Urban Tribe - Ride with your kids in front.

Bridge Pedal: How was it for you? [Slideshow]

Posted by on August 8th, 2010 at 11:03 am

Riders pedal north on I-405.
Slideshow below/Gallery (82 images)
(Photos © J. Maus)

Today was another amazing Bridge Pedal event. Thousands of people of all ages, sizes, and colors enjoyed a bike ride in places they can’t get to any other day of the year. The views from the bridges, the celebrations with friends, and the accomplishment of completing the route all add up to a nearly perfect Portland day.

Bridge Pedal 2010-54 Bridge Pedal 2010-61 Bridge Pedal 2010-75 Bridge Pedal 2010-14

I say “nearly” perfect, because like in years past, there was some confusion with the routes and there were several places where many people had to dismount and walk due to bottlenecks. There were also, unfortunately, a fair number of crashes. I saw the ambulance and fire truck in action twice and I saw three other situations where people were being attended to with first aid. (More crash coverage in comments below and in The Oregonian.)

Bridge Pedal 2010-74

It’s too bad that many people do not appreciate the real consequences that can easily come with riding too fast or without caution and consideration for others. I understand the circumstances are difficult: There are thousands of people with different biking skill levels all thrown together, and due to a route that changes each year — much of it highways and bridges usually closed to biking — no one really knows what to expect.

Speaking of closures. One acquaintance of mine, Jeff Wills, was perturbed that he was not allowed to start the 10-bridge ride because he showed up just after 7:00 am. I saw him on the ride and he followed up via email: “I arrived right at 7 and was turned away and told to join the 7 Bridge Loop. That’s not what I signed up for.”

I had a great day, but I think it’s worth sharing a few quibbles. Why is it that we can’t just fully close a road for half-a-day? Just one narrow lane south on McLoughlin to Sellwood, a narrow lane on the St. Johns Bridge. I would think that a ride that’s been going on 15 years, that people pay $35 a piece for, and that draws 20,000 people would be a big enough deal to warrant a full closure. It sort of puts in perspective how difficult it will be for us to ever get a real, Bogota-like ciclovia event in this city. If we can’t have non-motorized access to our major highways on Bridge Pedal Sunday, then when will it ever happen?

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U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer (L) and Senator Ron Wyden.
Bridge Pedal 2010-11

I also think given the size and success of this ride, the signage and the volunteer preparation could be much more professional. The 400 volunteers are great, but they might be more effective if complemented by some higher quality route signage and maybe even a megaphone or two.

Bridge Pedal 2010-5

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My minor quibbles aside, I had an absolutely awesome time. Everyone was in such good spirits, I loved all the diversity in age and ethnicity, and the feeling of being on the 405 and the big bridges was exhilarating.

Bridge Pedal 2010-80

A lift of the Steel Bridge backed
up traffic on both sides.

I spent 20 minutes or so hanging out on I-405 between Everett and Glisan. The Japanese Taiko drummers caught my attention and then the sheer joy of just hanging out on a highway took over. I bumped into my friend Jon Wood and he was equally excited to be there. “As a west sider, I’m used to how this [the 405] is such a barrier… It’s great to see it as a unifying force.”

Before riding home, I rolled over to the start of Kids Pedal. Hundreds of little ones, with faces that showed equal parts nervousness and excitement, ready to ride up and over the river with their moms, dads, and friends. After that, I rode back north through Waterfront Park and was treated to a kaleidoscope of bikes, smiling people, and other signs of Portland we have all come to hold so dear.

Thanks to everyone who supports Bridge Pedal and makes it possible. Our city wouldn’t be the same without it.

Here’s my photo gallery (click “next page” at bottom for all 82 images). Watch the slideshow below and make sure to share your experiences in the comments below.

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Thank you.

  • patrickz August 8, 2010 at 11:11 am

    Did the 7-bridge ride. Volunteers did a top job; friendly, vociferous when called for and efficient. Organization, food distribution, get A++ from both of us. And the drizzle helped keep us cool. Portland is as beautiful as ever.

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  • Red Five August 8, 2010 at 11:26 am

    Was Sam Adams in attendance?

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  • Patrick August 8, 2010 at 11:51 am

    I also did the 7 bridge and had a great experience. Plenty of volunteers, several of them overflowing with personality and cheering the riders on. Well spaced tents for rest and repairs. Didn’t see anyone riding recklessly and no speed demons running down casual riders. All in all superb.

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  • seanb August 8, 2010 at 12:03 pm

    Did the 10-bridge ride today. Conditions were nice and route was fun. Lots of positives but, unfortunately, I was misdirected to the start of the 7-bridge ride at a very sketchy corner and had to turn around and consult the map with about five others in my group, then go the wrong way on the road to rejoin the 10-bridge ride. Then had a really dangerous brief merge with a slower event in which people going 20+ mph merged with people going <10 mph followed by mass confusion about which bridge turn to take with only seconds to think about it. Finally rejoined the front pack when we were stopped for 5-10 minutes at a major intersection letting 7-bridge riders through. Then at the final corner at the very end, the first three riders in the lead out pack were misdirected and went left instead of right. Luckily I heard the shouts just in time and turned around but those three guys were gone by then. I guess the volunteers were not expecting us and didn't know how to give directions.

    After talking with people right after the finish, it turns out lots of people got lost at the front of the 10-bridge ride and most people described a few of the major bridge entrance intersections as mass confusion.

