How was your Bridge Pedal?

Bridge Pedal -08-26.jpg

Crossing the Broadway Bridge.
Photo gallery – Slideshow below
(Photos © J. Maus)

Thousands of riders swarmed the city during the 13th annual Bridge Pedal ride this morning.

I started just after sunrise on the 11-bridge route, which had a new start location. We hit the Fremont bridge first thing and then got to ride along I-405 for a few miles through the heart of downtown Portland. It sure was cool to see bikes take over the entire side of a freeway while cars sped by in the opposite direction.

Bridge Pedal -08-13.jpg

All smiles onto the Marquam Bridge.

As usual, I saw lots of smiling faces and riders of all ages, styles, and experience levels. I only saw one major crash; on the downhill (east) side of the Marquam Bridge a man went down very hard and was on a stretcher when I rode by.

Unfortunately I wasn’t feeling great this morning, so I packed it in early.

Reader Michael Kuhn reports that, “All in all, it was a much better ride than previous years.”

How was the ride for you? Did you see/experience anything interesting? How was the route? Any bottlenecks to report?

See the rest of my photos here or watch the slideshow below:

Created with Admarket’s flickrSLiDR.

UPDATE: Here are a few neat photos (including an Earl Blumenauer spotting!) from reader Mike Houck:

The massive crowd at the start of the 11-Bridge ride:

(Photo by Mike Houck)

Congressman Earl Blumenauer helps start things off:

(Photo by Mike Houck)

Another crowd shot, notice Blumenauer in blue long-sleeve shirt at bottom left:

(Photo by Mike Houck)

Read a good report on today’s ride by Erin Hoover Barnett in The Oregonian.

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Rob
Rob
14 years ago

A million times better than last year.

Hardly any bottlenecks to speak of, the organizers clearly learned lessons from last year\’s debacle. All in all, a very relaxing ride for me.

I did see the aftermath of that accident on the Marquam downhill – looked like there were several riders involved in that one, one big tangled mess of bikes.

Thoughts and prayers are with the rider that the paramedics were attending to, it looked like he was busted up pretty bad. Lots of road-rash on his face, by far the one of the worst-looking accidents I\’ve seen.

Topher
Topher
14 years ago

I had a lot of fun this morning. This was my first Bridge Pedal and I thought it was great. There isn\’t anything like BP where I come from. It was awesome to see so many people riding.

There was another crash pretty near the finish line. Somebody got caught in some train tracks and went down. Didn\’t look to bad, but it still sucks.

Andrew Berkowitz
14 years ago

They totally nailed it this year. No bottlenecks, and overall it just felt like the riders were well spaced out along the route. (I did the 11-bridge.) I loved starting on the East side because parking was easy and getting out after the ride was easy too.

I also kind of liked not having The Bite at the end of the ride. It felt like more of a social hang-out area. And chocolate milk … perfect.

Huge kudos to the organizers and volunteers … best Bridge Pedal ever!

Scrapr
Scrapr
14 years ago

Nice ride. Did it with my boy. 8 bridges. I\’m trying to talk him into the 11 bridge next year. He wants to daddle along. I told him if we do the long route we need to get our speed up into the 13-14 mph range. So he rode for a while at about 13 mph.

I missed the bands on the marquam & Fremont. Made it seem like more of an \”event\”.

I hope there is a report on the biker down at the marquam.

Saw 2 flats. Offered a guy my levers and a tube. he didn\’t have a pump. So I left. his wife was down the way.

One woman flatted 1 block from the finish. Ouch

Cupcake
Cupcake
14 years ago

Felt much less crowded than last year. We started the 8 bridge ride at 7:15, and the only congestion we experienced was at the very end. Someone forgot to tell the RR company it was bridge pedal, and we had to wait about 10 minutes for a train to pass.

A fantastic ride!

scoot
scoot
14 years ago

Oops, posted this to the old BP thread before this one went up, so I\’m moving it to the right place:

Okay, just back from my first time and it was great – no problems. We rode with the green team and never had to stop once after we got started. Only saw one fall and that was a little kid crashing into his own grown-up off the path on the sidewalk. Sure, people were bobbing and weaving, but the only thing that ever felt mildly dangerous to me was the occasional full-geared rider tearing through on the right as fast as they could. Cheers to the organizers – a fun morning.

Also, big cheers to all the parents who\’ve taught their children so well. The vast majority of kids I saw were impressive little cyclists.

Chris
14 years ago

I just moved to Portland one week ago, so it was a good way to see the city and back roads and, of course, the bridges. I really enjoyed it and everyone was really friendly. I fully expected it to be worse, and it was quite fun and went smoothly.

I\’ve got to say though that the food and drink at the end was pretty insubstantial. I mean, diet iced tea?? I\’m sure it was donated, but at the end of a long ride, it\’s nice to have something other than milk (yuck) and diet iced tea (ugh).

I\’ve got a few pictures on my Flickr site, listed above.

Mark Allyn
14 years ago

I did the 11 bridge first thing this morning at 6:30.

It got a little late start because, I heard, of a disabled vehicle that had to be towed from the Marquam so they could put up the cones.

We got going at about 6:45.

I saw no bottlenecks nor crashes nor anything amiss.

It was a good ride. Very enthusiastic volunteers; all smiles, waving, cheering on! Riders around me were cheerful as well.

I rode streight through, no stopping for anything (I had enough water for myself and I drank a home made energy smootie prior to leaving (spirulina, wheatgrass, carrot, beat, orange, blueberry, blackberry, strawberry, coconut oil, hemp oil, flax oil, cod liver oil, and lots of carrots). That gave me enough umph to do the hills.

So, I don\’t know if they had enough goodies for us all, but I witnessed no complaints.

They must have had enough porta potties; I did not see anyone peeing in the bushes as I had in other years.

I finished at 9:30 and rode back east in time to attend the 10 AM worship at the Stark Street Quaker Meeting house!

Luv

Mark Allyn

Bjorn
Bjorn
14 years ago

I thought it seemed better planned out this year, but having 2 lanes of people going one way on the ross island while cars went highway speeds the other seemed like maybe not the best idea. I saw a little kid weaving back and forth right by the center line cones who almost went out in front of a car, at which point it occured to me that if someone going the other way got distracted and crossed the centerline that they could probably take out 100 people pretty easily… They should probably close the whole bridge or at least lower the speed limit next year.

Bjorn

Lisa
Lisa
14 years ago

Best one yet! This is my third ride and tho we didn\’t get out as early as we\’d hoped (doesn\’t that always happen?), we had no problems to report. I was under particular pressure by my speedy road riding buddy to not endure a pokey, bottle-necked, debacle and this one sure delivered! Thanks to the organizers for allowing us road riders an actual ride, and letting the 6-bridge family riders enjoy their family time separately!

Michael K
Michael K
14 years ago

(repost) Nice ride! Great weather!

Red shirt ride – too short.

NASTY multi-bike wreck on Marquam Bridge! Very sad way to start the ride, finishing in an ambulance…

No complaints otherwise.

Just read many comments on the previous posting with concerns about crowds and bad bike drivers.

This is my 4th ride and completely understand the concerns from previous years. This time I rode in the front portion of the red pack and stayed ahead of too many newbies. It was not too crowded and for the most part folks handled their bikes courteously and competently.

There were few children where I was. Most of them may have chosen the family ride. I did still see too many kids who seem to be strong riders, but who don\’t understand they need to maintain a straight path, or look behind before veering off. The sponsors really need to provide some basic bike courtesy and safety guidelines along with the other materials they hand out.

Again, all in all, it was a much better ride than previous years.

Paul Cole
Paul Cole
14 years ago

I did the 8 bridge ride this morning (first timer) and was worried about it being a slow-going slog the whole way after hearing about last year\’s ride. I\’d say things were pretty bunched up until the downhill side of the Marquam.

I had two close calls in the beginning of the race as people got used to being so closely bunched together. After the Marquam though, it opened up quite a bit and I enjoyed a nice more or less solitary ride the rest of the way.

Chris
14 years ago

Try that again:

Bridge Pedal Flickr

North Portlander
North Portlander
14 years ago

Apparently some of the crowding and starting problems experienced by participants in the 2007 Providence Bridge Pedal were ironed out for this year\’s event with only a few spills and near misses occurring. The event, held on Sunday, sought to avoid workday traffic (although there are those of us who do work on Sunday and the beginning of the event coincided with the time in which we had to get into work. Note to Providence: Can the event begin at 10:00 am next year?)

I have some concerns about the routes and the associated events. Some of these stem from the very positive experience of having been involved in setting up, running, and participating in the old Bike To Work Day before the City of Portland or anybody like Providence got involved in a major bike event.

The original Portland BTW Day was an educational event to promote commuting and responsible bicycling. It operated on volunteer goodwill and the support of local bike businesses and bicycling clubs and organizations. No streets were closed to facilitate the rides; each ride (and there were at least four from different parts of town, all converging on Pioneer Courthouse Square in downtown) had an experienced leader who everyone on the ride had to follow and a tail rider who watched out for the slower riders and helped anyone with flats or problems. Some rides had a mid-rider as well. In this way, everyone followed the rules of the road, nobody surged ahead and experienced riders were on hand to keep everybody on track and provide direction as to where to ride, when to stop and when to signal. Before each group headed into town, the ride leaders checked out the participants\’ bikes and gear to make sure that they would be safe. Organizers sought to educate and to make sure that participants had a realistic biking experience upon which to base future bicycling.

BTW Day ended in Pioneer Courthouse Square where local businesses donated drinks and food, there were drawings for bicycling gear and the various bicycling groups distributed information and answered questions.

Contrast this with Bridge Pedal. Since Providence is facilitating the event it seems that its primary goal is simply getting people on bikes for health reasons. However the rides aren\’t guided (participants follow maps) and nobody insures that riders are observing traffic laws. In fact, the courses are set up so that riders can ignore them. The organizers closed lanes and complete streets and volunteers waved riders through traffic lights as though they weren\’t there. Some of the routes traveled on roadway that — during non-Bridge Pedal — would be illegal for bicycles to travel on are the Fremont and Marquam Bridges and the 405 Freeway. What kind of example is that?

While BTW rides concluded in a central location where all activities, seminars, booths and food distribution took place, the Bridge Pedal rides end on the west side of the river while the associated fair is set up on the EAST side at the Doubletree Inn at Lloyd Center. I have to wonder how many riders made the effort to go over to the Lloyd Center afterwards, especially with tired children. More likely they wandered over to enjoy The Bite of Portland and blew off the \”Free Personal Training Session\”, \”Free Massage\”, \”Free Kayak Lesson\”, \”Free Introduction to Mountain Climbing\” and other various and sundry Lloyd Center venue offerings that seemed to have little or nothing to do with responsible bicycling education.

While popular, this kind of event doesn\’t help bicyclists understand what it\’s really like to ride a bicycle responsibly on the streets of Portland and – in part – attracts people who will not commute or ride with traffic in the future because they are only comfortable being insulated and riding streets completely devoid of any motorized vehicles. That\’s a no-brainer that is in direct contradiction to the real world of day-to-day responsible urban cycling.

So much money, so much hype, so much participation . . . a squandered opportunity?

Reva
Reva
14 years ago

I went out today with a sort of \”I\’ll give this one more chance…\” attitude. I had a blast last year (my first time) despite the congestion. It sure was great to start things off this morning with a clear approach to the Ross Island Bridge! I did the 8-bridge ride, and the only hangup I experienced, aside from the accident coming down the Marquam, was having to wait at train crossings twice in the final stretch. By that point I didn\’t mind the short mandatory rest period.

I have to second (third?) earlier comments about people passing on the right. I\’m not a slowpoke but I\’m not a speed demon, either (except on downhills; wheee!). Unless I\’m passing someone, I tend to stick to the middle of the road. I must\’ve been passed on the right today, very closely, by half a dozen guys who came up quickly without so much as an \”on your right.\” There was plenty of room on the left; I just don\’t understand the need for passing on the right if you don\’t have to.

Scott
Scott
14 years ago

This was my first bridge pedal and my wife\’s second. We had a very pleasant 8-bridge ride. All in all a very nice morning. I sort of miss the big crowds of previous years – but not enough that I\’d choose those over the smooth flow of today.

Nicely done!

tiny nits:
More food/fun (music, etc)
Recycling bins at the end for all those milk cartons and iced tea bottles

If anyone has news on that rider on the Marquam bridge wreck, please post it. We don\’t need name, etc. Just a \”he\’ll be ok\” would be great.

coral
coral
14 years ago

It was our first time today, and after reading the comments on the other post, I wasn\’t looking forward to it. We only did the 6 bridge, as we usually work until midnight on Saturdays, so getting up any earlier would have been impossible. I do feel like I could have gone further though, so next year I guess I\’ll have to suck it up and get up early!

