Bike to Work tradition continues at Pioneer Square

[Vintage poster from 1979]

After a hiatus of nearly a decade, the City of Portland will host an official Bike to Work Day celebration at Pioneer Courthouse Square on May 17th, from 7:30-9:00am. Find out all the details in the official press release.

It should be a great party and continuation of a proud tradition that dates back to the 1970s. I thought it’d be fun to get a sense of this bikey legacy so I got in touch with Jeff Smith at the Office Of Transportation. Jeff started as an intern for the City’s Bike Program back in the ’80s and knows a lot about Portland’s bike history, and what he doesn’t know he’s always willing to find out. He dug up some classic old photos that had been gathering dust in archives at the Portland Building. Click on the thumbnails below for a ride down memory lane.


[From L to R: State Rep Chris Beck, Metro Councilor
Ed Washington and Darcelle (c. 1995).
Check out the old BTA banner!]

[Mayor Goldschmidt leads the ride on his last day in office in 1979]

[The incomparable Bud Clark]

[Who can spot the old Transerv helmet?]

[A crew from ODOT, mid 90’s]

It’d be great to hear more about the history of this event. If you’ve been around a while feel free to add your historical perspective…and does anyone know who the heck “Darcelle” is?

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)

Founder of BikePortland (in 2005). Father of three. North Portlander. Basketball lover. Car owner and driver. If you have questions or feedback about this site or my work, feel free to contact me at @jonathan_maus on Twitter, via email at maus.jonathan@gmail.com, or phone/text at 503-706-8804. Also, if you read and appreciate this site, please become a supporter.

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Ema
Ema
17 years ago

Darcelle’s—208 NW Third Ave
“In business since 1967 and run by Portland’s best-loved cross-dresser, this cabaret is a campy Portland institution with a female-impersonator show that has been a huge hit for years”.

Rosie
Rosie
17 years ago

Neil Goldshmidt was a total hottie. Too bad he was so sleazy!

The Bike Thieves
The Bike Thieves
17 years ago

This sounds like fun.

Dabby
Dabby
17 years ago

I came around a corner one morning in the late 80’s, very fast, and almost knocked ole Bud Clark in to the river, behind Alber’s Mill.
I am sure a moment he will never forget, as I know I never will.
Gotta love that guy!

Ride Bikes Throw Bricks!!

Bill
Bill
17 years ago

I can’t believe that anyone who has been within 100 miles of Portland would not know the name of one of Linntons most famous people. If you have never been to Darcelle’s, go now… better yet, go on your birthday.

In the early 80’s, I was commuting by bike from 33rd and Division to Stanton and Kerby. I saw a notice in the paper about “Bike to Work Day” and even though it was laid out for folk who worked bankers hours downtown, I decided I could ride along with part of the Grant Park group to about 7th avenue, get some free doughnuts, and be only marginally late for work (we started at 7:00 AM). It soon became evident that an arguement was underway between two factions of riders…. one wanted to ride the prerscribed route on Tillamook and the other wanted to ride down the middle of Broadway just to let the motorists know who and where we were. The split was about even and since it didn’t look like the actual route would be worked out soon, I grabbed some doughnuts and followed my usual route on Knott St.

Glad to see an old traditional ride being revived.

Bill

Ethan
Ethan
17 years ago

My introduction to the portland bike movement (or whatever you want to call it) was at this event in Pioneer Square when i was fresh off the boat from California . . . Massage chairs, breakfast munchies . . . good times. Glad to see it is coming back!

Zach
Zach
17 years ago

I remember one year when I was a sophomore or junior in high school, they had a bike vs. bus vs. car commuting ‘race’ from NE 24th and Fremont – might have been for Bike to Work Day. Anyway, I ended up riding in the bus carrying competitor Avel Gordly – Blumenauer rode his bike, and Monte Sheldon drove a Ferrari.

Blumenauer won, of course.

Dabby
Dabby
17 years ago

There was also a delivery race, bike vs. cab. vs. car. There may have even been a walker…..
I wonder which one won?

Splitting Lanes Near You,
Dabby McCrashalot

beth hamon
17 years ago

Bike Day returns! Finally. I wondered when the City was gonna bring this tradition back. I’ll be there.

Darcelle’s memory number umpteen: When I was in high school, my father played piano bar at Hobo’s, just down the street from Darcelle’s. Sometimes, some of the female impersonators would come in to Hobo’s on their break, to grab a bite and listen to my dad. A few of them shared fashion tips with my very tall older sister (who, along with many of the performers, wore a woman’s size 11 shoe!). Darcelle rocks. A great philanthropist as well as a beloved entertainer.

Steve Hoyt-McBeth
Steve Hoyt-McBeth
13 years ago

Bill (#5-“event being revived”),

Thanks for the awesome story from the early 80s, but the Bike to Work Breakfast never went away. (I checked with Jeff Smith, who thought that there are only a couple of years since the then that the event didn’t occur).

Even you’re not working banker’s hours, we hope to see you next Tuesday the 11th at Pioneer Square. You can take Tillamook or Broadway.