    My recommendation: Have big arrows with the ride number listed instead of bridge name such as: "10-left", "7-right" instead of shouting out to follow certain bridges or point people the wrong way. Chaos could easily be avoided that way.

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  • Mickey August 8, 2010 at 12:04 pm

    We made an emergency repair to a tandem front rim that was mangled by an expansion joint on the Fremont, but otherwise, folks were rolling along pretty well. We had lots of fun!

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  • Musty August 8, 2010 at 12:43 pm

    I just got home after finishing the 10 bridge ride. I want to start by saying this was the worst ride ever. Basically if you wanted to know what its like to be stuck in traffic on every bridge in Portland, than you would know after this. Nobody had any courtesy, beginning bike riders were riding slow and stopping on the left side of the road. It was organized very nicely, and all that Jazz. But the start needs to be staggard or something. It was so bad!
    In the flier it promised we could “bomb bridges”, but so may people were riding their brakes down the bridges that it was making it unsafe for all the other riders. RIDICULOUS!

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  • huggybear August 8, 2010 at 1:15 pm

    Glad to see from the slide show it looks like most of the riders had a great time. As for all the Lance wanna be riders I do not think this ride is for you, maybe take a rest day.

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  • Joel August 8, 2010 at 1:16 pm

    Just an observation. Maybe if the participants knew their routes before going on the ride, they wouldn’t go the wrong direction. At one spot, there were three ways to go-the seven bridge route, the ten bridge first time through, and ten bridge second time through. It would seemingly be in one’s self interest to know which way one is going all the way through the ride, and prepare to go in that direction.

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  • Marid August 8, 2010 at 1:21 pm

    As a tandem captain, it was a very nerve racking experience for me. I can’t say it was particularly enjoyable for my stoker either. Definitely worse than last year. We managed not to crash into or run anyone down, but so many people tried their best. The St. John’s bridge was terrible. I hope the overcrowding was due to the bridge closures tightening up the course. I really wish they would stagger the starts into one fast followed by one slow group.

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  • Anonymous August 8, 2010 at 1:26 pm

    We took a nice long walk. Interstate 5 Southbound was a parking lot most of the morning. Still going slow at 1PM.

    Turn off the Freemont bridge and notice how the poorly designed Interstate system fails to adapt.

    This Sunday is a perfect storm. Add 5,000-10,000 cars hauling bikes to a system with a few flaws. Result=Gridlock.

    This is a note to those who hate bikes. On any given day cyclists could unite, drive our cars, and produce these same results. It’s not a threat because it will never happen. It’s just a reality.

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  • KJ August 8, 2010 at 1:31 pm

    Man I love seeing bikes on the freeway, I can just imagine a world where those are bike freeways.

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  • Jeffm August 8, 2010 at 1:32 pm

    I had quite an opposite experience from some of the posters who had problems. I did the 10-bridge ride and was struck by how free-flowing traffic was virtually the entire way. I liked starting at the base of the Fremont Bridge. That gave everyone a lot of room to sort themselves out on the uphill climb when speeds are lower. By the time we reached the downhill, I did not have that many riders around me. And I never felt unsure about what route to take. Of course, that was just how the ride felt from my vantage point. Twenty-thousand riders, 20,000 different experiences!

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  • Chris Shaffer August 8, 2010 at 1:56 pm

    We had a great time on the 5 bridge ride. Good directions, no confusion, hardly anyone riding too fast, lots of happy faces.

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  • Tom August 8, 2010 at 2:38 pm

    10 bridges and a great morning. Portland was at it’s best. Bikes running the freeway is one my favorites. It was crowded but the volunteers were helpful and smiling. The ending off the Steel was the smoothest in owe ten years of riding the event.

    Thank you Portland for supporting this event.

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  • Kevin Wagoner August 8, 2010 at 3:00 pm

    Awesome work, they put on a great ride. Going over the bridges is such a treat. My 11 year old nephew from Detroit loved it.

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  • Lady Jane August 8, 2010 at 3:01 pm

    You do have to keep your wits about you to do this ride, given the congestion and the different abilities.

    I was bugged by two constituencies: the riders riding two abreast and chatting were truly distracted riders, who didn’t hold their lines or their speed and messed up the flow; and the 10-bridge riders in full race gear who came late but were using the ride as a training ride, doing pace lines and darting around the slower riders with no warning.

    This is a great event, but I would suggest there be a 10 minute head start for the macho boys who want to get out front and drag race to the finish; and I would suggest there be a rule of no riding abreast.

    And I second the recommendation that they line folks up according to pace and start the ride in waves.

    And come to think of it, there should be no passing allowed on the right.

    Otherwise, bravo Portland. From bridge to shining bridge!

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  • David Johnson August 8, 2010 at 3:04 pm

    This was my second year on the Bridge Pedal, and my second time doing the 10 bridge ride (I think 11 bridge last year?). Aside from the joy of riding on the freeways and celebrating the bike as a form of transport, what I love about events like this is the way it brings everyone out to have a good time. The ride always feels as though it is over too quickly!

    There were some hic-cups with giving directions around the Morrison/Hawthorn Bridge (I saw one couple trying to figure out where they should be going), and there was a bottleneck when the 10-bridge met up with the 7-bridge, but all taken in good spirits…and from what Jonathan posted a couple of days ago some of this was imposed upon the organizers due to bridge closure and construction work.

    All in all I think that the organizers and volunteers did a great job (lovely to see cyclists acknowledging them by ring their bells as they went by). Given how many people were cycling around this morning and the varying degrees of ability and experience, I think that it went very well. Lots of smiles and good spirits.

