Southeast Portland resident and hobbyist movie maker Merritt Raitt debuted a new film at Filmed by Bike over the weekend. Circle Century documents his attempt to ride 100 miles, non-stop around Ladd Circle.
Raitt, who lives just a few houses down from the circle, accomplished his feat back in August 2011 but his movie has just now been released to the public. I followed up with Merritt to ask him a bit more about what it was like to ride a 0.15 mile loop of a neighborhood street 660 times without any breaks.
“Everyone asks if I got dizzy,” says Raitt, ” But it was a large enough radius that it really did not seem like constant turning.” Raitt is a very fit rider and he underestimated how hard the ride would be. He even did a 30-mile ride that same morning (up NW Germantown to Skyline Blvd). The Circle Century turned out to be tougher than expected: “I think since there was no terrain I tended to stay in the same position on the bike and used less variety of muscles than usual so it turned out to be a much harder ride than I thought.”
Throughout the day, many people from the neighborhood came out to watch. One group of kids set up a lemonade stand and offered Raitt free hand-ups as he went by (he also took coffee hand-ups from his family car). People also rode along with him, including his son and a friend on a tall bike. He figures he averaged about 20 mph, so he tended to be going much faster than average bike traffic.
As for traffic through the circle, Raitt said he had several cars roll through the stop signs and cut him off. “I’m not sure how well it is comes of in the movie but that red pickup came pretty close.”
Check it out for yourself.