Support BikePortland

Widmer brothers will help kick off National Bike Month festivities

Posted by on April 23rd, 2008 at 9:20 pm

The brothers will battle it
out in the name of bikes.

The Portland Office of the Transportation is gearing up for National Bike Month in May.

PDOT (in coordination with Shift and the BTA) has 13 events planned throughout the month (see full list below) including a bike/car race on May 1st that will pit the Widmer brothers — Rob and Kurt — against each other to see who can get across town faster.

Widmer Brothers Brewing was founded in 1984 and they still brew beer daily at their North Portland location.

The plan is for Rob Widmer to bike from the Cadillac Cafe (NE Broadway and 18th) to City Hall (1221 SW Fourth Avenue) while his brother Kurt does the same route in a car. Transportation Commissioner Sam Adams will be waiting to congratulate the winner.

The Widmer brothers will leave at 8:00 am, traversing the three-mile route during morning rush-hour (be careful at the N. Williams intersection Rob — it’s a doozy!).

Another cyclist, Kim Seymour, will demonstrate another option by riding on NE Tillamook, a low-traffic bike boulevard street that runs parallel to NE Broadway.

PDOT’s SmartTrips Downtown program is sponsoring the month-long celebration.

Here is the complete list of events:

    Thursday, May 1
    8:00 a.m.
    Bicycle-Car Commuter Race
    NE Broadway & 19th

    Friday, May 2
    4:30-7:00 p.m.
    Mocktails on the Bridge
    (Shift event)
    Broadway Bridge, eastbound span

    Wednesday, May 7

    7:30-8:30 a.m.
    Bike to Work Breakfast
    Pioneer Courthouse Square

    Wednesday, May 7

    Noon-1:00 p.m.
    Bike Commute Workshop
    (BTA event)
    Multnomah County Central Library

    Thursday, May 8
    Noon-1:00 p.m.
    Beginners Lunchtime Ride
    Meet at Waterfront Bikes (10 SW Ash Street #100)

    Friday, May 9
    Noon-1:00 p.m.
    Bike Commute Workshop for Women
    (Lunch provided, RSVP required)
    Portland Building, 2nd floor, meeting room C

    Friday, May 16
    4:30-7:00 p.m.
    Mocktails on the Bridge
    (Shift event)
    Hawthorne Bridge, eastbound span

    Tuesday, May 20
    6:00-9:00 p.m.
    Bike Social
    (Complimentary snacks & beverage – PDOT/Bike Gallery joint sponsors)
    Bike Gallery, downtown location (SW 10th and Salmon)

    Thursday, May 22
    Noon-1:00 p.m.
    Beginners Lunchtime Ride
    Meet at Waterfront Bikes (10 SW Ash Street #100)

    Wednesday, May 28
    Noon-1:00 p.m.
    Bike Commute Workshop
    (BTA event)
    Multnomah County Central Library

    Wednesday, May 29
    4:00-6:30 p.m.
    Tea Time on the Bridge
    (British accent not required! – PDOT/Shift joint sponsors)
    Steel Bridge lower (bike/ped span, east side)

    Friday, May 30
    7:30-9:00 a.m.
    Breakfast on the Bridges
    (Free pastries & coffee to cyclists & pedestrians – Shift event)
    Steel Bridge (lower level east side) and Hawthorne Bridge

For more information, view PDOT’s press release.

Please support BikePortland.

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

  • Schrauf April 24, 2008 at 6:16 am

    Hopefully Rob is an experienced cyclist or it will not be a very accurate comparison, assuming his brother drives a car a lot. There is a big difference in traffic manuevering ability as one gets more experience cycling. Also, be ready to hammer because it seems like the lights on Broadway east of the river are set for 25 mph or so. Of course they are slower downtown.

    Broadway does not typically back up too much, at least not compared to traffic leaving downtown around 5 PM. Rob will have a challenge if conditions are normal.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Steve Hoyt-McBeth April 24, 2008 at 7:16 am

    Thanks Jonathan for highlighting the events. I wanted to note that the Bike Gallery is another sponsor. They are hosting a Bike Social on Thursday, May 20th at their SW 10th and Salmon location.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Bryan April 24, 2008 at 7:28 am

    So is there an official Bike to Work Day?

