Cirque do SoGay rides again this Saturday

Cirque do SoGay rides again this Saturday
Photo by Joe Sullivan

The fifth annual Cirque du SoGay launches from Peace Coffee this Saturday. The ride, hosted by the Queer Bike Gang, is designed to connect participants to LGBTQ hotspots and resources through a scavenger hunt via bicycle. The theme this year is "Beyond Marriage," acknowledging that Minnesota's legalization of gay marriage doesn't conclude the LGBTQ struggle for civil rights.

"Aside from the fact that marriage isn't what everybody wants, there a lot of issues affecting queer people that still need to be addressed," says E.G. Nelson, Queer Bike Gang coordinator.

One stop along last year's route
One stop along last year's route
Photo by Joe Sullivan

Nelson is concerned how after a successful campaign, folks sometimes slide into complacency. "[The event] is about harnessing the energy that's out there now, and inspiring people to go after some of these other opportunities," she says. Task checkpoints might address candidates up for election, referendums, or issues surrounding homeless LGBTQ youth. Being clever (and wearing a helmet) may score you cool bike- or queer-related prizes.

As usual, there are two route options for participants: The "Virgin," which is around 15 miles, and the "Harder!Faster" which is about 25 to 30 miles. Nelson calculated the distances herself by plotting out the quickest way to connect all the meet-up points. "So, [the course] could be a lot longer than that. Or, assuming that people are smarter than me -- and they probably are -- it might be shorter," she says. The stops remain secret until the start of the race, and are usually nonprofits or locations with a close tie to the ride's theme.

Cirque do SoGay rides again this Saturday
Photo by Joe Sullivan

The race promises to offer the usual kitsch and charm that Cirque du SoGay is known for, but with some educational pieces in the mix. "It's another entry point for people to get involved in their community, if they're not already involved in a different, more traditional channel," says Nelson.

Admiration for the Babes in Bikeland, Riverwest 24, and Powderhorn24 alleycats was what originally got Nelson scheming about creating Cirque du SoGay. "I just thought, 'What are some things that I think would be fun?' and then put them together," she says.

The ride finishes at the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre with a party that officially starts at 8 p.m. There will also be dancing and performances, and rumor has it that there will be a bike-powered blender. A Surly Disc Trucker bicycle is the biggest prize up for grabs.


Cirque du SoGay
4 p.m. registration; launch at 5 p.m.
Peace Coffee
2801 21st Ave. S., Minneapolis
Visit to register.

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Peace Coffee

2801 21st Ave. S.
Minneapolis, MN 55407


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