Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on June 25th, 2009 at 4:27 pm
*Scroll down for ride report, photos and video
-More images Video below-
(Photos © J. Maus)
The King of Pop, Michael Jackson, is dead.
This very sad news has led to respond with a bike ride, full of Michael Jackson music and memories.
Meet at 6:30 at the Peace Garden above the Eastbank Esplanade at east end of the Steel Bridge.
We'll hope to have a sound system with Michael Jackson music for sing-alongs and hopefully a microphone set up for karaoke opportunities. If you have gloves, please wear only one in honor of this great artist who had such a profound impact on many of our lives.
Moonwalking, pelvic thrusts, glitterly costumes, and synchronized dancing are strongly encouraged. Spread the word.
UPDATE - Ride Report
About 60 or so of us met at the Peace Garden. People showed up with one glove, sequins, leather jackets with multiple zippers. One guy even had a surgeon's mask on. Before we rolled out, I read from Michael Jackson's Wikipedia page and then introduced Deacon Amos Hunter from the Bike Temple. The Deacon put together a great eulogy on very short notice. Here is a slightly shortened version (watch video of it below):
Today we remember and morn a soul who has touched the lives of everyone in this group, this community, and quite likely nearly every living person on this planet. We remember Michael Jackson for his voice, his spirit, and his charm. Who, since his early youth provided the world with a soundtrack for their lives...
It is undeniable that Michael's music touched the world, but why then are we, a community of cyclists, gathered this evening to remember a man who cannot be directly connected to the cause we all connect with? A man who will surely in no one's mind be remembered as an advocate, activist, or enthusiast of bicycles?
The answer is simple. Rhythm makes a better movement.
Michael's music, and the music inspired by him, has always been with us on our journey; from the records we listened to while tuning up the commuter bike, to the tracks on our iPods we sing loudly along to while on that dark stretch of road when we're sure no one is listening, to the bumping and thumping sound trailers we danced with while towing out to MMR's [Midnight Mystery Rides], Droupout Rides [Dropout is a local bike group], and dance parties.
The rhythm of good pop music is as strong as any words of encouragement, as gratifying as any awards, and as fulfilling as a long ride in the country.
Our song is the bicycle, and our movement is it's cause. So tonight we salute the man who brought us a rhythm suitable enough to drive that cause. And who, no matter what can be said about him, surely never lost his passion. After all, it was Michael who once told us "don't stop till you get enough."
After those inspiring words, we danced to a few tunes and then headed north up N. Williams Ave. By this time the group was about 80 people strong. We stopped in Dawson Park for another dance break and I asked the crowd to share Michael Jackson memories.
"The first two tapes I ever bought were Bad and Thriller" one guy said. Another guy said he did the whole dance routine from Smooth Criminal at his high school talent show.
an MJ sticker on his tob tube
(which had been there for years).
From there, we rolled to N. Alberta Street and headed for Last Thursday. We went down to N. Going to go through neighborhoods instead of the main street, which was a great idea (thanks Carl!) because we noticed many people on their porches and on side streets who were very glad to see us. It was priceless to see the faces as people realized what we were riding for.
A woman waiting for the bus on the sidewalk started lip-syncing Billie Jean. A guy walking by busted out with some MJ moves.
Eventually we rolled on the bustling, carfree Last Thursday event at NE 18th and Alberta. At 19th we stopped in the middle of the street for a big dance party. The crowds loved it and many of them joined in.
It was great to have everyone come together and have some fun tonight in memory of Michael Jackson. And yes, I realize he has a very controversial and checkered personal history. And yes, I realize there are perhaps more important things to occupy our time and brains with. But Michael Jackson was a big deal to a lot of people and there was a need to express that and it was great to do it with our community and on bikes.
Thanks to everyone that showed up and a special thanks to those with sound systems and MP3 players (especially Dan Kaufman who rolled up from Sellwood with his three boys!).
Here are a few videos taken by people on the ride...
Me doing my best MJ moves (try not to laugh):
The Oregonian put up two videos (and a report of the ride). Here we are dancing to Beat It:
And here's the eulogy by Deacon Amos Hunter:
The crowd on Alberta going zombie to Thriller: