Something happens to Portland sometimes, transforming it into a different city entirely — when it snows, or when the power goes out, or on major holidays, the city becomes strangely quiet but also wonderfully alive, with strangers greeting each other on the street, friends and family walking in groups to neighborhood businesses, and a general spirit of calm and good cheer.
It isn’t magic or rocket science: It’s just what happens when everyone lets their car sit in the driveway.
And it’s happening again on Friday. Work, school, and most stores are shut down for Christmas; and for a large percentage of Portlanders, the morning is reserved for drinking coffee and opening gifts in your pajamas. The streets will be empty, and at least one group of souls will be out there riding freely through them.
Last month over 20 riders braved the rain to enjoy a basically car-free city center on Thanksgiving morning. Light brunch was followed by an Appetite Enhancement Ride around town, after which riders went their separate ways for dinner and pie.
On Friday, December 25th, at 9:30am, regardless of weather, one and all are welcome to meet up in the parking lot of the Lucky Lab at 915 SE Hawthorne for a merry ride around town. Here’s how ride organizer Aaron Tarfman describes the festivities:
Just like the Thanksgiving ride, we’ll enjoy the ghost town that is Portland on Christmas morning. The early start time is to give us plenty of time to enjoy the peaceful and relaxing carfree streets. Actual departure time will be 9:45am. Be sure to come to the benches at the back of the pub for departure. We’ll circuit the parking garage, cross the Morrison Bridge, and generally have a rolling party through the city. Decorations aren’t required, but HIGHLY encouraged.
At BikePortland, we wish you all a happy and safe holiday, however you’ll be spending it.
- Ride details:
Ghost Christmas Ride
Friday, December 25, 9:30am
Lucky Lab Brewpub, 915 SE Hawthorne
UPDATE: And here are two other rides to consider in the coming days…
Joy of Sects — Christmas Eve Edition
Join the Bike Temple to learn about local religions and tour places of worship. Ride meets at 8:00pm. More details here.
On Christmas Day, North Freak bike club is doing a special Christmas edition of their Freak Friday ride. Meet at 10:00 at Irving Park in Northeast Portland for some freaky fun.
Elly Blue has been writing about bicycling and carfree issues for BikePortland.org since 2006. Find her at http://takingthelane.com