The brainchild an ex-county commissioner, Rick Bauman, Bridge Pedal has exploded since its rough beginning 10 years ago to becoming the place to be on the third Sunday of August. 20,000 or so riders packed the streets and bridges today, so many, in fact, that there were traffic jams!!!
But, the big difference was, everyone was smiling from ear to ear.
Modeled on a famous ride in Montreal, the Bridge Pedal offers something for everyone, from the die hard racer on their 15 lb. Speed mobiles (some of whom rode the 38 mile loop twice!) to families riding old street bikes pulled out of the garage just for this event. I saw riders in tu-tus and riders in pirate gear. There was even a bicycle for four!
While the event is a bit like Disneyland’s ersatz Main Street with the bridges and streets closed to traffic with volunteers (THANK YOU
VOLUNTEERS!) at every corner, we have found that getting people out on their bikes for events like this opens their minds to the idea that this could just possibly be something to use to get to the store, to school or even to work!
From its humble beginnings as almost a pirate ride, with ODOT, the police, PDOT and everyone else grumbling about such a unorthodox use of the roads (they’re for cars, dammit), the Bridge Pedal has become the place to see and be seen by agencies and politicos. Besides myself, there were 3 Metro Councilors and I saw Mayor Potter and City Councilor Sam Adams.
We owe a lot in this town to people like Rick Bauman, whose craziness is infectious and fun. Closing down Interstate Highways so the people can have fun?! Putting a bike helmet on Portlandia!?
Thank you Rick. Thank you Providence. Thank you Portland!