View Full Version : Official '07 Bridge Pedal Posts

Simple Nature
08-12-2007, 11:02 AM
Please add your 2007 Portland Bridge pedal experience here:

Simple Nature
08-12-2007, 11:19 AM
...and I'll start. It was a pretty good start for the 10 bridge ride as the sun was rising and the temperature was perfect for the event.

I would really like to know where all the recumbents are. I saw less than half a dozen trikes and only a handful of 2-wheel 'bents.

Something happened at the Ross Island bridge because all of the sudden... everything stopped! Seems the timing of the 6 and 8 bridge group mixed right in with the bulk of the 10 bridge group.

If you saw the yellow/orange recumbent trike, you saw me... and if I came flying by and startled anyone... official appologies offered.

Stats: 2 hours 55 minutes for 32 miles with a top speed at 34mph (Whooohooo) & part-taken in one rest stop. 7:00am start and less than a dozen drops of rain felt on the way up to St. John's bridge. All captured on my Motionlingo Adeo (except the raindrops).

Need more water along the course! Special thanks to all the great volunteers!

08-12-2007, 01:06 PM
I had a good time, but I'm a bit disappointed. I was forced to walk my bike across Hawthorne, Ross Island, and Broadway due to the completely clogged roadway. I can do that any day. By the time I got across the Fremont, I was told that I was on my own for the St Johns, as they were no longer supporting the ride up there. I was late for the St Johns only because of their poor planning. So I paid for 10 bridges but got only 6. Even though it is a fundraiser, I may ask for some of my money back as I feel like they did not deliver what they promised. I will at least complain and suggest that they stagger people more next time.

08-12-2007, 02:19 PM
This ride seems to be in no small part a victim of its own success. Years of horror stories have kept me away from it, but my partner surprised me a few days ago by suggesting we ride the 10 bridge route. We registered somewhat warily, but figured that even if it was wildly crowded, we'd still have the benefit of a supported ride completely void of cars!

And wildly crowded it was. We left in the third or fourth wave of the 7am start and it never really stopped being wall-to-wall bikes for the entirety of the ride. The biggest problem from my perspective was not the folks who dig up their Magnas and old Schwinn World Travelers once a year for this ride, but the kitted-out roadies whizzing by when there really was no room to do so. It's incredibly dumb, not to mention dangerous, to sign up for this ride thinking one can average 20MPH come hell or high water. Take it out to Hillsboro/North Plains, Lance.

We saw on more than one occasion someone with their front wheel stuck in the gaps built into various bridges. One woman got her wheel stuck so badly on the Morrison that she had to stand and work at pulling it out for a good while. The train tracks on the east side after the Marquam were also pretty problematic, with one narrow sheet laid down over the tracks that everyone was supposed to squeeze in and use to cross them. The people who didn't want to wait for this bottleneck were rewarded with getting their wheels caught in the tracks at an alarming rate. The volunteer manning this area hollered at us to be careful and that 11 people by that point had gone down there. We saw a couple more fall just passing through!

The Ross Island bottleneck was pretty lengthy, even in the early hours. What struck me when we finally got moving again was how courteous everyone was-- no one darted around impatiently as one might expect after such a long time walking our bikes.

There were a TON of volunteers, literally one every block or so for the majority of the route. They were 99% of the time pleasant and helpful. It would've been hard to get lost with all of the support along the course. That was pretty great!

The best part of the ride was probably the Fremont Bridge-- bagpipers, incredible view, Bike Gallery lending a hand to folks with technical problems. My bike's chain started running a bit dry and the kind folks there handed me their chain lube, I rectified the situation, and we were on our way. Thanks, Bike Gallery!

My partner and I enjoyed ourselves, but when we reached the finish line we turned to one another and said, "That was fun, but I don't think we need to do this again." I think it's something every Portland bike nerd should experience at least once, but leave the road bike at home, man!