    Looking forward to next year!

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  • Mike August 8, 2010 at 3:27 pm

    The 10 bridge ride was great. Well organized. Great food/rest breaks.

    Some riders need to be reminded that is a “ride” not a “race”. But, hey…there are always the 3% who stand out. Thanks to the 97% who made this a wonderful morning. And thanks to the ride organizers for excellent work.

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  • Bill Chin August 8, 2010 at 3:30 pm

    I rode the 10 bridge ride. I have done Bridge Pedal for years, so I know the earlier you start the better. Despite always being watchful of unpredictable riders, I really enjoy being part of so many bikers taking over the bridges, freeways and streets. Great views and a fun twisty route through Portland.

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  • steaky August 8, 2010 at 3:30 pm

    Volunteered as a ride marshal on the 10 bridge. Had a great time. Sure it was a little slow at times, but what do you expect with 20,000 people of all ages and skills. I was impressed, most people were very polite and riding safely. I just wished that they would have given me some 26″ tubes- all I had were 700’s and there were a few people that I couldn’t help with flats that were beyond a patch kit. Anyway, loved the early morning start and logged over 52 miles today.

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  • trail abuser August 8, 2010 at 3:41 pm

    I can’t believe I was asked to put my clothes back on. What a travesty!

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  • Brian Tang August 8, 2010 at 3:42 pm

    I rode the ten-bridge ride with my father, my younger brother, and my uncle, who’s visiting from out of town. My dad was separated from us for about fifteen minutes on 405. When he caught up at the rest area it turned out he had been whitness to the serious crash on 405 and apparently had himself crashed trying to avoid it. He was pretty shook up after that, but somehow not physically injured. I don’t understand why they routed the emergency responders along 405 (against bike traffic). We were still at the rest area five to ten minutes after when the fire truck went through and it couldn’t have been going much more than 20 m.p.h. It had to have been about 20 minutes since the crash. I hope there was an ambulance routed on surface streets that got there sooner because my dad said there was a lady who was seriously injured.

    I don’t know if it was because we kept getting delayed and got there later in the day, but we experienced much more congestion on HWY 30. I was sure that we must have had less space than last year. They also easily could have created more space on the St Johns Bridge. Why were there three rows of cones? Drivers seem confused about which lane to drive in and I think one lane wasn’t even used at all.

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  • Jen August 8, 2010 at 3:51 pm

    We did the 10 bridge ride, and other than a few bottlenecked places, it was quite pleasant. I was expecting it to be a lot worse this year, with all the closures and construction. One thing that really helped my enjoyment factor was I kept reminding myself this was a very mixed ride.

    I think for some people, this is the one time per year they dust off their bikes and strap their helemts as far back onto their heads as possible. Mix these guys with the erratic children just learning and the super macho racing types and it can be difficult.

    I would love to see it stressed to more riders to stay to the right unless passing. That would really help to make for an easier ride for everyone. There were quite a few spots (from downtown to the freemont bridge in paticular)where the left side was full of slower people while the right was empty, which sadly led to our group swerving in and out a bit. Since our average speed was 16 mph, I don’t think we were trying to go too speedy quick.

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  • Anthony August 8, 2010 at 3:52 pm

    The 10 bridge was a Great time except for a few Lance wannabe’s, good thing I have the ability to pretend that they are invisible. And I hope the lady that crashed on the Ross Island bridge is ok.

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  • Brian Tang August 8, 2010 at 4:22 pm

    A lady near us also went down after going into a crack between the plywood on the Howthorne. My brother says it looked like she hit her face/cheekbone against the metal curb rail on the way down.

    I personally had a close call on Naito Parkway when I almost crashed into the cop car parked in the middle of the closed-off lanes. The same thing happened on Greeley as a result of the PBOT truck parked in the middle of the road. Normally I would see things like that coming, but I had to focus so intently on avoiding getting my front wheel clipped that I couldn’t afford to take my focus off of my immediate surroundings. The second time around on Naito I just went to the left of the cop car because there wasn’t enough space for me to move into the pack without moving across someone’s wheel.

    My uncle complained that he had to focus so much on not crashing that he wasn’t really able to appreciate the city or do much sight-seeing. I recently started racing at college and my younger brother is new to riding in groups. I was impressed at how good my younger brother got at signaling and calling out his intentions. Lots of learning opportunities this morning…lots of close calls.

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  • K'Tesh August 8, 2010 at 4:52 pm

    I personally had a great time. Took a LOT of pictures (right around 500… Only just started getting the uploaded…


    I’m doing a hundred at a time, so this is gonna take a little while before it’s finished.

    Full report later.

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  • Marid August 8, 2010 at 5:37 pm

    K’Tesh. Cool! We’re in your first batch. Tandem TYT. :^)

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  • Alexis August 8, 2010 at 5:57 pm

    I thought the ride this year was nicer than last, but a bit more confusing. It’s amazing how well things work considering the mix of inexperienced riders and the occasional lyrca warrior who can’t stand to slow down. I actually saw one guy push another one (gently) to move him out of the way (after passing me way too close). That was just plain absurd.

    Three specific things I think could be improved: 1) recommend that kids (under 16s?) not come on the 10-bridge either at all, or unless they know how to ride in traffic (hold their line); 2) devote half of the St. Johns bridge to the ride (2 lanes), instead of 1/4 (1 lane), and 3) try to give people more instruction about keeping right (or left, in some cases) based on speed, as Jen suggests.

