The Worst Day of the Year Ride is February 11th

Sponsorship shortfall means no ‘Cirque du Cycling’ event this year

Posted by on June 7th, 2012 at 9:42 am

Racing action at Cirque du Cycling-7Cirque du Cycling Art Bike Parade-26

Cirque du Cycling 2011-71

The Cirque du Cycling, an event that drew the fast, the freaky, and families to Mississippi Street, is undergoing changes.
(Photos © J. Maus/BikePortland)

The Cirque du Cycling, a popular event that has taken place on N Mississippi Street every year since 2008 (see our past coverage), will not take place this year. According to the event’s organizers, Good Sport Promotion, and its title sponsor, Laughing Planet Cafe, the Cirque will take a one-year hiatus due to a lack of sponsorship support.

“I am of course disappointed because many people including myself put in a lot of hard work to make this event happen.”
— Franz Spielvogel, co-owner of Laughing Planet Cafe

With a major criterium race, an art bike parade, family ride, cargo bike race and a fun and festive atmosphere, the Cirque du Cycling has won a lot of fans over the years. The “cycling circus” was first held in 2008 and Laughing Planet Cafe has been its primary sponsor each year. Laughing Planet co-owner Franz Spielvogel dreamed up the Cirque five years ago. His cafe has a location on Mississippi and he also lives in the area.

Spielvogel says after establishing the Cirque for its first three years, Laughing Planet and Good Sport Promotion handed over coordination of the event to the Historic Mississippi Business Association (Laughing Planet stayed on as the main sponsor, covering 50% of the cost plus additional marketing support). Unfortunately, Spielvogel says, the business association ended up with a budget deficit after managing the event last year.

“Because of the deficit and limited fundraising capabilities,” Spielvogel shared with us via email this morning, “the business association wanted to limit their involvement and in a sense give the event back to Laughing Planet Cafe.”

The decision by the business association to not manage the event was only made earlier this year, which Spielvogel says made it difficult for him to gather the necessary financial support to fill the budget gap. “We raised $21,000 out of the $30,000 needed to put on this event.”

Spielvogel says he’s, “disappointed” the event won’t happen this year, “because many people including myself put in a lot of hard work to make this event happen.”

Ayleen Crotty with Good Sport Promotions says it was a “very difficult decision” to not hold the event this year. “This is a sponsorship-driven event,” she shared with us yesterday, “and in these challenging economic times, we just could not raise enough funds to cover our basic event costs (permits, insurance, equipment, etc.) to run such a large scale event.”

On the bright side, this seems to be just a temporary hiatus. Spielvogel says he fully expects the Cirque to return in 2013, and when it does it will be in a different neighborhood with some “new features.”

Stay tuned.

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  • Jenn June 7, 2012 at 9:49 am

    That is super sad 🙁 We love this event.

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  • oskarbaanks June 7, 2012 at 9:58 am


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  • Gabriel Nagmay June 7, 2012 at 10:02 am

    Very, very sad. Pedalpalooza really needs to update the calendar to reflect the event as canceled. Currently, it is just missing.

    Maybe they can have a link to donate for next year’s event?

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  • Ethan June 7, 2012 at 10:37 am

    The dark side of pay-to-play event management? CdC has been a signature PDX event and it will be missed.

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  • Lori June 7, 2012 at 10:58 am

    the city makes it pay to play. this is a fine example of how expensive it is to shut down the streets of portland for an event. the permits go up and up every year and there are so many restrictions (cops at intersections, construction signs at intersections) that it’s no wonder they can’t afford this event any more. maybe next year the people involved can raise more money somehow.

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    • 9watts June 7, 2012 at 11:09 am

      I’m very sorry about this as well. But have to say I don’t understand why there would be any fees, why the city couldn’t waive them. It is our city & our streets, no?
      “we just could not raise enough funds to cover our basic event costs (permits, insurance, equipment, etc.)”

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  • matt picio June 7, 2012 at 11:20 am

    It’s great that the HMBA and Laughing Planet have sponsored this event in the past – kudos to them and all their hard work. The announcement should have been made sooner, though. There are a lot of people involved in this event for whom the announcement was a complete surprise. This is especially true in cases where money is spent with the understanding of compensation. (this last is a general comment for event organizers, not specifically for HMBA/LP)

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  • SB June 7, 2012 at 11:28 am

    $30,000 is WAY too much for a race with no cash prize payout. Good Sport Promotion must have been walking away from that deal with a pocket full of cash. I bet they were paying the city MAYBE $1500 for permits and police for the event.

    Also, it wasn’t a good race for the racers. Dangerous drunk fans and no real prizes to race for. Racers don’t want to win free entry to the Harvest Century.

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    • FM June 7, 2012 at 12:32 pm

      where does the money from filmed by bike go? it started as a fundraiser for mult. county bike fair but that was thrown to the diy crowd a few years back. fbb uses volunteers and donations still; all they have to pay for is the street party. couldn’t money from fbb be used for cirque or is fbb a privately ran gig now? (meaning for profit and not for the greater good).

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    • PK June 7, 2012 at 12:35 pm

      This comment is laughable. Yeah, I see those Good Sport Promotion guys with the fancy hats and the t shirts they get. Yeah, they are just swimming in cash. Yep, bike rides are a super lucrative business.
      Are you kidding? C’mon get real. Go find something worthwhile to complain about.

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      • SB June 7, 2012 at 12:45 pm

        What I find laughable is that they are unable to run the event with $21,000. Give that money to me and I will put on a bike race better than any of the previous Cirque events.

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        • Scott June 7, 2012 at 3:02 pm

          I have never, ever, nerver, nerverino wished so hard that someone besides me was given $21,000. Man, it would be so worth it just to see your sweet event.

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    • Mike June 7, 2012 at 2:14 pm

      Where are you getting the no cash payout? I seem to recall earning a decent bit of cash and prizes in 2008 and I did not even win.

      And your $1500 estimate only shows how little you know about the costs of an event like this. Would you not have Portapotties? Officials? Medics? Volunteers? Barriers? Course tape?

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      • SB June 7, 2012 at 2:45 pm

        Ha, funny, because I did win in 2008 and did not earn a cent. Product and gift certs, yes, but no cash.

        I never said anything about the cost of Portapotties, Medics and Officials, only the costs that the city charges. Trust me here, there are only a few people that know how much it costs to put on a crit in Portland, and I am one of them. $21,000 will pay for a very good event.

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        • Case June 7, 2012 at 3:21 pm

          Crits, yes, bike parade and festival with a crit attached, no. Not quite the same thing as what you’ve organized and that needs to be noted. So you don’t really know what it takes to put on this event. No disrespect, just saying.

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        • Mike June 8, 2012 at 9:23 am

          Didn’t you get any prime money? Now that I know who you are, I am very aware of your knowledge of events. I am none the less suprised that you believe this event could be held with such little capital. Perhaps you should take over the open weekend?

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    • Scott June 7, 2012 at 3:00 pm

      As a “dangerous drunk” I resent being called a “fan”.

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  • Spiffy June 7, 2012 at 11:29 am

    I’m tired of hearing “you can’t have this bicycle [whatever] because of [named] association”…

    seems like any time an “association” gets involved the imaginary “bicycle lobby” gets the short end…

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    • Tony June 7, 2012 at 12:40 pm

      Yeah, just like when the Sunnyside Neighborhood Association advocated for all that bike parking on Belmont.

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  • michweek June 7, 2012 at 2:04 pm

    Put the event on kickstarted and wonder the street for donations! More money has been raised in shorter periods of time through community support!

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  • Greg Thompson June 7, 2012 at 4:08 pm

    You guys just don’t know how much it costs to run a event. No one makes fat cash off these things, I think they probably even lost $ the last few years. Sheesh- tryna do a good thing and you all go and bash it. Don’t you have anything better to do? Just because you don’t know the expenses of a business you are not in does not mean you get to assume there is shady activity. I don’t know the details but I know the people involved, more or less, and they are good people. Come ON!

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  • todd boulanger June 8, 2012 at 10:28 am

    Thank you Laughing Planet for your support of this event in the past.

    I hope that SHIFT can find a way for you to still support the greater 2012 Pedal Palooza effort with your marketing muscle and the $$ originally planned for this event.

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  • Ted Buehler June 9, 2012 at 12:39 pm

    Bummer, I wish they would have let folks know they were in danger of cancelling a couple months earlier, so we could have rounded up more support. Or tried.

    This has replaced MCBF as the “heart” of Pedalpalooza, it’s a little disconcerting to see how vulnerable the institutional underpinnings of “bike fun” are.

    Ted Buehler

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