After riding down from our house to the start line, I was a little worried because we were traveling with a family that had a couple kids. They were already weaving in and out, and slowing way down on the bridge, and the ride hadn\’t even started. It was a little rough at some points, especially the small hill up to the Fremont Bridge. Kids (and some adults), would abruptly stop to walk their bike, without looking behind or beside them, and my husband nearly ran over some little girl because of that. Only saw a couple little accidents, nothing more than a scraped knee. The only part of the ride where we were stopped is coming off the Burnside Bridge, there was a working traffic light, which caused a bit of a backup so cars could make their way through.

Next year I will definitely do the longer one, mainly to avoid the sloooooow kids and trailers, but it wasn\’t as bad as I feared. My favorite part? Zooming down I-5 at 30mph before going on the Marquam bridge. So cool!!

Lisa
Lisa
14 years ago

Attn #14

As I sit here watching the women\’s olympic road racing, your post makes me wonder, \”What a poor example these Olympians are setting, riding their bikes on highways in China. Those roads were built for cars! Heck, even the Great Wall was designed to carry five _horses_ abreast, not bicycles…\”

😉

I think you\’re comparing apples and oranges…

MattD
14 years ago

Got up at 5:00 to make it to St. Johns by 6:15 so my wife and I could join ~60 other members of Portland Velo to go man the course from that last rest stop down to the Rose Garden. Got to my post about 7:10 and pulled out my book… 7:45 the first rider comes by then another then another then another x 10000 🙂

Sitting and watching you see all sorts on on this ride. Families, people on hand crank bikes, a few tall bikes.. about half a dozen unicycles. Some tandom recumbants, a few electric trikes. Tons of folks wearing headphones, a lot NOT wearing helmets, a ton not wearing helmets correctly, and a good handful of folks who had helmets with them, but had them stored or clipped to their bike? (???) Only saw one person smoking this year lol.

I think the worst for me was towards the end where a pair of gals at a house across the street were standing out on the front porch singing \”Mama Mia\” over and over again. At that point I put my headphones! 😉

jrep
jrep
14 years ago

Like the comments above, it was much better than last year. There are still too many people who don\’t seem to understand the concept of \”slower traffic keep to the right.\” We\’re not speedsters, even among the family ride group, and I don\’t like to pass on the right, but some people just wouldn\’t move over! One rider I passed on the right was on her cell phone! If you were passed on the right by more than a few riders, it\’s probably an indication that you were riding on the wrong part of the road. I expect the kids to be a little erratic, but adults should pay attention. All in all, a good ride. Thanks, volunteers!

Graham
Graham
14 years ago

Not to pile on, but, #14:

While popular, this kind of event doesn\’t help bicyclists understand what it\’s really like to ride a bicycle responsibly on the streets of Portland

Along the lines of what Lisa said, I couldn\’t help thinking (jokingly) that in much the same way, the World Naked Bike Ride doesn\’t give riders a sense of what it\’s like to ride with clothes on…

and – in part – attracts people who will not commute or ride with traffic in the future because they are only comfortable being insulated and riding streets completely devoid of any motorized vehicles. That\’s a no-brainer that is in direct contradiction to the real world of day-to-day responsible urban cycling.

I hear ya, but I also think there might be a lot of people who participate in the Bridge Pedal, and thusly encouraged to simply get on their bikes in the first place, then move on to real day-to-day cycling. Think of it as an incubator.

It\’s precisely at the point at which they move on to the real thing that they could use something like the BTW day ride you describe.

Maybe there\’s a need for a BP follow-up? A guided \”Bridge Pedal in the Real World\” ride?

Scott Mizée
14 years ago

@ North Portlander: Sorry you think

So much money, so much hype, so much participation . . . a squandered opportunity?

I think the Bike to Work days and this event are a completely different situation. Bridge Peal is enjoyed by thousands and is not about learning to ride with traffic in downtown streets. I think it achieves its goal very well.

What is your name, North Portlander? I think it would be great to chat more.

Rob
Rob
14 years ago

Some encouraging news: oregonlive dot com is reporting that the two riders that were transported from the event via ambulance are expected to recover. I\’m quite relieved to hear that.

Alison
Alison
14 years ago

The day was beautiful, the route was very well planned. No bottlenecks. The kid announcing the donut rest stop in Sellwood was one of my highlights.

I have a concern… many riders seemed unaware of basic bicycling safety practices. I urge the organizers, sponsors, and the BTA to promote safe riding on the website and in pre-ride promotions.

