– Gallery/Slideshow below-
(Photos © J. Maus)
After a few raindrops, the first of five Sunday Parkways events kicked off the 2010 season with a bang in Northeast Portland today. People and bikes of all shapes, sizes and colors flocked to the streets to enjoy the carfree calm and explore neighborhoods full of activities around every corner.
The turnout was massive. Parks along the route were especially packed as people took time to enjoy the sun, live music, and the atmosphere in general. Many people I talked with seemed to notice the same thing — families and kids. This was the largest showing of the growing trend in family riding I’ve seen at any event to date.
Mayor Sam Adams was at Alberta Park doing an interview with The Oregonian when I rolled up. Afterward we chatted a bit and even he mentioned the amazing number of kids and families on bikes. Xtracycles, bakfiets, tag-along bikes, tandems, kids riding solo — there were little ones everywhere!
The bike skills park set up at Alberta Park (thanks to NW Trail Alliance) was busy all day long. Kids were lining up for their chance to ride the balance beams and teeter-totters. Mayor Adams took note — now I wonder if he and Parks Commissioner Nick Fish (see below) could put their heads together and find a permanent home for a bike skills park?!
Also at Alberta Park, I learned about an exciting new bike club in town — Girly Bike!. This group, started by Pandora Patterson (who was out riding when I stopped by her booth) is devoted to women who want to ride bikes. They get together, host clinics, go on rides, and generally provide a network to make riding more fun (and less intimidating) for women.
I was also struck by the diversity of people out today, both in terms of age and race. Sunday Parkways truly appeals to, and is appreciated by, seemingly everyone in this city.
Other highlights from today:
- Elvis? Yes Elvis!
- I ran into Momentum Magazine co-publisher and marketing maven Mia Kohut.
- Former Surly Bikes product manager/designer and new Portland resident Nick Sande was rolling around on an Ahearne Cycle Truck outfitted with his awesome mobile speaker system.
- Spotted my friend Esther Harlow wearing a rather nice DIY tank-top made out of Sunday Parkways bandannas.
- Sergeant Voepel from the Portland Police Traffic Division was hanging out and letting kids sit on his motorcycle.
- The Sprockettes did an impromptu performance near Alberta Park, which featured a new song and their newest member, Adriane Ackerman.
That fact was not lost on many local politicians working to persuade last-minute voters before election day this Tuesday. I saw City Commissioner Nick Fish riding his Trek hybrid bike, and candidates for Metro President Rex Burkholder and Bob Stacey were also pedaling around. Volunteers for City Commissioner Dan Saltzman (in a battle to retain his seat) were camped out at Alberta Park and volunteers for City Commissioner candidate Mary Volm were also working hard to spread the word.
Now in its third year, the positive word-of-mouth about Sunday Parkways has spread far and wide. I overheard several people saying this was their first one ever and I suspect it won’t be their last.
See more photos in the gallery or in the slideshow below.
PBOT is planning four more Sunday Parkways events this year. Funding is tight (they didn’t get support from the general fund as they requested) and they are also concerned about getting enough volunteers to keep things going smoothly. Learn more at PortlandSundayParkways.com.