February 7th, 2008 5:33 pm | by JOHN MINERVINI News | Posted In: Sports

Spinning Their Wheels: Portland's Stationary Bike Race

Tags: Outdoors

Roller Racing, as a sport, seems perfectly tailored to Portland winters. It combines our fanatical love of things bicyclical with a desire to stay indoors when the weather's crummy. Wait, you say, an indoor bike race? Yes of course—didn't we mention? The bikes—they don't move.

You might have thought stationary biking was an activity reserved for the overweight and unsexy. You would be wrong. Roller Racing has been a prime-time sport in the UK—akin in its spectacle and athleticism to boxing, here—since the 1950's. Unlike at the gym, the bikes are not affixed to the rolling mechanisms, so competitors must balance as they race.

Now, for the first time ever, Americans can experience the intensity. This Saturday (Feb. 9), at 8 pm, British-based Rapha Racing is hosting a 500m race at the Crane Building in NW Portland. The winner walks away with a custom Ira Ryan frame.

Portland is fielding 16 teams for the bout, but don't worry if you want to race and you're not registered. Friday (Feb. 8), from 4-10 pm, there will be open qualifying rounds held at the Crane Building. The top three entrants will compete in Saturday's race. So skip the layers of Gore-tex, and put your pedaling shoes on.

[photo from Rapha Racing]
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