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Friday, June 15, 2012

(My) Pedalpalooza week in review: Thurs 7 - Wed 13 June

Hello friends. You may have noticed that this blog has been a bit quiet as of late. And it is not for a lack of things going in my life, or things to talk about. That's because we're in the midst of Pedalpalooza, Portland's annual three-plus week, several hundred individual event festival of bicycle fun. You can see all the action over here.

So I'm a bit behind in reporting on the fun, plus wrapping up the reports of my PDX-Oly-Astoria Bike Tour. They will come, believe me you. But now is a good time to talk about my experiences during the first full week of Pedalpalooza.

And...well, I missed the first couple days of action. Thursday June 7th April and myself were returning from Astoria. We could have caught the early bus in order to make the Kickoff Parade, but didn't. We wanted to spend more time in Astoria. And while I was home on Friday June 8th and the calendar had its share of events, nothing really captivated me, nor did the crappy weather encourage bike riding.

So the first ride I participated in was...the Doctor Who Ride on Saturday June 8th. The ride rode around NE Portland with lots of people in Doctor Who themed outfits (April won a prize for her Sarah Jane Smith costume) and a stop at Voodoo Doughnuts where we consumed exterminated donuts in the shape of Daleks.

Then I rode southward to Sellwood to catch the Hott Sock Ride as it was at everyone's favorite sock store, Sock Dreams. About 50 people were in attendance and the store was jammed. We then rode to the Sock it to Me warehouse for more fun and libations.
Some friends I found in Helvetia
Sunday June 9th was a big biking day. I hopped on the MAX and headed to the westside suburbs. The afternoon ride was the Helvetia Ride through the rural northern reaches of Washington County. This area is a highly productive agricultural region with some of the best soil on earth, but is facing pressure from ever-expanding suburban encroachment. So this ride was an opportunity to hear about the struggles while riding through some beautiful countryside. The ride itself was a loop of about 16 miles. But after our refreshment stop at Helvetia Tavern, I decided to go my own way and ride back over to Portland. This means not only circumnavigating the edges of Portland's suburban reach, but crossing the West Hills. I managed to find a pretty decent (if not a little busy) route using West Union Road and then Thompson Street, which crested the West Hills at a summit of 1100 feet (335 m).
Cresting the summit
After a great downhill and a stop to catch a drink with Steph, I met April over at Irving Park where the Sunset Mystery Ride was departing from. About 100 folks rode down to the underutilized area at the edge of Union Pacific's Albina yard to watch the sun go down over those West Hills. Of course ending a ride on Union Pacific property is not that great of an idea, so after the Portland Police asked us to leave we moved a couple blocks to the backup location to hang out.

Monday June 11th was the first event I hosted, the Bike Touring Workshop. We had about 20 people show up for this workshop at Velo Cult, and Ed ably helped me with the presentation. And hopefully I've converted a few more people to the world of bike touring!

Tuesday June 12th was the Future of News Ride, a ride hosted by Portland Afoot dude Michael Anderson. It toured downtown, stopping at several spots where media has existed, past and present. After that I high-tailed it to Velo Cult to get some emergency bike work done. And at the moment I showed up the Yehuda Moon Ride descended on the shop! I got to be on another ride without even trying.

Wednesday June 13th was the second event/ride I led for Pedalpalooza, the Midweek Columbia Gorge Ride. Doing a 30-50 mile ride during the day on a weekday is a good gauge to see how Portland's unemployment rate is doing. When I led it in 2009 we had 45 people. In 2010 we had about 20. And this year? Six total. Guess our economy has improved. Anyway, our small and nimble group left from the Ruby Junction MAX station and rode the 15 miles up to Women's Forum and Crown Point out in the Gorge, then turned around and hit up a taproom in Troutdale before concluding the ride. The weather was pretty good for a longer ride: a mix of overcast to partly cloudy with a temp never cracking above 68F/20C. I was pretty wiped after the ride. Even though the total ride length was 30 miles, I rode to and from the start, adding 10 miles each way to give me a daily mileage of 50.

And now what does this week have in store?

I have two events that I'll be leading or co-leading. On Sunday June 17 I help Ed with the Portland Perimeter Populaire. And on Monday June 18 I'll be leading whoever's interested on an overnight bike camping expedition to Battle Ground Lake State Park in Washington.

If you are in town, hope you can come. And look for another Pedalpalooza update soon!

The Numbers:
Rides/Events I have participated this past week: 8
Ride/Events I have led this past week: 2


  1. Did they say anything about the Swiss settlers there or the Linden trees (lime trees in English?) on the Helvetia ride?

  2. Wow. Wow again. That's a great cycling festival. The Dr. Who ride could only happen if you had a very healthy, and diverse, biking population!


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