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Track bikes to invade Portland for ‘Bone Machine Criterium’ and bike show

Posted by on August 29th, 2016 at 3:39 pm

Team Ironclad Street Sprints-8

Get ready for some exciting racing.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

If you’re a fan of fixed-gear and track bikes, you’re going to love this news: Next weekend (September 9-11) the Bone Machine Criterium is coming to Portland.

Organizers have put together three days of track bike goodness that begins with an event at the Alpenrose Velodrome on Friday.

Ernesto Gonzalez is the man behind the crit. He says the race, which will take place on Sunday in Swan Island (and industrial zone in north Portland) is the first of its kind in Oregon. Riders must use track bikes with one gear only that is fixed — meaning there is no freewheel and the only way to stop is to push backwards on the cranks. Imagine a huge pack of racers riding inches away from each without any hand-brakes. Gonzalez says they’ll be flying through the course at about 30 miles per hour. There will be races for men and women and a cash purse of $2,000 (there is equal payout for men’s and women’s fields and women are especially encouraged to sign up!).

“I’m expecting a fair amount of people to come, race and have fun,” Gonzalez shared with us via email. “Many racers are flying from out of town.” Criterium racers from San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego, New York City, Washington D.C., and Mexico are expected to compete.

Prior to the main event on Sunday, there will be a track meet at Alpenrose Velodrome followed by a party at Velo Cult Bike Shop and Tavern. At the party there will be a goldsprints competition ($5 to enter, winner takes all) and the talented group of riders and filmmakers from San Francisco’s Mash SF group will share a free screening of their new film (trailer below)



Another highlight of the weekend will be a show at Western Bikeworks curated by local track bike aficionado and photographer Amy Danger. She’ll have some “incredibly rare” track bikes on display including a one-of-a-kind Cannondale made for famed Italian sprinter Mario Cipollini. Danger says there will be more than 20 bikes on display. Here are a few of them:

A few of the track bikes that will be at Saturday's show in Portland. (Photos: Amy Danger)

A few of the track bikes that will be at Saturday’s show in Portland.
(Photos: Amy Danger)

Check out the full rundown of events at

— Jonathan Maus, (503) 706-8804 –

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Pete S.DavePeter DrakeemeeeeeeeeeeeeJim Lee Recent comment authors
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Fixed-Gear Crit…what could go wrong?

At least it should be entertaining…like the NASCAR of cycling.

Jim Lee
Jim Lee

Wish they still had a fixed event at the Tabor races in June!


Is this race named after the Pixies song? If so, cool.

Peter Drake
Peter Drake

Fixed-gear crits have been run at Swan Island before, with an 81″ gear restriction (can’t remember what that was in rollout) Wide course, so it’s pretty hard to tag a pedal.


Cue up the “Back to the Future music.” American road races before the middle to late 1950’s were often ridden on track bikes. Why? Almost all racers in the US at the end of World War II came from a track racing background–this is when the six-day-race scene had vaporised–and the companies making derailleur equipped racing bikes and the parts for them were tiny, had little US distribution, and were in countries that had been knocked on their asses by the war and were barely able to serve their small home markets. Most American racers circa 1945-1955 had probably never ridden a multiple gear bike. A few decades ago I wrote for a now-defunct newspaper called Competitive Cycling. One of the more interesting jobs they handed me was to transcribe a 3 hour interview with Jack Disney who had been a top level US racer of the late 40’s to the early 70’s. Jack described riding point to point road races in southern California where the whole field were on brakeless track bikes–a suicide mission today, of course! There was a mismatch of equipment and facilities as there were only road races, since all of the area’s tracks had been torn down by 1950, but almost no American racer owned a derailleur-geared road racing bike!
I’m not old enough to have lived that era but the people who taught me cycling in the late 1960’s were and did! I hope it is a tremendously successful event.


PS, if I made anybody curious, some interesting reading would consist of “Hearts of Lions” by Peter Nye, and “Pedalare, Pedalare,” author’s name escapes me right now.

Pete S.
Pete S.

What year is this?