The ‘Cirque’ delivers racing, art bikes (and nakedness)

Cirque du Cycling Art Bike Parade-26

The Cirque filled Mississippi Ave with bikes.
(Photos © J. Maus)

Once again, the Cirque du Cycling delivered. The third annual event, dreamed up and (generously) supported by Laughing Planet Cafe, took over Mississippi Street with a full day of bike parades, racing, community booths, and more.

The Art Bike Parade (slideshow below) featured some excellent entries and was punctuated (for the second year in a row) by a visit from participants of the Sunny Nekkid Ride. As the Art Bike Parade wound down, scores of people — most of them completely nude — rode up Mississippi Avenue as large crowds looked on (photos below might be NSFW).

Sunny Naked Ride crashed Cirque parade-2 Sunny Naked Ride crashed Cirque parade-1 Sunny Naked Ride crashed Cirque parade-3 Sunny Naked Ride crashed Cirque parade-6

After that brief, smile-inducing diversion, myself and the rest of the esteemed Art Bike Parade Judging Panel (Alyssa Kail from SCRAP, Joseph Rose from The Oregonian, Alison Hallett from The Portland Mercury, Jude Kirstein from Epic Wheelworks and Evan Ross from Portland Bicycle Tours) discussed at length who deserved top honors. Here’s how we voted:

The Grand Prize went to Shiva’s Slaves/Rejuiced Bikes for their excellent make-up and costumes, unique human-powered vehicles, and inclusion of youngsters (*I’ve heard from someone via Twitter that they found this entry to be “culturally offensive and racist brownface.” I regret any offense and it didn’t occur to me or anyone else on the panel that someone would be offended by this):

Cirque du Cycling Art Bike Parade-16

Cirque du Cycling Art Bike Parade-40

In second, we chose the Candy Stripers for their intricate, Scraper-bike influenced decorations, and for interacting with the crowd by passing out candy:

Cirque du Cycling Art Bike Parade-19 Cirque du Cycling Art Bike Parade-4

And rounding out the top three were the Belligerantes. One of Portland’s oldest bike gangs, the Belligerantes had a huge group and they flew their banner proudly:

Cirque du Cycling Art Bike Parade-36

Cirque du Cycling Art Bike Parade-25

Here’s the full Art Bike Parade slideshow:

The racing action at the Cirque was fierce. Winds and heat made for challenging conditions and there were a number of high-speed spills (everyone is fine, but OBRA reports one person still in hospital with multiple fractures). Fans along the course were thick and loud as they partied from rooftops, on balconies, and in cafes and pubs just inches from the racers.

Here’s a slideshow with more of the racing action:

The Cirque was a benefit for the Albina Youth Opportunity School. Special thanks to Laughing Planet Cafe for taking care of us at the VIP party and for spearheading this event for the last three years.

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.

Notify of

newest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Anne Hawley
13 years ago

Hi Jonathan. I’m not commenting much on these Pedalpalooza posts, but I wanted to let you know that I’m reading and enjoying every one of them. Thanks for the fantastic reporting.

Shiva's Slaves Crew
13 years ago

Hey everyone….after reading the post about the offended people due to the “brownface,” I would like to say something about the color of our skin.

It is tradition for Sadhus(followers of Shiva) to cover their bodies in ash in times of ceremony and celebration. This was our intention and not to offend anybody. We are the Shiva’s Slaves, and we will cover our bodies in ash.

13 years ago

gotta loves those dead babies. The skinny ones looks like he needs a taller bike or something. He seems to be climbing off of it or something. Anyways.. go dead baby!

13 years ago

fantastic! colorful presentation parade, made even better the racing, art bikes everyone in the cirque rocks. winds and heats for challenging high-speed spills. good report as what it was.

13 years ago

Love the racing pictures, looks like someone thought he was the victor and relaxed a bit, lmao