The day the bicycles owned the freeways


Day 26: Portland Bridge Pedal, 35 miles

My brother James had asked me to ride the Bridge Pedal often, maybe every year since I moved back to Oregon? I thought, what’s so special about riding over a bunch of bridges in a big city?  Now I know what’s so special.

All of the 10 Willamette River bridges are open to bicycles, most completely closed to auto and truck traffic.  A looping route of major arterials is blocked off, with police holding cross traffic off.  Cyclists ride through stop signs and red lights!  Best of all, the I-5 and I-405 bridges were closed to traffic.

As I sailed down the onramp to the Marquam Bridge, a woman next to me hooted for joy.  I immediately caught the spirit too.  We owned the freeways that day.  All 6 lanes.  Thousands of bicycles, 20,000 to be exact.  Blues bands and taiko drummers and food booths greeted us on the freeway bridges.

I shot this video as I sailed off the Freemont Bridge, very bumpy due to the pitted concrete surface, but then is smoothed out as I rolled onto the asphalt freeway surface.  What a true joy, descending with 6 lanes clear, nearly 40mph, the day the bicycles owned the freeways.

One rant:  To the Bike n’ Hike mechanic wearing the Bono-styled sunglasses (you know who you are).  Thanks for adjusting my seat. It doesn’t hurt quite as much.  But I didn’t appreciate your snarky comment that my vintage bicycle is a good bike, but ‘really needs a wash’.

Yes, I will admit that my 1985 Miyata 210 is more that a bit dirty.  That’s because I RIDE it.  Unlike so many expensive trophy bikes hanging from suburban garage ceilings.

And I will keep riding it.  And I think I will be back for the Bridge Pedal again next year.  Thanks for inviting me James!


Fun map and stats by Google MyTracks: msa=0&msid= 217209278624762451509. 0004c728c5ab1a72fd894

Bridge Pedal 2012
Total distance: 34.7 mi
Total time: 2:31:11
Average speed: 13.8 mi/h
Max speed: 38.1 mi/h
Elevation gain: 2240 ft

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