into the annual tradition it is so meant to be.

Thanks to everyone who came out and enjoyed the day with us on Mississippi! And thanks to Franz from Laughing Planet for (years ago) having the vision of a crit on Mississippi.