    Although I think Bridge Pedal is a super cool event, I will probably not do it again because the crowds are just a little too crazy for me and I end up feeling more stressed than excited.

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  • Paul Johnson August 8, 2010 at 5:58 pm

    When will we have a cycletopia here? Never. Between the high cost of housing, the lack of jobs and the adversarial attitude of the Californian newcomer drivers who never seem to adapt to the local culture, I’m done. Anybody who wants to expedite my permanent departure to Tulsa can paypal me at baloo@ursamundi.org.

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  • Agribob August 8, 2010 at 6:14 pm

    We did the Mid Valley Bicycle Club’s sixty eight and a half mile, four Covered Bridge Ride. (Eighty-five milers and one hundred milers got five Covered Bridges). Despite some scattered showers in the AM it was a great ride. Six hundred riders, scenic roads, not congested, a great lunch, and a root beer float at the finish. Nice T-shirts too with a rememberance to cyclist John Aeby of Holt International who died last year on Cycle Oregon.

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  • Perry August 8, 2010 at 6:16 pm

    Wow, Paul needs a hug AND a beer.

    Did the 7, no incidents and had a great time. Not a big deal to slow down, watch people and have a mellow ride. The chocolate milk was excellent…

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  • A.K. August 8, 2010 at 6:36 pm

    I did the 10 bridge ride as well, got to the start line early to get a jump on the crowds, and it was fine. Never had any issues, and it was a fun morning of riding! Some spots were slow (mostly around the rest stop on the 405 bridge), but whatever – pay attention, slow down, and be safe!

    I was glad the finish wasn’t as crowded as last year, made crossing the finish line a lot less stressful!

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  • Paul Johnson August 8, 2010 at 6:44 pm

    @Perry, being a bear, I’ll gladly take both, even though they don’t really further my goal of moving to the Cherokee Nation.

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  • Perry August 8, 2010 at 6:59 pm

    Bear, kimosabe? I divorced her a couple years back…;-)

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  • Jeff Wills August 8, 2010 at 7:46 pm

    Thanks for the mention, Jonathan. Yep, I can’t believe they allowed only 30 minutes for thousands of cyclists to get started from the Fremont Bridge. I also looked at all my literature and *nothing* says “Fremont Bridge start *closes* at 7AM”. The packet pickup there was still in operation after 7AM- why not let people ride what they signed up for?

    My wife and I ended up heading down the Esplanade and rejoining the 10-bridge on the way to Sellwood. We still had to contend with more inexperienced riders than I’m comfortable with- we spent a lot of time waiting for traffic to pull to the right so we could get past.

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  • Paul Johnson August 8, 2010 at 8:08 pm

    @Perry: Woooosh! Right over my head. Anyrate, what’s this about beer?

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  • Alex K August 8, 2010 at 8:59 pm

    This was my first time at the PBP. I did the 10 bridge ride. I had fun and I will do it again.

    Not being familiar with Portland, I tried to figure out the route beforehand, but when the rubber hit the road, I wasn’t so successful at figuring out whether I had crossed the so-and-so bridge for the first or the second time. I ended up doing one loop twice, but it was OK because the second time around the pack was better looking.

    I agree with the comments that some participants might have been a bit inexperienced for a 40 mile ride, or with riding in general. I was in a recumbent trike and I spent a lot of time trying to avoid others who weren’t really very aware of their surroundings and didn’t have any idea what the term “hold their lines” means. Other riders had problems merging with the flow after pulling off to the side for a rest or pictures. I tried to whistle, sing, talk, or ring my bell, but didn’t seem to make an impression on some people. Groups riding slowly, several abreast, and very slow riders on the far left made it difficult for more experienced riders to follow the course at a pace that was enjoyable to them. I have to admit that I lost patience towards the end of the course, and started passing these slower groups on whatever side they seemed to leave. I apologize if I cut anyone off.

    The tumbles that I saw were mostly because of rider inexperience or operator error: forgetting to unclip pedals when slowing down, slipping on railroad tracks, or getting a very thin tire caught between boards on a grated bridge. I don’t think I saw any real collisions.

    I was overwhelmed by the friendly ride staff and volunteers, who really did try to encourage and direct.

    I think more signs might be helpful. It wasn’t very useful to me or other riders to know that the rest area was coming up in 10 feet, or that a major route decision was needed in 10 yards.

    I am sure that I am in a very small minority of riders when I say this, but it would have also been nice to see a sign telling me which bridge I was on.

    The bananas were also really good.

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  • Elly Blue (Columnist) August 8, 2010 at 9:01 pm

    We meandered up to the top of the Fremont shortly before it closed (or “opened,” as the volunteers put it). With the overcast skies, and huge grey vistas, and without the dense crowds of smiling, brightly-dressed people on bikes you can see in JM’s photos, it made for a bleak vision on a grand scale. Which I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to see. Photos here:


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  • Chris Shaffer August 8, 2010 at 9:44 pm

    This is one of the few times I can ride side-by-side with my daughter, instead of single file. I certainly hope they don’t try to ban riding two abreast as Lady Jane suggests. Though I seriously doubt if they could practically ban it, given the crowds, routes, etc.

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  • Red Five August 8, 2010 at 10:10 pm

    I felt bad for the old woman who did a face plant into the barrier as the “Lances” sped by. Did any of them stop to see if she was all right? No. Not one. Next time, SLOW DOWN a-holes.