    My goal is to get at least one person here at my office to bike to work on Bike to Work Day… If there is one

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Matt Picio April 24, 2008 at 7:40 am

    May 7th – PDOT always does the Bike to Work Breakfast on Bike to Work Day.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Josh April 24, 2008 at 9:01 am

    I agree with Schrauf about his experience in cycling, It would be interesting to also put one of Portlands messengers in the same race. I have always been curious in the time difference between an experienced messenger and an average or even experienced commuter. As well as the car bike difference.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Jessica Roberts April 24, 2008 at 9:36 am

    Rob has been a BTA member for many, many years (and a generous beer donor too!), so I\’m guessing he\’s a confident cyclist.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Anonymous April 24, 2008 at 9:51 am

    If Rob is going to follow traffic laws while he\’s racing his brother, I would recommend riding the southbound portion via Eastbank Esplanade and crossing the Willamette over the Hawthorne Bridge, rather than crossing over the Broadway and riding through downtown. Less traffic, fewer lights, more right-of-way. If he\’s going to run reds downtown (while hardly good PR for bikes or the city) I suggest he take a messenger escort.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Elliot April 24, 2008 at 10:14 am

    I recommend that Rob traverse the southbound portion of his commute on the Eastbank Esplanade and then cross the river via the Hawthorne Bridge to avoid traffic and lights downtown. That route would be faster unless he\’s going to break traffic laws while racing his brother up 3rd Avenue or Broadway, in which case I would recommend he have a messenger escort with him. But winning the race by running red lights would hardly be good PR for bikes or the city, methinks.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Bryan April 24, 2008 at 10:39 am

    So where do I find a flyer like this one from last year?

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Lillian April 24, 2008 at 10:52 am

    This is great! I\’m excited to hear about the results.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Icarus Falling April 24, 2008 at 11:56 am


    Enough of the Esplanade idea.

    The route to take is straight over th Broadway, Straight up Broadway, until you turn left at Madison. Two blocks you are there.

    The simple difference between this route and taking the Esplanade across is the time saved transfering on and off the Esplanade.

    There would be a 3-5 minute difference.

    They used to have a taxi vs. messenger. vs walker vs. car vs. bus rider delivery race here years ago if I remember correctly…

    Gee, I wonder who won?

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • jonno April 24, 2008 at 12:03 pm

    Will the race include the time it takes for the driving Widmer to find parking once at City Hall? That could be the clincher.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Justin Meier April 24, 2008 at 12:37 pm

    oooooh! me likey the idea that the driver has to find parking!!

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Elliot April 24, 2008 at 2:01 pm

    Icarus, I\’ll race you from the Cadillac to city hall using the Esplanade if you go up Broadway during rush hour. Everyone knows the Broadway \”Hotel Zone\” bike lane is notorious for being the most congested — by *cars* — in the whole city. The Esplanade also saves a bit of unnecessary elevation that you deal with south of Burnside to Madison going up Broadway, plus the Broadway Bridge is higher than the Hawthorne (more elevation). Even ignoring congestion on Broadway, the downtown grid timing on those lights limits your speed to a measly ~14 mph. Compare that to an easy 20+ mph on the Esplanade.

    I agree that the transfer to the Esplanade would be tricky… maybe better to head south first than deal with cutting through the Rose Quarter mess closer to the river.

    Hmm, I could go either way with this… I\’m just curious now. Post your time back here after you make the ride, eh? 🙂

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Icarus Falling April 24, 2008 at 2:36 pm


    I would take on that race, as it would be no contest…

    But, to my benefit, I must admit that I have a great knowledge of the timing of those lights, and how to manipulate them through speed.As in when to go fast forward, and when to slow a little and wait it out. (If you hit the light at NE Broadway and Williams at the right time, there is generally no need to stop for a light until you get to SW Broadway and Burnside)

    And, as you mention the Broadway Hotel zone/ bike lane slowing me down, it would in fact make my trip faster, as it is to be considered a hazard. The same is to be thought of the bike lane at Broadway and Williams on the east side.

    And as it is considered to be a hazard, I would abandon the bike lane entirely after crossing Burnside on Broadway, and ride in the middle lane, faster than traffic, probably legally splitting lanes on the right hand side of automobiles when needed.

    When this routing would boil down to a typical cyclist, the times would be longer, yet the Braodway routing would still win out over the Esplanande routing.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Broken Halo April 24, 2008 at 6:26 pm

    Wrong on the Esplanade. Just look at a map, the distance is much greater. And what\’s this talk of unnecessary elevation? On the Esplanade you go from bridge level down to water level and back again.

    The Esplanade is a nice ride. Not a fast one.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Barbara Kilts April 24, 2008 at 7:31 pm

    Bummer there\’s nothing planned for us rabble who don\’t work downtown! 🙂

    We\’ll just continue to trundle along uncelebrated out in the Great Perimeter Hinterlands. Have fun, all you lucky ducks!

    Cheers, Barbara

    Recommended Thumb up 0