Something like Top Three Safety Tips for a safe Bridge Pedal…

I saw three ambulances along the 11-bridge route. I started around 7:30.

I don\’t know if it merited an ambulance, but I saw a a teenage girl who had been talking on her cell phone riding the yellow line do an endo into a group of those white barriers. I think that was a very painful lesson.

Graham
Graham
14 years ago

From the Oregonlive article

The experience of riding without cars — even on the Marquam and Fremont upper decks — led riders like 23-year-old Lauren Kuehster to dream: \”What if it was always like this?\”

Bingo!

It\’s a good article:

http://www.oregonlive.com/news/index.ssf/2008/08/smooth_ride_for_this_years_pro.html

Johnny C.
Johnny C.
14 years ago

Good to see people got to use their bike racks on their cars today! Dust those bikes off people dust em off.

Chilly Willy
Chilly Willy
14 years ago

It was my first- I was impressed with the organization and route.

Since I had other obligations today, I only did the family ride today- saw lots of happy kids, some neat bikes, and learned how to pronounce bach-feets. (nice calves dude, you could kick trees over with \’em)

G Force
G Force
14 years ago

I just started biking this past Spring and have been thankful to live in Portland where it is so supported and there are many options for safe cycling. I\’ve done the Springwater often and have minimized street riding just to get my stride before hitting more streets.

The Bridge Pedal was truly amazing and one of the best things I\’ve ever done. To North Portlander\’s comments above: I think the point of this ride is to enjoy a ride without worrying about traffic signs, stops, road rules, etc. There are plenty of options to learn those and that was never a stated objective of this ride. Yes, all cyclists should observe the rules of the road and that applies equally to pedestrians, cyclists, and motorized vehicles. And it\’s nice to have a day when cyclists own the road and can enjoy the fun of biking these routes such as I-405.

The friend I cycled with has done past Bridge Pedals and he thought that the pack of riders was much tighter most of the ride than last year. He said many times last year you were able to hit a good stride without being too crowded but this year it seemed crowded most of the ride. Not sure how to fix that and would have been nice at times. I also agree with the comments on people passing on the right, and it takes both slower riders moving right and faster ones being observant of traffic ettiquette and shifting left.

My only negatives today were the woman who clipped me on the St. John\’s Bridge and caused me to skid to the side and fall, and never stopped to see if I was okay. And the man who was on his cell phone and not looking when he rode into me by the St. John\’s rest stop.

I\’ll do the Pedal again next year in a heartbeat!

Loree
Loree
14 years ago

My second Bridge Pedal, after my last one in 2005. Family engagements have kept me from the last two, but I didn\’t want to miss another year. I convinced my husband (he was skeptical at first) to try the 6-bridge ride with me, and we had a great time. After the wait to get started, we had a pretty steady ride, with very few delays.

My poor hubby did wipe out on the first set of railroad tracks on Front Street, scraping his knee and hand. After we pulled off to the side to attend to his (minor) wounds and get his chain back on, we watched two more people wipe out there. No major injuries. I told him it was a rite of passage. 😉

His comments: \”The Bridge Pedal not only offered an opportunity to see the city from a new perspective, it also offered me an opportunity to fall flat on my @ss, which was also a new and different experience. [laugh] And it was fun. I had a blast.\”

Next year I\’ll have him on the 8- or even 11-bridge ride, just you wait and see. 🙂

Schrauf
Schrauf
14 years ago

I think North Portlander is a troll trying to cause useless discussion. How could anyone compare a fun ride like the Bridge Pedal, to Bike to Work and other educational events? Totally different things, with different goals.

Do you think this large of an event could even be pulled off without a closed, or at least partially closed, course? There are plenty of events for people who need help riding and navigating in traffic.

So are road running events, such as marathons, pointless because they don\’t teach runners how to look out for traffic?

Darby
Darby
14 years ago

First time. 8 bridge. Had a blast. Would do it again.

John Russell
14 years ago

This was my first, so I went all out with the 11-bridge ride. I would have to say that riding the length of 405 was my favorite part. Leaving at 7 am, the only significant bottleneck I encountered was getting onto the MLK viaduct. After walking and coasting for a minute or two, it was all behind us. I think next year, if they do the MLK viaduct again, they should divert all auto traffic onto Grand and leave two lanes on MLK for bikes. The only other problems were some of the one-lane segments when fair-weather riders would ride three or four abreast. While I think being able to ride all over the place is one of the best parts about it, I think it would be helpful to encourage common rules of the road such as slower vehicles keeping right.
I had and saw quite a few close calls that could have easily been avoided by following some of those rules more closely, but nothing as bad as what I counted to be the at-least-five-bike pile-up coming down the Marquam.

