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:
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