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  • determinedpeace August 8, 2010 at 10:11 pm

    My son and I did the kids Pedal today. It was great! we loved it. He came home glowing and told his mom all about it.

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  • Aaron August 8, 2010 at 10:23 pm

    I also was having trouble with slower riders, especially going uphill (different abilities) and downhill (different bikes). I noticed that there were three speeds: fast, medium, and slow. Perhaps simple signs along the way indicating three different general sections would be useful? I have an idea below, but I’m not sure if it will render correctly.

    Fast Medium Slow
    | | |
    V V V

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  • Paul Tay August 8, 2010 at 10:47 pm

    One mo’ quibble: Where da Santa at?

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  • Steve B. August 9, 2010 at 12:29 am

    Has there been a serious conversation about opening up the Fremont to walk and bike traffic year round? If not, let’s start one! With all the Broadway/Steel tie-ups lately, I think we should be talking about opening this bridge up. No bridge should be off-limits in bike city. No bridge!!

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  • CaptainKarma August 9, 2010 at 12:48 am

    you kin make yer rules ’bout riding abreast 😉 ‘n speed limits, or skill levels, but we hain’t ’bout to follow ’em anywhoo. This is ‘Merica! Sorry to disappoint Lancers and such, but folks enjoy cruising if’n you kin remember whut ridin’ is all ’bout; it’s ’bout fun, not allwayz racin’ or pacelines. This was ’bout gettin all kinda folk out there. You ought ta ride RAGBRAI, cuz then ya got ta add the mega beer effect, too. Heheee heehhee, ridin abreast— was Janet Jackson there?

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  • K'Tesh August 9, 2010 at 4:37 am

    I have finished the upload of the images…


    I only got rid of 80 or so images (leaving 422).

    As I said, I had a LOT of Fun! I did the 10 bridge ride. Saw a lot of really Happy faces out there. I wish that we could have a Bridge Pedal every day!

    Then rode home over the West Hills, so my day ended with 50.1 miles total.

    I didn’t witness any crashes, but did come across a couple of people being treated for injuries. I hope everyone will be OK. I do have a couple of complaints though. I found several spots where there were wheelsucking storm drain grates that could have easily been the cause of a crash.



    I did call these in. I’d like to see the organizers spend a little more time in identifying the hazards long before we get on our bikes, and work with the city to get as many of them fixed as possible, or marked for riders to be made aware of them. A couple of years ago, I was just behind a little girl who wiped out on some bad pavement, and seeing a little kid with a sprained/broken wrist is not something I want to repeat.

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  • Vicente Harrison August 9, 2010 at 5:26 am


    1)This ride is for ALL BIKE RIDER / ALL SKILL LEVELS! Weather you ride fast, tandem, what ever, RESPECT ALL RIDERS! This is not just a ride for people who want to gaze at the Williamette River we see everyday! Some People actually cycle for a workout, go figure, No one is trying to be Lance or anyone else so please stop with all that noise.
    2)This was my first bridge pedal, GREAT EXPERIENCE! Advice… get up, get there early, ride at consistant pace and you will have no congestion, confusion,and less chance of crash.
    3)If you ride a Moutain Bike and your ride 10/11 bridges, you are a glutton for punishment.
    4)Thanks to all the Riders who worked together in the Breakaway Group of the 10 bridge ride, It was really fun in the front, too bad there is no pictures of the riders who finish in the beginning.
    Thanks Providence, BTA, Bike PDX, Volunteers, and ALL RIDERS!

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  • Vicente Harrison August 9, 2010 at 6:15 am


    1st Time rider!!!!

    1) No one is trying to be Lance! Bridge Pedal is for ALL Riders, not just for those who want to gaze at the dirty Williamette River we see everyday. Some people actually cycle for exercise so if your fast slow or in between this event is for everyone.
    2)Get up early, get there early, ride at consistant pace and no worries for congestion, confusion, and less likely to crash in pack.
    3)If you ride a Moutain Bike more the 5 Bridges you are a glutton for punishment.

    Thanks to all the Riders who worked together in the breakaway group! It was really fun to ride fast safely together, too bad there is no photo’s of the rider who finish early.

    Shout Out to all the African American Riders who supported this event, we need more. Shout Out to MAJOR TAYLOR!

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  • kerry August 9, 2010 at 7:09 am

    The 10 bridge was my first time doing the Pedal and I had a blast. I went with my brother who said previous years was much more crowded because this year was better organized. He did a lot of walking up to and over some bridges in past years, but not yesterday. We rode them all, some at a good clip. Thanks to the organizers and the selfless volunteers. I hate it when people diss volunteers.

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  • Craig B August 9, 2010 at 7:53 am

    This was our first Bridge Pedal in four years, since moving away from Portland…we had this on our calendar months in advance and refused to let the pretty harsh cold I caught get in the way of our participating.

    We did the 10-bridge ride and overall Bridge Pedal lived up to our memories and our hopes. The weather was surprisingly pleasant, despite the drizzle. Riders were for the most part polite. The route, to me, made sense (my apologies to those who started late, but they had to reverse the flow on I-405, so there was no choice). And the rest stops, entertainment, and conviviality were fabulous.