Tom Miller
Tom Miller
14 years ago

I\’m in the tiny minority (of 1?) that enjoyed last year more than this year. Last year I rode all the bridges and experienced the Springwater Trail bottleneck. But looking back, I guess that didn\’t bum me out much because hey, it\’s Bridge Pedal, a beautiful day, and nearly 20,000 folks are on bikes.

This year I had a totally different ride. I took my daughter, who\’s 2, and we did the six-bridge family ride. While we didn\’t experience any epic bottlenecks on par with Springwater last year, the number of bottlenecks were more numerous.

And as others have reported, the family ride can be a little bit hairball with so many kids wizzing about. For instance, I\’m not exactly sure what happened, but a younger girl (10 or so) broke her wrist on the descent down the Marquam.

My wife thought she might have been cut off by some boys; I thought she might have caught a pothole. In either case (if either is correct) the lack of experience in the saddle is illustrative.

I hope she\’s doing fine, and I applaud and encourage parents who bring their kids that are old enough to ride on their own. I would never discourage a parent from encouraging children to ride. I\’m merely noting it can be a little crazy out there with the young ones.

At the intersection of Burnside and SW 2nd I experienced it a little more intimately. We were stopped to let a few cars through (north/south) and a little guy behind me apparently couldn\’t come to a complete stop and put his front wheel into my heel. He went down but not so bad.

Fortunately we both walked away okay, but that was dumb luck. If it had been his pedal instead of his tire he would have ripped up my (exposed) heel pretty good. And he would have gone sideways and down hard.

The biggest annoyance was being squeezed into one lane to accommodate a handful of cars. I don\’t see the cost/benefit in that situation. I recommend giving bicyclists two lanes at all times, especially so with the younger set that isn\’t yet as mindful of their fellow riders in front, behind, left and right.

If two lanes means the street needs to be closed to cars, so be it. It\’s one morning one day per year. Or, it\’s 6 hours of 8760 hours total, 0.0007% of the time.

All in all, another great ride and proud Portland phenomenon. I expect to be on the family ride again next year and I\’d love to experience it with two travel lines dedicated to the 15,000-20,000 of us out there.

Tom Miller
Tom Miller
14 years ago

Correction: the broken wrist occurred on the descent off the Ross Island.

jaime
jaime
14 years ago

Totally forgot this weekend was bridge pedal and tried to go from Laurelhurst to Bethany for a round of golf in my car (I drive about four times a month). Tried to take 405 S, what a mistake! Took me an 1:15 to get over to the west side. Would\’ve hated to be a car traveling through portland today without knowledge of bridge pedal. Entire automobile infrastructure just crippled by the closure of 405S.

Ben McLeod
14 years ago

This was my first Bridge Pedal. I rode it with my wife and our two kids, and we had a blast.

We rode the six-bridge family ride, and the sailing was pretty smooth (with the exception of the Burnside congestion; but whatever, it was fun).

Just being out on the roads with 17,000-or-so other riders is a wonderful experience.

I took some pictures and posted them here.

See you all next year!!

Doug Strickler
Doug Strickler
14 years ago

My daughter was one of the riders that ended the ride in an ambulance. She got tangled up with a rider who was passing her just after we got off the Ross Island Bridge. The riders had gotten a little bunched up so there wasn\’t much room to maneuver and both riders misjudged speed and available space. At first we thought she\’d broken her wrist, but it turned out that she had just landed on it hard and banged it up pretty well (i.e. lots of pain with the attendant scrapes and bruises). It\’s probably one of a parent\’s worst moments – being close enough to see your child heading into an accident, yet not being able to react in any way to stop it.

I want to thank the people who stopped immediately to provide help (several people provided traffic control and helped with our bikes, a young woman who was a doctor was there within about three minutes and two people had called 911 before we even asked) and advice. I certainly wouldn\’t wish this sort of incident on anyone, but it was a heart-warming display of attention from people who were willing to interrupt their activity to offer to be of help. It\’s a wonderful event and we hope to be back next year with more experience and more attention to the changing conditions that we\’re riding in.

