— Gallery/slideshow below —
(Photos © J. Maus)
Last night Rip City and Bike City finally came together. We had a great time rallying, riding and cheering for the Trail Blazers at their last home game of the season. We put bikes on the map at the Rose Garden like never before.
With about 100 tickets sold for the Bike to Blazers section added to the other folks who biked to the arena, I would guess there were nearly 200 bikes parked at the Rose Garden last night!
At the rally in Waterfront Park, we had music from 94.7FM, the local TV media got some footage of biking Blazer fans, folks put Blazer bells on their bikes, and we heard from a few notable Portlanders. Rob Sadowsky, the new leader of the BTA (he doesn’t officially take over until July 1) made his first big Portland appearance. Blazers Senior VP of Business Operations, J. Isaac let everyone know how serious the Blazers are about encouraging biking to the arena. Metro Councilor Rex Burkholder, who was the leader of the BTA when they sued the City to put bike lanes in front of the Rose Garden Arena, also addressed the crowd.
For me, the best part of the rally was all the families and kids that showed up and seeing all the spirited fans in their Blazer best…
With big Blazers flags flying from tall bikes (thanks Dutch and Garrett!), we rolled out on a ride to the arena. We got a lot of smiles and stares and did a victory lap around the Memorial Coliseum and Rose Garden before settling in at the plaza between the two buildings. We had plenty of bike parking (thanks TriMet!), the kids made signs, the Community Cycling Center snapped photos for their I-Ride campaign, and folks tried their best to ride Neal Fegan’s amazing sculptural velocipedes.
Bill Walton-signed helmet and then
wore it before taking her shots on
the court after the game.
In the arena, we all sat near each other (although not quite a big bike block of seats like I’d hoped). We got some prime time coverage on the JumboTron and a call out from the arena announcer at the end of the first quarter. Joel Holly from the BTA proudly held up his Bikes + Blazers = Portland sign for all the nearly sold-out crowd to see.
We cheered as hard as we could (Evan Ross from Portland Bicycle Tours even tried to get a wave started to no avail), and it was an exciting game, but the Blazers couldn’t quite deliver a victory.
At the end of the game, a big group of us got to go onto the court to take a few shots. This was one of the highlights of the night. What a thrill for the kids and adults alike to stand on the court and shoot baskets in an NBA arena. My heart was racing as I took my shots and I airballed twice… but I was proud to see many others make their shots so rest assured that us bikers were not embarrassed.
Big thanks to everyone who helped pull this event together — especially Justin Zeulner with the Rose Quarter, Lisa Swan from the Trail Blazers group ticket office, and Heather McCarey from the Lloyd TMA.
This was the first time the Blazers organization has really embraced this event. We are already making plans for next time and you can expect this event to grow in the years to come.