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Taking time to savor Bridge Pedal

Usually when I go to an event like Bridge Pedal I’m running and riding around like crazy, trying to get good photos and talk to as many people as I can. I enjoy that tremendously, but this time I brought the family along to savor the spectacle with them (and 18,000 or so fellow Portlanders). It was nice to just ride and not be in full reporter mode.

We planned on doing the 10-bridge route, but arrived at the Morrison Bridge only to hear that the route was closed so we started with the 8 and 6 bridge riders.

Once at the start, I noticed Rick Baumann, the man behind it all. I can’t imagine the amount of stress on this guy’s shoulders that must come with shutting down so many roads and bridges and trying to make 18,000 people happy.

I noticed a lot of families and young kids on the ride this year. There were tons of trailers, tag-along bikes, and even intrepid little dudes like this guy, who did it competely solo.

We didn’t bring a map, assuming that the course would be easy to follow. We were wrong. It was pretty confusing out there (or maybe it was just us) and we ended up missing the connection down to the Sellwood Bridge (there was no signage and no volunteer at the turning point) so we crossed the Ross Island Bridge twice.

At the west end of the bridge I was amazed to see none other than Aaron Tarfman set up with a couch, welcoming riders as they passed. Aaron wanted to make a point about how much more livable our city could be if more people used bikes to get around. His sign read, “Public roads for public people.”

We took our first rest break on the Fremont Bridge. I was eager to dismount and snap some photos off my bike.

[A rare view of the Fremont Bridge.]

Just like last year, City Commissioner Sam Adams was atop the bridge greeting riders. This year he passed out a very cool, new foldable, wallet-sized bike route map that the city just printed up. They were a big hit, especially with Timo.

[Team Cutters]

Finally off the bike I was able to take some candid photos:

Due to our late start, and excessively long break on the Fremont Bridge, we brought up the rear of the 10-bridge riders. This made for a lonely ride up Highway 30. Once we finally got into to St. Johns, there was more trash than riders so we took our time and stopped at Burgerville for a blackberry shake and some onion rings.

So that’s how it went for us, now I want to hear about your experiences! How did Bridge Pedal go for you?

I remember last year was super crowded and chaotic, which prompted a recent high-level meeting to discuss possible improvements. I also remember all the feedback from Commissioner Sam’s blog last year.

Do you think Bridge Pedal was better or worse this year?

[You can view more photos in my Bridge Pedal Gallery.]

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