Report (and photos): Pizza Ride / Bluesapalooza

The Epic Pizza Ride this year was in its fourth, and most extreme, incarnation, including over 100 dedicated pizza eaters, a vegan contingent, a trip up Highway 30 to St Johns, and a serendipitous convergence with the Bluesapalooza ride and its mobile sound system, blues dancers, and a roller-skating corker.

Nostalgic brainchild of the of New Haven exports Shawn Granton and myself, the Pizza Ride has historically made the rounds of some of the better Portland pizzerias, fruitlessly seeking the perfect thin-crust brick oven pie, but always finding satisfaction, good sized crowds, enormous hills, and lots of 1/16th slices.

This year we traveled over 20 miles, with some major wins and fails along the way. (As one rider put it, “Granton should come with a warning label.”) We were treated like kings at the Give Pizza a Chance cart downtown, where they had brewed up a batch of birch beer for us, as well as at Old Town Pizza downtown, Hot Lips by PGE Park, Signal Station in St Johns, and Pizza Fino in Kenton (which stayed open late for us). I left the ride at Stark Naked Pizza at 11:30pm — but about 30 folks continued on to Hammy’s for more late night pizza noshing.

My least favorite part of the ride was seeing two people crash hard after crossing West Burnside as the other riders around them looked down at them and just kept riding along (big thanks to the few who stopped). My favorite part by far was the excitement in the eyes of the two young guys who had just been riding aimlessly around downtown and followed us out of curiosity — they told us this was the most amazing experience and they couldn’t wait to get involved in more rides.

Also exciting was meeting up with the Blues riders, who had great spirit. The guy on roller blades was my hero, he was faster shooting up the hill to the St Johns bridge than many of us on bikes, and never stopped dancing, even while corking.

This ride was a Mercury pick of the week, and we had a ton of non-hardcore riders along. Another awesome moment was waiting at the top of the St Johns bridge for the last few folks to make it up and seeing a gal on a cruiser ride up the final distance, standing on the pedals, with a huge triumphant grin on her face.

I was bringing up the back of the ride, and didn’t get many photos — but here are a few in a slideshow below (or see them with captions on Flickr):

Photo of author

Elly Blue (Columnist)

Elly Blue has been writing about bicycling and carfree issues for BikePortland.org since 2006. Find her at http://takingthelane.com

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