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The lion sleeps: No (official) "Ronde" ride this year - UPDATED

Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on February 16th, 2010 at 3:44 pm

Tour of Flanders, Portland-Style - De Ronde-7
An estimated 600 riders turned
out for "De Ronde" last year.
(Photos © J. Maus)

The De Ronde van Oeste Portlandia -- a ride through Portland's hills inspired by the classic Tour of Flanders -- will not be held this year.

With the ride's April date approaching, I've been getting a steady stream of emails about it. Thanks to the ride's popularity (spurred in part by great coverage on Oregon Public Broadcasting last year) people are already making plans to ride it. But there will not be a fourth annual De Ronde...at least it won't be publicly announced.

A message on the ride's website reads:

"We're sorry. No official RondePDX will take place this year. An invitational ride for friends will take place at 10:00am the day before the 2010 Amstel Gold."

Tour of Flanders, Portland-Style - De Ronde-19
Ride between the lions.

The Ronde was first held in 2007. 100 riders showed up that first year and it was an instant classic. In 2008, 300 people showed up to test their mettle against the 45 mile route that included nearly 8,000 feet of elevation gain. On April of last year, the ride ballooned to nearly 600 riders.

With all the media attention and huge number of participants, perhaps ride organizers want to let the ride cool off. The Ronde has always been free and held without formal permits, course closures, or medical support.

This news will disappoint many people who planned to do the ride, but it's worth noting that the Lion of Flanders stencil markings are still visible and everyone is free to do the route on their own or with an informal group.

UPDATE: To clarify. Yes, the ride will happen this year, but not in its usual capacity. The ride's start location will not be publicized and organizers are hoping it spreads only through word of mouth.

Check out RondePDX.com.


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Comments
  • michael downes February 16, 2010 at 4:15 pm

    Bummer! Took part last year for the first time and got torched so this year I have been training like crazy to get in shape.........but all for naught! Typical.

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  • craig February 16, 2010 at 4:22 pm

    "An invitational ride for friends will take place at 10:00am the day before the 2010 Amstel Gold"...

    ...read "10am April 17th"

    "invitational ride" sounds like an non-invitation to a non-event. Isn't that what De Ronde really is?

    So what's different this year?

    [I missed the obvious subtext at first, but a friend clued me in]

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  • beth h February 16, 2010 at 4:41 pm

    This reminds me of taking a ride on the old Grey Rabbit bus line about 25 years ago. The driver said that in exchange for the cheapest Portland-to_SF fare in the universe, we had to play incognito. If we were stopped we were instructed to tell the police that all eightteen of us were hitchhikers.

    The "invitational" aspect of the Ronde doesn't feel all that different...

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  • Jeff February 16, 2010 at 7:08 pm

    Sounds like all of you should make your own crushing ride.

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  • drew February 16, 2010 at 8:04 pm

    Most of the lions and arrows are still visible, but is best to take a map with directions if you want to stay on course. Some crucial turns are worn away by car traffic.

    It's a great route; I did it twice this year already. Takes me 5 or 6 hours at a civilized pace.

    I would be nervous trying to organize a ride that went the wrong way up the street a few times. Maybe by riding it by yourself or in small groups (as opposed to a huge organized mass start) the competitive aspect won't be emphasized, and riders can enjoy it even more. Lots of great scenery, houses, and gardens to admire.

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  • Jed February 16, 2010 at 8:42 pm

    Good call. The ride was too big last year. I saw ambulances twice and that was two times too many. When a ride gets as big as it was last year, it really should be formalized. In any case, I will miss the Ronde this year as I look forward to it since I first did it two years ago. Riding the course without all of the other riders won't be the same, but I'll do it anyway. Anyone want to join me?

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  • Lana Atchley February 16, 2010 at 11:57 pm

    I am so sad. My last visit to Portland had included a few of the climbs of the Ronde. I was planning a trip in April to do the ride with the great crowd of Portlandia folks. I am planning on moving to PDX soon after. How can we get the Ronde kick started and ready to roll?

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  • Disappointed February 17, 2010 at 6:39 am

    Nooooooooooooo!

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  • Amos February 17, 2010 at 8:02 am

    Sweet title, Jonathan :)

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  • bahueh February 17, 2010 at 8:17 am

    either Maus is not doing his homework or is in on the prank.

    There has never been an official Ronde...there will never be an official Ronde. Craig is correct...

    so the question begs...how many friends do you have on April 17th? I'm guessing well over 700 this year...

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    • Jonathan Maus (Editor-in-Chief) February 17, 2010 at 9:08 am

      bahueh,

      thanks.. but i actually did my "homework." this is a confusing story.. In years past it has been official in the sense that there was a known start time and location that was publicized beforehand (so much so that a film crew from OPB was able to show up, interview the organizers, etc...). Obviously I realize it is not "official" like Bridge Pedal or something like that. This year, organizers told me it would not happen... and then they followed up by clarifying that it would happen but it would be by invite of friends only.

      thanks for your comment.

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  • michael downes February 17, 2010 at 8:58 am

    Hmmm.....I guess I am going to be at NW 31st & Industrial around 10am on the 17th after all. Anyone else coming?

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  • Argentius February 17, 2010 at 9:14 am

    If theoretically I am in town on the 17th of April, then I might just have quite a few more friends than usual that day. We may even go for a bike ride...

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  • bahueh February 17, 2010 at 9:36 am

    I'm guessing they may have taken some heat for the size of this unofficial ride last year...if it isn't permitted, they're not responsible for who shows up.

    like most things Portland related to bikes...could be becoming a victim of its own popularity...

    I would recommend anyone who wants to do it to start the ride a few minutes late or a few minutes early to help thin the herd...

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  • Dabby February 17, 2010 at 10:04 am

    What is the first rule of Fight Club?

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  • Brad Ross February 17, 2010 at 10:19 am

    The Lions on the road will be getting a fresh coat of paint starting here this week. There are two new climbs this year, so if you think you know the route, pay attention anyway.

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  • redhippie February 17, 2010 at 2:27 pm

    It is interesting that portland is such a bike town but has no critical mass. I think we have transended critical mass and learned to work the system. Therefore, De Ronde is Portlands answer to it. Here, mass outlaws groups of bikers are for fun and City Hall is for getting stuff done. Democracy alive and well!

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  • redhippie February 17, 2010 at 2:28 pm

    Oh yeah, What is the second rule of fight club?

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  • Loren February 17, 2010 at 4:40 pm

    I put some huge gears on my bike, a made promise I shall return.Maybe I'll do it a day after the unofficial ride with some friends of my own. Sounds like more fun anyhow.

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  • Paul Tay February 17, 2010 at 6:13 pm

    PDX never ceases to amaze me. Peeps will even show for non-events? Wow.

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  • Zaphod February 17, 2010 at 8:40 pm

    The thing I love/hate about Rhonde's past is when you're heading towards the summit, you fill with pride and hubris. You think, "Hey, I crushed this thing." Then the road points downhill and much of your hard earned altitude must be regained again. Then... in the end... it crushes you. Bastard.

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  • muddy joker February 17, 2010 at 9:13 pm

    Count me in...Thanks for the invite B.R...I wouldn't miss it!!!

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  • Kevin Williams February 18, 2010 at 11:38 am

    I second that, muddy joker. Thanks Brad for repainting the lions!

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  • Ruthie March 8, 2010 at 10:52 am

    They're just afraid of me and my panniers killing it again this year. =P

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  • Steve bice April 6, 2010 at 9:40 pm

    The DeRonde ride is on right? April 17th 10 am Right? I'm coming up from Corvallis Starts at 31st & Industrial Right? let me know thanks!!!

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