Urban Tribe - Ride with your kids in front.

Portland needs bicycle drag races

Posted by on March 20th, 2013 at 9:24 am

Our friends at Portland Design Works shared a link to a 2010 YouTube video this morning with a simple exclamation of “YES!”

The video shows bicycle drag races being held in a California shopping mall parking lot in the 1970s. It’s amazing footage from the era of banana seats and ape hanger bars. One racer even has parachutes that deploy at the end of his run, just like a real NHRA funny car. Check it out…

When I was a kid my dad took me to the drag races at Pomona Raceway. I still remember the excitement of the races, the fun strolling through the pits, and those amazingly fast cars. It’s not too hard to imagine translating that atmosphere over to bike races (and you wouldn’t need earplugs). A savvy Portland race promoter should team up with Portland International Raceway (PIR) and bring bike drag races back!

In 2010, Team Ironclad hosted a “Street Sprints” competition in an industrial section of the Pearl District that was very similar to drag races. And PIR already hosts many bike events throughout the year — including road races that use the main track. How awesome would it be to hold bike drag races at PIR, complete with the starting-light tree, a timer for the fans to see, an announcer, popcorn and hot dogs, trophies, and more?!

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Thank you — Jonathan

  • Peter James March 20, 2013 at 9:28 am

    I love the parachutes that launch at the finish line! Such a great video and yes, Portland absolutely needs to do this. What kind of bikes would make the best drag racers? Same bikes used for road races? Perhaps one set of races for people with their own crazy bikes and other class where the exact same type of bike was used for each race so it was about the racer and not the bike.

    Thanks for sharing.

    Recommended Thumb up 3

  • Chris March 20, 2013 at 10:07 am

    So cool. Love the award of a ‘bicycle racing hat’ at the end.

    Recommended Thumb up 5

  • armando March 20, 2013 at 10:12 am

    awesome! i remember doing this as a kid, but not so organized. looks like the kid with the parachutes never stopped racing! http://www.mikedunnracing.com/profile.asp

    Recommended Thumb up 3

  • TVCB March 20, 2013 at 10:18 am

    Its only been over a year since the friday the 13th street sprints in NW.
    and before that only a few months since the one previous.

    Portland already has bike drag races, you just have to know where to look.

    Recommended Thumb up 2

  • Johnny March 20, 2013 at 10:18 am

    would be a good primer for the cirque de cycling crit on mississippi. awesome vid jm

    Recommended Thumb up 2

  • Carl March 20, 2013 at 10:21 am

    I still have scars from the last time I drag raced in Portland:
    …in which we dragged each other around on pieces of plywood, dragging on cigarettes, in drag.

    Recommended Thumb up 4

  • Case March 20, 2013 at 10:29 am

    Absolutely, Stock category and Modified category.

    Recommended Thumb up 2

  • mabsf March 20, 2013 at 10:38 am

    For the cargo bike mom crowd we could have a tractor pull… just so that they can show their thunder thighs…

    Recommended Thumb up 4

  • Spiffy March 20, 2013 at 10:58 am

    bell-bottoms with no chain guards and not a helmet in sight (except the one he won as a prize as the end)… ah, the good ol’ days…

    Recommended Thumb up 1

  • Michael P. March 20, 2013 at 11:38 am

    This reminds me of the now infamous Red Bull Hill Chasers event in London

    Recommended Thumb up 1

  • Murph March 20, 2013 at 12:11 pm


    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • E-Po Rider March 20, 2013 at 1:07 pm

    OK Sure. But please include UPHILL drag races for us little guys. 🙂

    Recommended Thumb up 1

  • Opus the Poet March 20, 2013 at 2:30 pm

    Human Powered RaceAmerica sanctions bicycle drag racing (among other kinds of bike racing) with different classes for different kinds of bikes. Here’s their URL: http://www.recumbents.com/hpra/

    Recommended Thumb up 1

  • Dabby March 20, 2013 at 2:54 pm

    We have been doing drag style races for many years here in Portland, I believe dating back to the mid 90’s.
    From the messenger sprints (West Side Invite), to the tireless rim races behind the Paragon Bar (Noise Ride), sprints and drags have been a staple.
    We had a raging messenger mini Bike Drag/sprint Race at NE 24th and Alberta I am pleased to say I won. Had to beat the Tall Joe the Aussie.

    Recommended Thumb up 1

  • Kenji March 20, 2013 at 3:40 pm

    Cargo class
    BMX class
    Cruiser class
    Chopper class
    Fixie class
    Al/Peggy Bundy class (have to have full time job and at least two kids)
    Bike racer class
    Commuter class
    Recreational class


    Recommended Thumb up 2

  • bunbun March 21, 2013 at 12:43 am

    i always thought 3 speed drags would be cool. or flywheel assist drag bikes, but alas, bike fun is so 2002…

    Recommended Thumb up 2

  • longgone March 21, 2013 at 11:49 am

    New Cat: Combo-GoldSprintRollerBunnyHopEighthMile !

    Recommended Thumb up 1

  • moe December 21, 2013 at 6:22 pm

    this was from “Funny Car summer” ..I do believe

    Recommended Thumb up 1