Sherry
Sherry
14 years ago

I, too, woke up at 5 am to meet Portland Velo in St Johns to volunteer. Thank you to Starbucks in St Johns for donating the much needed coffee that helped wake me up and put a big smile on my face as thousands of happy cyclists passed me on N Greeley Ave.

A poor cyclist (one of the first to pass me this morning) had a flat but no spare tube. (everyone should always carry extra tubes when the ride!) I felt bad and wish I would have thought to bring some extras with me.

Also, I met some incredible people today and had a blast! There were neighborhood \”volunteers\” supporting the volunteers – brilliant!
Portland is awesome!

JeffW
JeffW
14 years ago

This was our first BP, and we had a great time. My wife and I did the 8 bridge route. My wife was concerned about how she\’d be able to handle it on her new Oma, but she did great. She was thrilled when she finished without having walk up any of the hills, remarking to the countless people that asked about the bike, \”I\’m a swimmer, not a cyclist.\”

We saw several minor accidents along the way, but things didn\’t seem to get dicey until towards the end when the 6-bridgers joined up. A lot of novice riders, but god bless \’em for getting out there. We saw half a dozen people spill on the tracks, even with the volunteers warning everyone.

Great overall experience and we\’d do it again.

nonlineargirl
14 years ago

The difference a year makes. I almost didn\’t sign up again after last year, but I am glad I did. My husband and I did the 8 bridge ride, and it was smooth going the whole way. I am so thrilled the bridge pedal figured things out this year.

Graham
Graham
14 years ago

I find myself doing mental exercises to put the reports of crashes and injuries into perspective. For instance, imagine if we unleashed this many drivers of this level of inexperience into traffic of this density all at once. Or, on the flip side, imagine how much bicycle riding skills and road manners would improve if we got to do this more than 0.0007% of the time? (Thanks for doing the math on that one, Tom.)

For this concentration of inexperienced riders doing something this unfamiliar – especially with the speeds you can achieve coming down off those bridges – it sounds like it went really smoothly.

Ben, #36, I really like this picture: http://www.flickr.com/photos/benmcleod/2750854309/in/set-72157606653362288/

brettoo
brettoo
14 years ago

AFter last year\’s fiasco, when dozens (at least) of us were turned away from the Fremont Bridge, I wasn\’t planning on Bridge Pedaling again. But a friend was visiting from back east and said it sounded like fun, so I lent him my old bike and off we went with another friend on the 6 bridge ride. And it was much nicer than last year, as many have noted above. I was critical of the organizers last year so must tip my helmet to them this time for figuring it out.

I agree with the above suggestions that some kind of pre=race talk be given on some basic rules (like don\’t pass on the right) because a few impatient types had some near=misses.

And even on the family ride, I wish there was some way to segregate the kids — as happened last year, I saw way too many near-collisions caused by a young \’un suddenly veering in front of someone else. Made it hard to get much momentum going around them, and meant I had to be paying more attention to them than to seeing the sights from the bridges. (Of course we always need to pay attention to riders and drivers around us, but I had to be much warier around the kids than I would have with adults.) I don\’t blame the kids for being kids, of course. It would just be nice to find a way to give them a bit more space.

Admittedly, I could have avoided kids by doing one of the earlier rides but those start times are just too early for someone who likes to stay out late on Saturday nights. I realize they need to re-open the bridges to cars, but I wish there was some way to have a later start for slackers like me.
Anyway, a good time for me and my friends and a redemption for the organizers. As always, so empowering to see so many of us ruling the roads. Glad I did it. And it finally got me to join the BTA!

Barbara Kilts
Barbara Kilts
14 years ago

As everyone said, a great ride! My daughter and I did the 11 bridge ride and had a lovely time. We started a bit after 7:30, cruised along, hit all the rest stops, enjoyed all the views. The middle section mixing up with the family riders was smooth, just a few of the weaving kidlets to keep you on your toes!

I\’ve done several of the past BPs and this was by far the best layed out. I really appreciated the signs used to indicate which direction to go instead of only having the volunteers yelling out instructions. And the volunteers deserve much kudos, especially the fellow that brought his bike and trainer stand – he got to ride AND be a course marshal!

So even with the latish start, I never felt rushed and there was plenty of food at the rest stops. I, too, sort of missed the music on top of the bridges, but just being up there with family, friends and a gazillion other folks is what make Bridge Pedal so special!

Barbara

Russ
Russ
14 years ago

Are they not selling Nutcase helmets anymore for Bridge Pedal?

