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A bit of rain can’t dampen spirits at The Ladds 500

Posted by on April 15th, 2019 at 3:18 pm

*All photos by Eric Thornburg/No.Lens.Cap on Instagram

Part race, party relay, part party: The Ladds 500 is quintessential Portland.

Back for its fourth edition after it was an instant hit in its inaugural running in 2016, the free and unsanctioned event drew hundreds to Ladd Circle Park on Saturday. Teams with names like Huffy The Vampire Slayer, Laddimir Putins, Scoot Along, and Aggressive Dolphins pedaled for hours in the rain to complete a century by riding 500 laps of the 0.2 mile circle.

Photographer Eric Thornburg (No.Lens.Cap on Instagram) was there to capture some of the magic. As I looked through his images and saw other posts about the event, it struck me that — while we grapple with how quickly Portland is changing and losing parts of its “weird” spirit — events like The Ladds 500 seem to take on even greater meaning.

After all the changes, we still have people who dream up and execute crazy biking ideas. And when free bike fun is done right, the community responds in a big way!

Just look at more of Eric’s images below and see the wide variety of people who came out to “do something stupid” in the middle of a usually quiet neighborhood on a rainy Saturday…


Thanks David Robinson, Eric Ivy, and everyone else who came together and made this event happen.

For more coverage, see this video from KOIN-TV.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and

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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. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

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    Jimmy April 15, 2019 at 4:56 pm

    The park is a total mud pit now. 🙁

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      John Lascurettes April 15, 2019 at 6:13 pm

      Grass recovers fairly quickly in Portland. Especially in spring and fall.

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    todd boulanger April 15, 2019 at 5:51 pm

    Such good clean Portland bike fun!!

    (Though I hope the turf in the circle survived…perhaps someone needs to see if it needs any post event TLC?)

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    Beth H April 15, 2019 at 9:40 pm

    A closer inspection the day after the event showed that most of the mud would wash away after a few days of rain. The organizers are consulting with Portland Parks for more information; but for now it was decided to let the grass heal on its own.
    Thanks to the organizers for a fun, joyful event!

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    Mike Quigley April 16, 2019 at 5:37 am

    Portland appears to be the only place in the world where bike riders like to dress up in goofy costumes and do mass rides, regularly. Weird, but what the heck.

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    mh April 16, 2019 at 8:26 am

    I want captions on the pictures!

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    Jan V April 16, 2019 at 10:22 am

    Lots of smiles in those miles. Let’s do something stupid again next year.

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      hotrodder April 16, 2019 at 11:39 am

      Let’s do something stupid Thursday night!

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    Matt April 16, 2019 at 12:34 pm

    Is that Timbers ‘keeper Steve Clark in the first batch of pics (upper right)?!

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    joan April 16, 2019 at 12:40 pm

    Ladds 500 is such a fun event! It’s a great combination of riding and chatting with friends and meeting new folks and trying out interesting new bikes.

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    EricIvy April 17, 2019 at 9:17 pm

    Thanks for the coverage as always Jonathon! Excellent pictures by Eric Thornburg! (I’m biased) In full disclosure, I didn’t have anything to do with the event, I’m just a huge proponent! It’s probably my favorite event of the year because I get to see all my friends who’ve been hibernating for the winter. As Nick Gallo put it, it’s the Pedalpalooza Pre-Party!

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