08-12-2007, 02:55 PM
This was my first time doing the Bridge Pedal, and I had a blast! I agree with some of the glitches that people experienced, but to have the chance to bike along some places that I can only go in my car normally was glorious and heady. While there were spots that were rather congested, there were just as many, if not more, spots where I could pedal furiously along to my heart's content. I started at 7:20 and finished at 9:25 on the 8-bridge route, just in time to sing in the choir at church downtown--not bad for a tire tyro. :D

And it cannot be emphasized too much--THANK YOU! to all the wonderful volunteers. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU. I'm sure an event like this is impossible without the support and kindness of so many volunteers. From the guy at the bottom of the Water Avenue exit in the gorilla suit handing out bananas to the patient folks at the registration desks to all the great folks making sure we were fed and hydrated and mechanicked--THANK YOU!

Looking forward to next year!

Jean M.

08-12-2007, 03:24 PM
I had a great time at Bridge Pedal doing the 10 bridge ride. I did get stuck in the huge traffic jam (the wave was cool!) getting onto the Ross Island Bridge, and like others, also had to walk my bike across the Hawthorne bridge, but after that, the traffic cleared up and we were able to cruise along at a nice pace, making the 11:30 cutoff for the Fremont Bridge and getting on up to the St. John's in good time after that.

I do agree that staggering the start times better could help to alleviate the traffic problems at the start of the ride, but the Ross Is. Bridge traffic flow was also severely hampered by only one lane of travel (and the sidewalk). Perhaps an extra lane for bike travel will be needed next year.

Someone else mentioned the speedy racers being hazards. I have to say that I didn't mind the faster riders that much, but that I wish that more of them would use audible warnings (or bells) and pass to the left. I kept a more or less intermediate pace, but was passed many times without warning and from all directions by riders traveling at fast speeds. Part of this was because many slower riders (and some trailers) were riding to the left. A little more emphasis on getting the basics of bike safety and road courtesy across to all the riders would be a valuable thing, IMO.

All in all, a great time was had. Thank you to all the volunteers who put their energy into making the ride come together!

08-12-2007, 05:20 PM
It was a blast. My son and I rode downtown from North Portland in time for a 7:30a start on the 8-Bridge ride. We got to start pretty quickly and had basically clear pedaling until about a 5 minute walk on the Ross Island bridge. After that the only complaints I have are about the seemingly unaccompanied children riding a disatance that is clearly beyond their skill-level and conditioning and the oh-so styling roadies who apparently thought they got rewarded based on matching lycra outfits and speed. I consider myself a very competent and considerate cyclist and I found my tongue bleeding quite a bit from all the biting it endured. Seems like the answer is to DRASTICALLY change the starting points for the different length rides or maybe settle on one route and focus more on staggering. Don't know how fast or how far...don't care...had fun.

Jeff Wills
08-12-2007, 08:34 PM
My wife and I did the 12-bridge option: I-205 from Vancouver, the 10-bridge route, and the I-5 bridge back home. We were on the road at 5:45 AM to make it to the start early, but we still got hung up a bunch of times at choke points. I think the route down to the Sellwood bridge was pretty neat (I hadn't seen it before) and the traffic jam getting on to the Ross Island bridge was the worst part. We didn't wait as long as others did- maybe 20 minutes. In past years the Ross Island crossing was two lanes for bikes- it's silly to only have one lane for the bikes, particularly when the traffic cones get knocked over and the caution tape is flying in the wind.

We encountered no more than the expected number of Sunday riders who couldn't ride a straight line. I expect small kids to veer across traffic- I just wish the adults would learn to ride in a controlled fashion. Especially annoying was the two women (I won't call them ladies) who rode side-by-side while towing trailers, forcing passing traffic into oncoming lanes.

Support was better than in the past- more and slightly better quality food. The lines for the Porta-Potties reminded me of Cycle Oregon- everything sorted out and everyone took their turn.


08-13-2007, 06:16 AM
I love the Bridge Pedal - its an event Portland should be proud of. This year's experience however was marred by the first two miles or so at a walk or stationary and various other hold-ups along the way. We had an 7.30am start but probably did not get over the start line until nearer 9am. Route was slow over the Hawthorne and then stationary for maybe an hour approaching the Ross Island. As we eventually crossed the Ross Island the police/organizers began movng the cones to create a two lane bike path. Before that it was only one lane - why? After Ross Island we had good flow until we got to the Steel Bridge where it was back to a short walk and then a clear run over the Fremont to NW Portland where we had to wait for a mile-long goods train to go through a RR crossing for another 20 mins. All in all a great day - riders were in good spirits despite the pace - my kids loved it again - but marred by too many hold-ups.

