The inaugural Ladd’s 500 – Portland’s version of NASCAR – gets rave reviews

The inaugural Ladd’s 500 – Portland’s version of NASCAR – gets rave reviews

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Team Grave Neutral kept riders fed while the Belligerantes bike club grilled in the infield.
(Photos: Josh Roppo)

The Ladd’s 500 went off without a hitch on Saturday. And given the reactions we’ve seen so far, it appears the organizers have hatched a grand new Portland tradition.

For the uninitiated, Ladd Circle is a small traffic circle in the middle of the Ladd’s Addition neighborhood of inner southeast Portland. It sits along a very popular bike route and the inside of the circle is a city park. In the spirit of events like Zoobomb, Pedalpalooza, and the Thursday Night Ride, organizers of the Ladd’s 500 just wanted to have fun on their bikes in a creative, fun, and respectful way. Imagine a bunch of fun-loving people pedaling around the circle on all types of crazy bikes while a big group picnic and BBQ went on in the infield. It was like the Portland bike scene’s version of the Indy 500, complete with cheering fans, a pit lane, teams, and even a leaderboard to keep track of the lap counts.

Josh Roppo was there most of the day taking photos and hanging out. He said the event drew a diverse group of onlookers and participants. “Some riders really wanted to win, some just have fun, but by the end everyone wanted to finish!”

500 laps is roughly 75 miles so it wasn’t easy to finish — especially if you were like the team on the cargo bike that was grilling cheeseburgers while they went around.

There was some concern before the event about how the neighbors would respond (it’s a quiet residential area that has complained loudly about stop-sign running over the years). But Roppo said everything went smoothly. “The neighbors seemed really friendly,” he said. “Traffic really wasn’t a problem either. One nearby family came out and kids sold soda on the sidewalk.” Organizers made it clear that it wasn’t a race (it was a relay) and among the rules were: “Try not to fuck with cars. This is not a closed course, share the right of way,” and “Absolutely don’t fuck with pedestrians. Hitting a ped will result in a DQ.”

Here are a few more of Roppo’s photos:

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Solo winner Nathan Jones crossing the finish line after 500 laps (he switched between a fixie and a fat bike).







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What fun!

For more coverage check out the posts on the event’s Facebook page and read this writeup from Aixe Djelal on Medium.

— Jonathan Maus, (503) 706-8804 – jonathan@bikeportland.org

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