    My main suggestions for improvements would be to make sure that all parked cars are removed from the course, that the old streetcar tracks on SE Water are somehow covered (we saw a pretty serious spill there), that volunteers shouting important directions are given some sort of amplification device, and that bikes be given an additional lane on the St Johns, Morrison, and Hawthorne bridges and on the MLK Viaduct southbound. I also like the idea of staggered start times; I know that the Bloomsday run in Spokane (which is the largest race in the country, I believe) uses this strategy to separate runners by skill and by purpose (to race or ride).

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  • Craig B August 9, 2010 at 8:13 am

    One more thing: Bridge Pedal can’t (and shouldn’t try to) prohibit people from riding fast or abreast or any of those specific rider behaviors that bother some people. What it should to is try to educate riders in some basic etiquette (“Passing on your left/right…thank you” would be a major improvement in itself). And remember that Bridge Pedal is as much a celebration of sharing cycling culture with a diverse set of people, from the Spandex crowd to the old ladies in dresses, from the hipsters on fixies to the little kids being towed by their parents. That ought to be emphasized as much as possible.

    Oh, and I forgot to mention how grateful we were to have so many smiling, cheering volunteers, throughout the course. Especially at 6:30am, especially in the cold drizzle, I never saw a frown on anyone’s face. Thank you so much to every volunteer, no matter the task!

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  • david....no! the other one August 9, 2010 at 8:18 am

    First, and foremost, THANK YOU! all volenteers. We did the KID RIDE, two three year olds in a trailer, a seven and ten year old on a unicycle, first time. Got there late due to kid issues, ‘dult issues and parking. Joined in the fun at about OMSI, whee.
    Yes, the ride had issues, always will when you mix that many different people. So, be weird, AND adjust.
    The kids ran through the fountain by the finish line to cool off and then because we did the route in route, we did it backwards again, after the crowds had finished.
    Lovely!, Sorry some were disappointed it was a great event!!!!

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  • Anonymous August 9, 2010 at 8:29 am

    Paul (#36) – Whoops…I thought you had written “Bring a bear”, and meaning “Bring a beer”. Then, it all fell apart in my head and at the keyboard.

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  • beth h August 9, 2010 at 8:42 am

    Jonathan wrote:

    “Why is it that we can’t just fully close a road for half-a-day? Just one narrow lane south on McLoughlin to Sellwood, a narrow lane on the St. Johns Bridge. I would think that a ride that’s been going on 15 years, that people pay $35 a piece for, and that draws 20,000 people would be a big enough deal to warrant a full closure. It sort of puts in perspective how difficult it will be for us to ever get a real, Bogota-like ciclovia event in this city. If we can’t have non-motorized access to our major highways on Bridge Pedal Sunday, then when will it ever happen?”


    I’ll take these points one at a time:

    a. We can’t close these roads fully for even a measly half a day because motorists won’t have it; because so many of these surface roads connect with freeways; because McLoughlin has been under some kind of construction since the earth cooled; and because the various agencies (PBOT, ODOT et al) are not willing to accept that level of hassle.

    b. Anyone who wants a smooth, hassle-free event for $35 would do better to instead participate in something like the Monster Cookie ride down in Salem, which had fewer riders, was spread out over a larger area, and ran almost like a well-oiled machine. (The downside is that its route and distance discouraged less-experienced riders; a single ride event cannot be all things to all people.)

    c. 20,000 bicyclists cannot counter the demands of 1 MILLION drivers, which is my guess for how many the Portland metro area is home to. Sheer numbers — of drivers, of taxpayers, of voters — have at least SOME effect on the decision-making processes of government. As wonderful as bicycle transportation is and as great as it is that I and others choose the bicycle as our primary mode of transportation, we will NEVER come close to matching (much less exceeding) the number of people who drive cars in this country — as long as it remains cheap to own and drive a car. Sadly, the non-motorized access that you and so many dream of will not become a reality in our time and place. maybe someday, but not anytime soon.

    I rode the Bridge Pedal when it was young and fresh, and smaller. When it got bigger and harder to manage and there were more bottlenecks and crashes, I stopped going.

    The Bridge Pedal will never be an effective political or economic statement to the powers that be. Asking this event to be anything other than what it is — a fun day on bicycles for 20,000 people — is probably asking too much.

    As Portland’s population grows — and the demands made on its infrastructure increase exponentially — I predict that the producers of this event will ultimately have to re-group and perhaps redesign the event to recognize that reality, perhaps with shorter routes, a de-emphasis on the distances ridden and a greater focus on community-building and perhaps a bigger festival. (Anyone remember NeighborFair?)

    Or perhaps the best parts of Bridge Pedal could be combined with the best parts of Sunday Parkways to make a new event. But the Bridge Pedal that folks remember from 12-15 years ago is long gone, and won’t be coming back. Portland has simply grown too large for that, and perhaps the time has come to adapt and grow a new event.

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  • Bry August 9, 2010 at 8:47 am

    This was my first bridge pedal in six years, and it was by far the best one I’ve ever ridden. I think the organizers did a great job of accommodating different skill levels by including the Kids ride (to make things safer for them, their parents and everyone else). Excellent work, Bridge Pedal People!

    As far as for people who like to ride fast as opposed to slow, I’ll just say that riding faster is how some of us have fun on a bike – doesn’t make it a race, just a good time. For those who like to ride slow and take in the scenery, enjoy your ride. Let’s just work to keep the flow going by letting faster people ride by on the left, and letting slower riders enjoy the right.

