Saturday, June 13, 2009

Cirque du Cycling

So, today is the 3rd day of Pedalpalooza. I didn't get around to see any of it the first two days. That mostly has to do with the fact that my left arm and hand is still not completely healed yet and since most of the Pedalpalooza events are rides of some kind or other, I didn't quite feel up to it. However today, I was able to see the Cirque du Cycling event. It was easy. All I had to do was go out the door and I was already there. Cirque du Cycling was taking place right where I live.

Cirque du Cycling
(Team Beer folks waiting for the Art bike parade to begin)

I mostly saw two things there. One was the Art bike parade. Actually, what I saw was mostly people waiting around to begin the parade. It was fun though. All kinds of people on various different bikes were gathered there. It was entertaining just sitting there people watching.

Cirque du Cycling

The other thing I saw was the bike race. Criterium race to be exact. A criterium race is a race where the racers go around a short loop of city streets. It's the most popular kind of racing in the US and is maybe more entertaining for the spectators than a point to point race, but it wasn't the kind of racing I liked to do myself when I was a racer. Well, it's kind of fun going fast around city streets in front of a crowd, but I preferred longer road races with some climbing involved. This race didn't seem to be a very high profile race. Last year, I saw a part of the Mt. Hood Classic, which featured some top domestic Professional teams, but this one was comprised mostly of local amateurs. It was fun to see though. It had been like a year since I saw a bike race in person. (I like to follow Pro cycling on the internet and Kao is patient with me when I watch the Giro d'Italia or the Tour.) It is hard to replicate that kind of speed outside of a race, so it seems shocking to see especially because you're used to the speed of regular cycling in the city.

Cirque du Cycling

I don't have the desire to go back into racing. I think even if I did, I may not be physically capable of keeping up with the other racers. What I envy more is just to be able to ride freely on the streets without having to worry about cars or stopping. Portland is more bike friendly compared with other North American cities, but I think it still needs more improvement compared with more bike friendly cities of Europe.

other things I saw:

Civia bikes
Cirque du Cycling

I had read on their blog that they would be coming to this event, so I was hoping I could test ride one, but they just had a total of 3 bikes on display. I stared at the bikes and flipped through the catalog for a while, but the two guys that were there either didn't notice me or just plain ignored me. It's too bad. I like Civia bikes. They are well designed and seem perfect for everyday riding.

Naked Bike Ride

(World Naked Bike Ride London 2008)

During the Art bike parade, a big group of naked people on bikes suddenly turned up. I think it was maybe part of the World Naked Bike Ride. It was totally unexpected, but it didn't seem in anyway sexual or indecent to me. I'm used to seeing a bunch of naked people (only men though) in public baths in Japan, so it was kind of like that only everyone was outside and riding bikes. It must be quite strange to be naked in public. Once in a while, I have dreams where I am naked in public and can't seem to find any clothes to wear. Taking part in this might be sort of living out a dream in that case. Good thing they are on bikes, so as soon as people see you, you are gone in a swish, so there is no time for any awkwardness. I don't have any interest in taking part in it, but it's fine with me if other people do it.

The thing that gets me down though about seeing all these people on bikes today, is that because of my left arm, I can't enjoy riding my bike as much. Especially on my road bike, I find that the road bike riding position puts quite a stress on your arm and hand. I mentioned in the last post that I am converting Kao's bike. I put in an order for some parts from Velo Orange yesterday. I can't wait for them to get here. Then I will have a bike that should be easier on my arm than the road bike.

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