Last year I witnessed a near miss on the Ross Island where a kid swerved into the oncoming traffic. There was obviously a need for better safety between bikes and traffic but to close an entire lane and create the kind of hold-ups we saw was not the solution. Some re-evaluation of route and plans is required by the organizers.

08-13-2007, 07:17 AM
If I missed a Bridge Pedal since it began I can't remember which one. But, I think its time for me to give my space to one of the 19,999 others. We were en route @ 7:15 and rode in a manageably crowded pack until the Ross Island. I share others' complaints of how the Bridge Pedal has become a "Bike & Hike". It used to be that faster riders could leave early to ride with other savvy riders and get done with the dowtown bridges before the family's hit the road for the shorter rides. Experienced riders used to have St Johns and Overlook to ourselves. I was OK with poking along over the downtown bridges. I saw it like a warm-up for the northern loop. Now, everyone thinks they should head to St John's. Hwy 30 was impacted with oblivious riders. If you have to walk your bike up the St Johns hill, maybe you've ridden too far? So OK, I'm not looking for constant 25mph, but I am more concerned for my personal safety among weaving children and 1x/yr adults. I've seen the views many times now. I'm opening up my spot for someone else next year. There are plently of other good rides around PDX.

08-13-2007, 09:50 AM
This was my first Bridge Pedal and I nearly didn't get to do it so I was super excited. My enthusiasm was soon dashed, however, as was that of most of Team Awesome!Grundle Force when we sat waiting, waiting, waiting to ride our bikes. Being in a bike jam was rather neat, though, and Purple Peep was stoked on that. Her joy spread throughout TA!GF and we were inspired to sing "Part of your world" from the Little Mermaid as well as Janis Joplin's Bobby McGee (maybe you heard us, laughing, cackling, giggling all the way...). I was rather disappointed at the large number of people on bikes who actually were not able to ride them properly. I understand not everyone rides everyday, but that doesn't mean common sense does not apply. Kids wobble all about, that's a given, I stay away from them. But I think when one reaches the age of 15 and is a normally functioning individual, one ought to be able to ride in a straight line, say "on your left" or "on your right" and signal if going to cut across 2039482 bikers all wondering what the heck you are doing. I saw a number of wipe outs around SE Oak due to the crappy terrain and the railroad tracks. Some seemed experienced, others not so much. Bad route, though. Bad enough when there aren't a bunch of other bikers and the chaos that was Bridge Pedal made it worse. All-in-all I and the rest of TA!GF had a great time despite the sadness at not getting to the Fremont because of the poor poor planning on the organizers' part. Oh, and some signs saying where to go from the North to get to downtown (have to use a bridge somewhere...) would be helpful. Not everyone came from the 'burbs for this.

08-13-2007, 10:44 AM
My group of 6 started at 7:30AM... since we were all meeting at the Fountain right next to the "official" start at 7AM, we just decided to go with the group that was "officially" starting at 7:30. It was better than waiting for an hour when we signed up for a 7:30AM start.

We had no troubles until the Ross Island bridge, but didn't have to wait anywhere near as long as later groups (5-10minutes, long enough to take off my jacket but not long enough to get it stashed in my backpack). One guy next to me on the approach to the RIb lamented that he couldn't go fast anymore. My retort: "You signed up for the Bridge Pedal to go fast?! That was silly!"

This was my 3rd BP. It was much better than the last two; last year on the RI bridge, they had us come onto the bridge on the opposite side we were supposed to be riding on, which meant crossing traffic. At least this year, we didn't have to do that.

The Marquam and the Fremont bridges were glorious. It was amazing to zoom up the on-ramps to these bridges on a bike! The views were incredible.

The St Johns approach was interesting, as always. Nothing like a line of cones and banner tape to make one feel protected from the oncoming cars and semis on highway 30 (that was sarcasm, btw). But everyone we encountered were pretty good at staying to the right out of the way of faster traffic, and we were good with the audible warnings (bells and vocal).

The railroad crossings were sketchy at times, and I'm not surprised so many people went down.