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  • Noah Genda August 9, 2010 at 8:52 am

    Yeah, showing up at 7:05 and they wouldnt let us do the 10 bridger which was a bummer. But in all honesty, enough with the complaining and criticism. “Dont ride two abreast” – are you kidding me? Its a ride of 10’s of thousands of friends noodling around, ride however wide you want but be courteous. “Dont ride so fast” – granted it can be dangerous but there are time constraints at times and I want to get up ramps at MY speed. I cant stand people doing 4 mph uphill and then complaining about me going too fast.

    Thanks thanks thanks to all the volunteers and everyone that put it together. I had a great time and enjoyed every minute of it.

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  • Bry August 9, 2010 at 8:57 am

    But when it comes to truly being dangerous, I give the trophy to people riding in downtown after the ride who obviously don’t know the rules of the road. I stood on SW 5th and Oak for about 30 minutes talking with friends, and was dumbfounded by the number of people – of ALL skillsets – who road against traffic; who rode through lights; who did illegal turns over the MAX tracks; who rode in front of buses; who let their KIDS ride in the bus lane; who rode with their KIDS in trailers in the bus lane…. Once the ride is over and you’re on city streets with cars, obey the rules. This is important, because I saw a girl who got her front tire caught in the MAX tracks and nearly hit her face on the curb.

    This irritated me because it makes the situation dangerous for everyone, especially those of us who ride the streets daily and not once a year. And it gives ample fodder to those drivers who see us not as co-equals on the road, but as rather a nuisance.

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  • Brian Tang August 9, 2010 at 9:27 am

    I just remembered that there WERE two lanes on the Morrison Bridge; it’s just that they put an extra row of cones along the lane striping (i.e. in the center of ride route). With all the people, it was darned near impossible to see them coming and many were knocked over. I came within millimeters of running over the lip of one of the cones. Since I was instinctively swerving at the time to avoid going head-on into the center of the cone I probably would have gone down and taken out anyone to the left/behind me. Organizers should make sure to remove that extra row of cones next year.

    I also had issues with lanes unexpectedly narrowing and putting me on a collision course with cones, sawhorses, or (as I mentioned before) the cop car on Naito or the PBOT truck on Greeley. It would be nice if the width of the course could be kept as consistent as possible and never less than 14 feet.

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  • Gary August 9, 2010 at 10:40 am

    Did the 10-bridge ride and actually had zero issues. The ride went great. Speed wise I fall right behind the hard-core cyclists but faster than the casual cyclists so that most likely helped. Only real congestion I experienced was on Naito. The real key from what I saw was get to the start early, be patient and pay attention to the signs saying whether you were supposed to go to the Morrison or Harrison next. The 10-bridge ride had one stop before heading back up the Marquam to allow the 7-bridge folks off the Morrison but that was fine. No troubles at St. John or at the finish for myself.
    Overall the volunteers were great, the ride went well. Will definately be back next year.

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  • Kt August 9, 2010 at 10:52 am

    Saw this on the older BP article, thought I’d send it over here:

    Bob B
    August 9th, 2010 10:22

    To the rider who go to the 10 bridge start line at 7 AM, the start was at 6:30 AM. You were turned away for safety reasons. Coming off the Marquam Bridge (first pass) you could have collided with the 7 Bridge riders coming at you head on.
    As the guy running the volunteer team on the Marquam I had to stop about 12 people from going onto Water as they were too slow or too late.
    Next time please be on time for the start and you will get what you paid for.”

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  • troutdale bicyclist August 9, 2010 at 11:26 am

    i thought putting a break area on a DOWNHILL part of the ride, (on 405 north to Fremont Bridge) was a bad isea. It shoud have been at the crest of the hill, (where 26 onramps to 405 south).

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  • dennis August 9, 2010 at 11:55 am

    I skipped it this year. I did ride on 8 different Bridge pedal events, and found the lack of 360 degree awareness of many riders disturbing. Last year, Four different tandems, pulling trailers were swerving back and fourth, captains completely unaware of the havoc they were causing behind them. One of them had a tandem, trail-a-bike, and a burley trailer. The kid in the trailer was swinging back and fourth like a wrecking ball. He had a terrified, out of control look on his face, as I had to dive off toward the guard rail.

    If you are pulling a trailer, pick your line carefully, and BE AWARE, of what is happening on all sides. I don’t believe that I’ll be riding this event in the future. It’s easy for a few people to cause a lot of mayhem, and be completely oblivious about it.

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  • CC August 9, 2010 at 12:11 pm

    Agree. His literature didn’t mention 7:00, but mine did. It said “starts 6:30-7:00”. That’s why I set my alarm for 4:30, left home at 5:00, arrived at the Red Cross at 5:45, found my riding partner at 6:00, and started my ride precisely at 6:30. Easy. 10 bridge route was great. I consider my self to be somewhere between the color coordinated fashion-Lance’s and the Mt. bike crowd. Averaged about 13 Mph, figuring in a stop or two. Had no trouble following directions. The “2 times up Naito” thing was carefully explained while we were waiting to start. Take the Morrison one time, the Hawthorne the other. Signs and volunteers directed us. Easy. The second time up Naito we merged with the 7 bridgers, but that little slow down didn’t last long. I treated it like a short break and grabbed some water. Doing the 2 freeway bridges backwards this year added 2 fairly steep short climbs, but it felt good in the cool drizzle. Made the climb up to St. John’s feel less this year. All in all, an awesome time. A few minutes past 9:00, I was having a chocolate milk and wishing I could do it again every Sunday! Anyone who complains about us slow guys getting in the way, start at the front and be on time. Be early even. Or, go race somewhere. This isn’t a race, it’s an event. Looking forward to next year. Thanks to all, but those volunteers make it all possible. I made it a point to thank many of them as I rode by.

