Summers Park for Bike Back the Night.
More photos here – (Photos © J. Maus)
The Portland Women’s Crisis Line — a non-profit that helps victims of sexual violence — held their first annual Bike Back the Night ride last night.
The name of the ride is a spin-off of the more well-known Take Back the Night — an event observed nationwide which is part of a movement to end sexual abuse.
“April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month and we wanted to do something that was both very visible and would help bring people to our rally and event at PSU [Portland State University],” said sexual assault advocate and one of the event’s organizers Ledena Mattox.
Mattox added that she did a similar event on foot last year and that she wanted to do something on bikes because so many of her group’s clients and volunteers already ride.
The ride met at Colonel Summers Park in Southeast Portland where participants were treated to a lovely buffet of donuts, pastries, coffee and cookies. Mechanics from Bike N’ Hike and PSU were on hand tuning-up bikes and a volunteer from the Community Cycling Center handed out free front and rear bike lights as part of their “Get Lit” program.
City Council candidate Jeff Bissonnette was there (check him out). I enjoyed meeting him again and I was able to introduce him to a few friends. (After the ride, my family and I met up with Bissonnette again as we rode up the bike lane on N. Williams Ave.)
After a few statements by Mattox, executive eirector of the Portland Women’s Crisis Line, Rebecca Peatow Nickels, and PWCL program coordinator Lyndi Burton, a line of people on bikes that numbered close to 100 set off for a ride through Southeast Portland.
We rolled out over the Hawthorne Bridge, through downtown (past the new bike box at Broadway and Taylor) and onto the South Park Blocks, where a rally (that included an awesome performance by the Sprockettes!) was held in front of the Smith Student Union on the campus of Portland State University.
Along the way, volunteers held up signs in support of the cause — like this one that read, “You are creating change right now.”
The ride was a major success and it might not have happened without the inspiration of Shift. “I was on their website,” said Mattox, “and it said anybody can organize a bike event. So I thought, I’m anybody, let’s do it!”
See more photos from the ride in my Bike Back the Night Photo Gallery.