It would be nice if people knew or were told about the rules of the road, i.e. keeping right, riding a straight line, looking around before turning or pulling out into the flow of bikes from a dead stop, or stopping off to the side instead of right in the middle of the bridge... Little things, I guess.

Having been a part of an organizing committee for a large event, I understand that things have a way of getting away from you. However, if one is forcasting 20,000 riders (the figure I saw on the news and in the paper in the week leading up to the event), one should have padded the time schedule to account for delays and figured out how to make it so everyone gets their $20-40 worth.

Someone on the comments lamented that the rest stop on top of the Fremont ran out of free maps before they got there. Frankly, I was surprised they had any left when I got there; freebies like that go fast!

Also, the free entry to the Bite: I saw some people with 2006 vests getting in for free; I also saw lots of people bringing their bikes in. The BTA did not staff any secure parking that I could find, as they've done in the past. It got crowded in the Bite around noon, and there were a lot of bikes being wheeled through the crowds or parked at tables or walkways.

If the BTA had staffed a secure parking point, instead of just leaving an unstaffed bike corral, maybe more people would have left their bikes parked outside. Who knows?

All in all, though, I thought it was great. I got lots of compliments on my Pink Lemonade jersey, and Scott got lots of compliments on his Stone Brewing AB jersey. :) That was cool.

Plus, seeing that many bikes out on Portland's roads was awe-inspiring. Now, how do we convince those people to keep riding??

08-13-2007, 12:11 PM
This was just cool. It was my first BridgePedal ever, and a friend told me to be prepared for it to be a "bike and hike" but I was amazed at how smoothly things actually went with that many people out there. My favorite part was looking down off the Marquam bridge onto the Hawthorne, which was flooded with cyclists. We got to the start at 6:30 and I forgot my receipt so I was in the slower line to get my stuff but we still made it to the start by 7:10 or so and were in the early waves.
It was a beautiful tour of the city. Much of the route I have seen while running the Portland Marathon, but generally I'm in too much pain while doing that to pay too much attention to scenery. Seeing it by bike was very enjoyable, and even though the slower pace might have frustrated some, it was a great excuse for me just to relax and enjoy the ride. I'm pretty competative at heart, so I need that excuse. Anyway, thanks to everyone, volunteers and participants, for a great experience!

08-13-2007, 12:56 PM
This was my second and my wife's first BP. I am not going to bore everyone with the bottle neck/bridge walk (with your bike) thingy.

The high light of our ride was a guy riding a 12-inch-weel mini-bike along side with us crossing the St. Johns Bridge at 18 mph.

It is a great experience to be part of it. However, we probably will never do it again.

BTW, the volunteers were awesome.

08-13-2007, 05:24 PM
I haven't done the ride in 8 years. My experience was positive overall, but I won't be riding again for many years. Just too many people in the area for my taste. The volunteers and police were awesome, can't thank them enough. I never saw any drivers berating any volunteers, which was nice. I'm sure there were jerks out there, but the early morning drivers that I saw seemed to be patient.

08-14-2007, 06:23 AM
I was there with my wife, my 12 year old daughter, a 12 year old friend of my daughter, and my 8 year old daughter on a trailer-bike.

We had a good time doing the 8-bridge option. Nobody got hurt which is always my biggest worry. We did get caught by a passing train down by Union Station. Plus the Broadway Bridge was packed. Other than that, a great time was had by all.

08-16-2007, 07:24 AM
My wife, son, our 2 friends and their son tried to do the 6 bridge ride. We started at 8:30 and walked our bikes for 2 hours before giving up. Even after 2 hours we never made it to the Ross Island bridge. It was mostly just us standing waiting and trying to calm the kids down. This was, without a doubt, the most poorly organized ride I've ever done. The line just to get to the Hawthorne took us an hour to get through. And that was just to start. We figured it would clear up after that, but it wasn't so. We only rode a few hundred yards the entire time and even then it was wall-to-wall people.

Did the organizers not understand that 10,000 cyclist just can't all leave at the same time? Did they ever cut off registration? If not, why didn't they make the late entrants leave later? What happened to the staggered starts? I won't be riding the Bridge Pedal ever again. Boooo hsssssss boooooo hsssss