They probably dropped them last year and I didn\’t notice.

G Force
G Force
14 years ago

Forgot to ask this earlier in my post: any word on the rider (or riders) injured on the St. John\’s Bridge today? It happened just after we crossed and we heard others tell us it looked like a broken collarbone. I\’ve seen Marquam and Ross Island injuries mentioned here, but nothing about St. John\’s.

Old Timer
Old Timer
14 years ago

I have done few of BP\’s in the past, pretty fun. This year, the only bridges I was interested in riding over are the Marquam and Freemont, most of the others you can ride over any time.
It turns out that it is incredibly easy to just get on your bike and join the ride as an unregistered rider. I did the two big bridges then went on my merry way, no bottlenecks, no crowds.

Mike Houck
14 years ago

I quit last year\’s ride in frustration at the waits and vowed not to ride it again. I\’m pleased to say I gave it another chance and rode the 11 bridge route. Other than missing the split after Ross Island, due most likely to my own inattentiveness, and riding the Hawthorne Bridge 3 times….making it a 13 bridge ride for me…..I thought this year\’s ride was fabulous. Any glitches, such as a later start, were minute compared to last year\’s interminable waits at the Ross Is Bridge and near the end.

Fabulous job!

Mike Houck

KT
KT
14 years ago

So… we did the 11-bridge ride.

Met up with our Team at 6:30, got in line at 6:45– Hung out with a LOT of really nice people on bikes waiting for the start.

Loved ! starting by going across the Fremont and then riding the freeway to the Marquam. It was awesome. I couldn\’t stop grinning!

And the Broadway: bikes both directions! It was also awesome! If only this was an everyday occurrance… 🙂

Saw lots of people riding and talking on their cell phones. Really? You can\’t a) stay off the phone for a couple hours (all the conversations I overheard were about trivial stuff) or b) pull over to the side? Riding and talking on your cell isn\’t the brightest thing to do under normal circumstances– it\’s even less bright when you\’re riding in a crowd of mixed abilities.

I also second and third the \”slower riders keep right\” idea. I apologize for passing on the right, but I gave audible warning (both voice and bell) before doing it.

I second and third the idea of the organizers posting basic ride etiquette on their website– and on the ride bibs. Lots of people not looking when they pull over, not giving any warning that they were going to go in an unexpected direction, not being spatially aware, lots of weaving around the middle of the road– Sorry, but I\’m going to pass wherever I feel safe doing so if only to get away from you.

The only small jam-up was on the way to the Sellwood… and even though we came to a very brief stop, we at least continued rolling forward with enough momentum that the unicyclist didn\’t have to dismount.

The Marquam crash happened behind me… and the St Johns crash also happened behind me. I was at the St J rest area when the ambulance went up the bridge, though.

The end was much different than last year; for one thing, they set up the finish way far away from the Bite. I slowly and politely made my way through the end crowd on foot, then got back on my bike to go down to the Bite.

Yes, we got in for free with our ride bibs again this year. No, the food and beverages were NOT free. They never are, unless you were sampling from the Calphalon folks.

One of our group was on his first bridge pedal, and so enjoyed himself, he\’s already said he wants to do next year as well.

The weather was great, the participants were, for the most part, great, the volunteers and police were AWESOME, and the donut kid was hilarious!

Great job, BP organizers!!

Angela
Angela
14 years ago

MUCH smoother than last year! My friend and I started the 11-bridge ride at 6:45 and only encountered a couple of tight spots. We had to get off our bikes and walk for a couple of minutes on the way to the Sellwood bridge, but that\’s nothing compared to 2007\’s standstill. Bravo to the organizers and all the wonderful volunteers for your efforts to make this a great experience.

John
John
14 years ago

My big disappointment last year was missing the cutoff at the Fremont for the St. Johns bridge due to the congestion, since being stuck in last years bottlenecks was surprisingly fun.

This being my 5th bridge pedal, I started the 11 bridge ride at the 7:30 start and had a great ride with no real congestion or bottlenecks. It was a great ride on a great day and I think the organizers adequately worked around the problems of previous years.

If I had to complain about something it would be the slower riders who would ride 4 abreast taking up the entire width of the street or the slower riders who didn\’t stay right. But that is a problem with the riders and not the organizers. I did some dodging of the cones this year to get around some knots of riders buy not as much as in previous years.

All in all it was a lot of fun and I\’m happy I participated.