Photo of the day


by Frank Steele on Aug 13, 2006 at 8:47 PM

Fremont Bridge during Bridge Pedal 2006

Fremont Bridge, by Paul Bausch.

Congratulations to everyone who participated in Providence Bridge Pedal (route map) in Portland today. The Bridge Pedal covers 6, 8, or 10 of the city’s bridges over the Willamette River, with ride distances up to 38 miles.

The City of Portland and Oregon DOT close some of the route to cars for the duration of the ride, and I saw that at least one of the bridges (Hawthorne Bridge) had fresh plywood placed over the metal bridge lanes just for the ride.

Organizers made a number of changes this year to address complaints after last year’s ride, including encouraging fast riders to take off at 6:30 a.m. and restricting kids riding solo to the shorter rides. If you rode, how did the changes work?

About 15,000 riders reportedly participated, which would make the Bridge Pedal the 3rd biggest ride in the US, behind the Five Boro Bike Tour in New York and the 20,000-rider Bike the Drive in Chicago (others, anyone?).


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I rode the Bridge Pedal for the first time this year, and it was fantastic. I heard all the complaints with last year’s ride on the local Bike Portland site, and it seems as if Providence took all the suggestions to heart: they staggered start times, had alternate paths for different rides, and removed a large number of obstacles from the main attraction bridges. There were, obviously, still some flaws, but on a ride this big and with this many people, I was amazed at how few times I wanted to reach out and kill someone with my gloved hands.

Even beyond riding my bike on the freeway, or on the two bridges usually closed to bikes and peds, one of my favorite things was the Root Beer Garden atop the Marquam Bridge. As a huge root beer fan, there was nothing like huffing up the incline, taking in the view, and being handed a frosty cup of root brew straight from the keg!


I didn’t ride in last year’s traffic jam, but I did ride today and I thought the route was fine with the exception of one (substantial) bottle-neck.  The adjustments they made kept most of the ride fairly spread out and made the bridges easy to navigate and a lot of fun.  (Some of my pictures are already up here; more later).  I had such a great time, I’ve been encouraging everyone I know to do it next year.

Pam and I were drove to Portland for the Gresham Criterium (a great race) and saw all the cyclists on the bridge. It was quite a day for cycling in Portland!

While there I gave away a bike hugger shirt to the race promoters as a prime and we’re shipping shirts out today, so they’re going to start showing up!

Funny, Byron… if you and the little lady had come up a day earlier, you could have taken in the Portland Twilight Criterium as well. You could have had a PDX cycling trifecta!


As it is, I’ll be racing tonight at PIR!