In early 2010, Portland Design Works purchased one of the most interesting installations from a Pomona College student in Southern California… CIRCULUS.
What is CIRCULUS?
Circulus is a 143 foot diameter, 45 degree banked, wooden mini-velodrome. When standing in the ‘in field’ of the track, it almost feels like you are standing in an enormous wooden salad bowl!
The track is currently housed within PDW’s Portland, Oregon warehouse – The Mothership. One if the perks of living in the fine city of Portland is I’ve had the opportunity to ride on Circulus. It is AMAZING!
PDW’s man in the field, Kevin “MURPH” Murphy came by the shop week ago to drop off the event flyer (shown above).
There was some discussion on what bikes were to be used for the event. The main concern was rider and spectator safety. If the bikes were geared too high, riders would be able to reach the top of the track too easily and chance launching off the track and out into the spectator area. If the bikes were geared too low, proper speeds would not be reached to keep the riders on the steep, 45 degree bank.
Upon arriving to the venue on Saturday night I was delighted to see bikes that had decent gearing and were low to the ground, in the off chance that if riders had to bail or crash, the fall would not be very bad.
Open riding for the evening began at 6:30pm and racing began promptly at 8pm. The racing was MC’d by none other than Stevil Kinevil. Being a single elimination race, it was all or nothing for the racers. This was a pursuit style race. The race began with each competitor begining at opposite sides of the track from a dead stop on the infield floor. Each racer had to be up on the 45 degree banked track within 1/2 a lap. The object of the race was to complete 4 laps before your opponent or to catch the opposing racer in 4 laps or less.
Although adult refreshements were available from Hopworks Urban Brewery, racers were not allowed to drink them until AFTER their heat was completed, as this was a single elimination race format. If you were fortunate enough to advance, you were unfortunate enough to have to wait to enjoy a cold beer!
Having previous saddle time on Circulus, I gave it a go… Race testing the DZR District shoes.
My wife raced the women’s event (yellow bike):
(Youtube video courtesy of Jonathan Maus/www.bikeportland.org)
Here is JMaus in action!
Here is video of the men’s final:
(Youtube video courtesy of nanobikerdotcom)
Music was thumping throughout the night courtesy of the always amazing DJ Amanda Sundvor
A big THANKS to the fine folks at PDW – Daniel “DPow” Powell, Erik Olson & Kevin “Murph” Murphy & Yakima for putting on a fantastic, fun filled event!
A special thanks goes to Mr. Dave Roth for allowing the use of his photographs of the event. You can view the entire evening captured in pixels here at http://www.dmroth.com/cycling/circulus/index2.html