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  • Paul Johnson August 9, 2010 at 12:31 pm

    @dennis: Yeah, seems like every year that I do ride the Bridge Pedal, I usually regret it. It’s a great annual demonstration on why cyclists should be required to have a bicycle endorsement similar to what motorcyclists go through.

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  • Jupiter Lily August 9, 2010 at 12:35 pm

    We had so much fun manning the Jupiter booth this year! Thanks to all who stopped by.

    Keep PDX rolling!

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  • actual racer August 9, 2010 at 12:45 pm

    “Thanks to all the Riders who worked together in the Breakaway Group of the 10 bridge ride, It was really fun in the front, too bad there is no pictures of the riders who finish in the beginning.”

    Breakaway from what…the indomitable charity ride peloton? The only races happening this weekend were OBRA-sactioned and the only prize you get for coming in first at Bride Pedal is “World’s Biggest Fred.”

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  • Paul Johnson August 9, 2010 at 1:00 pm

    Call me Fred; I’d rather be out front than stuck in a sea of people, especially if they don’t know how to drive a bicycle safely.

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  • Anonymous August 9, 2010 at 1:35 pm

    Bry #57 is right on, and the problem extended into the neighborhoods.

    We were walking from Division to Stark in the 30’s and heard Bridge Pedal-bound parents telling their kids things like “you’re on a bike, you don’t have to stop” at a stop sign (with cars coming both directions on the thru street), that they didn’t have to stop for people crossing a street at a corner “because you have right of way.” (What? Because he’s on a bike? he’s a kid? no…because Mom says that if there are no painted stripes, it’s not a crosswalk!)

    We watched a family on bikes thread their way through a group of families with toddlers walking across one intersection. It spooked one of the kids and their dog pretty badly.

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  • Vicente Harrison August 9, 2010 at 2:08 pm

    “Breakaway from what…the indomitable charity ride peloton? The only races happening this weekend were OBRA-sactioned and the only prize you get for coming in first at Bride Pedal is “World’s Biggest Fred.”

    Call me Freddy Kruger alleged, “Actual Racer”. You must did not win anything if you are checking the bridge pedal bike portland post, and like Paul said in the front was the best ride from my view. I guess we can call you Fred too and next year you can ride in front with us. Yabba Dabba Doo!

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  • Laura August 9, 2010 at 2:12 pm

    Bry #57 is right on, and the problem extended out into the neighborhoods, too.

    We were walking from Division to Stark in the 30’s. Overheard several parents tell their kids that “you’re on a bike, you don’t need to stop at stop signs,” even though cars were approaching from both directions on the through-street.

    Heard parents tell kids on bikes that they had right-of-way over people crossing streets at intersections because the crosswalk wasn’t painted.

    Saw a parent with two kids thread their way through one group of adults with toddlers (3 or 4 families) who were crossing a neighborhood street at an intersection. One kid and a dog got pretty spooked.

    Forget cyclists getting accepted as equals by motorists; behavior like this can make pedestrians “haters” too.

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  • fredlf August 9, 2010 at 5:10 pm

    Why not combine the BP with an actual race? Separate events might help reduce the skills mis-matches, and it would just plain awesome to watch a full-size peloton race down 405 and across the Fremont!

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  • Andrew August 9, 2010 at 5:49 pm

    Did the 10 Bridge. I thought this year had fewer bottlenecks or issues than ever and was very well planned! Congratulations to the organizers for a fantastic event! And bully for the chocolate milk at the end. Woo!

    Thank you Portland, and thank you volunteers and organizers. This really is a highlight of the year.

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  • Tankagnolo Bob August 9, 2010 at 9:12 pm

    Jonathan – You are a master photographer. You have mastered the use of lenses to stretch or compress perspective, especially great use of the wide angle. Your photos are artistry and technically, and you can create them at such a great rate while keeping up with the events. 4.0 !!! – Mr Bob

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  • Jack August 9, 2010 at 9:32 pm

    I did the seven-bridge ride and enjoyed it all the way. I second the positive comments about the green-shirted support folks. I agree it would be helpful at some points to have “7” vs “10”, but I just made sure there were several yellow ‘7s’ around me. There was always someone nearby I could have asked if I missed a turn; as they say, it’s a ride, not a race. Really fun and well-organized – thank you to everyone involved; looking forward to next year.

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  • John August 10, 2010 at 1:16 pm

    I didn’t ride this year, as I’ve ridden it enough to only want to ride it every few years.
    So when I don’t ride I volunteer. I was one of the ham radio operators helping communicate issues as they occurred, and helping direct help where it was needed. Only 2 of the crashed required transport to a hospital. That’s not bad for an event with 18,500 riders.

    Like others have stated, better signage would be helpful at some locations. And I agree that the 10 bridge cutoff is a little too early.

    It was fun helping and fun watching everyone ride by.

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  • jram August 10, 2010 at 3:33 pm


    The website says in black & white that the ten bridge start closes at 7:00am. Maybe you should read a bit before you use your soap box to complain on your friend’s behalf.

    It is sad that you chose to use your position in the cycling community to whine about the small issues with the event. This was a great event and the volunteers and organizers deserve better publicity than what you have shown here.

    I had a blast. Even though there is room for improvement, if you took your time and rode it like a sane person it was beautiful.

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