Bridge Pedal organizer offers refund after routing mishap

Bridge Pedal 2009 -5

Bridge Pedal creator Rick Bauman.
(Photo © J. Maus)

Over 19,000 people took part in Sunday’s Bridge Pedal ride. Unfortunately for some of them a routing mishap put a damper on an otherwise fun day.

Almost immediately following my call for input about the ride, people chimed in with tales of disappointment. It turns out many people were told they had missed a time cut-off at the Steel Bridge which meant they couldn’t complete the full 10-bridge ride.

“Hundreds of us 10 bridge riders were disappointed we got directed the wrong way,” read one comment. “We met two sets of friends who missed the St. Johns turn and felt cheated. I suspect that they were too late to make the time cutoff, but didn’t know it, so thought they’d simply missed a turn,” read another.

Ride creator Rick Bauman says he has now learned that many riders were incorrectly told that they could not proceed across the Steel Bridge after 9:30 am. He reviewed the situation and figured out that a 9:30 cut-off was enforced by a course official as a hard cut-off, when Bauman intended it to be just an estimated time.

Here’s more of an explanation from Bauman:

“There are a number of time certain events, e.g. the start times, closure of access to the Fremont Bridge, etc… The estimated time for the last 8/10 bridge riders reaching the 8/10 and 6 bridge ride splits is one such estimate. Particularly in years when we have a routing changes, as we did this year, these timelines are very much estimates since we cannot predict with any specificity how long it will take to get people started or for them to bike certain sections of the course.”

Unfortunately a course marshal at the MAX Crossing near the Rose Quarter enforced the 9:30 am estimate as a hard time limit, “Thereby turning back hundreds of riders,” says Bauman.

The only “hard and fast timeline” Bauman says riders should have faced was reaching the Fremont Bridge by 11:30 am, which, “Except for some stragglers coming back from the St. Johns Bridge,” everybody made. “The riders should not have be re-directed at 9:30 am.”

Bauman says that people turned away at the Steel Bridge will be eligible for a refund offer and can contact the event to via email at info[at]bridgepedal[dot]com.

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)

Founder of BikePortland (in 2005). Father of three. North Portlander. Basketball lover. Car owner and driver. If you have questions or feedback about this site or my work, feel free to contact me at @jonathan_maus on Twitter, via email at maus.jonathan@gmail.com, or phone/text at 503-706-8804. Also, if you read and appreciate this site, please become a supporter.

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Doug S.
Doug S.
12 years ago

As one of those that was affected by this, it was definitely unfortunate to have missed such a large chunk of the ride. But I commend Mr. Bauman, who has done such a great job organizing this ride for so many years, for being such a stand up person and compensating us! I can only imagine the nightmare it must be to work out all the little details of this massive ride, and it’s no surprise that occasionally, something is going to go awry. I’ve been doing the ride for 10 years, and I’ll definitely be back next year!

Spiffy
Spiffy
12 years ago

interesting… a single person telling me I couldn’t cross the bridge would not have stopped me… it’s a public thoroughfare and anybody can cross the bridge at any time they like…

but maybe they have special event permission from the city to restrict access to whoever they want… but there’s always the other deck…

LoneHeckler
LoneHeckler
12 years ago
Reply to  Spiffy

“it’s a public thoroughfare and anybody can cross the bridge at any time they like…”

Or can they? By this logic, cars would be allowed on the Bridge Pedal course, but obviously that doesn’t happen. Seems to me that the course marshal *was* in charge of enforcing traffic flow across the bridge, albeit incorrectly.

I agree, though, that on the Steel, it would have been simple to switch decks and work one’s way back into the course.

Red
Red
12 years ago

I can understand being disappointed. The ride is fun. But it’s a fundraiser for charity, people. Perhaps you could consider your disappointment to be part of your donation.

Martian
Martian
12 years ago

Sorry to chime in as a “me too” post, but I agree. Isn’t this a charitable ride? And was it *that* awful to miss a bridge. It was a small mistake that did no injury in an otherwise massive event. Taking a refund is kind of.. dunno how to put it. Anyway, I commend the organizer anyway for offering refunds.

Champs
Champs
12 years ago

As a newish arrival, doing the Bridge Pedal was tempting, but for the early morning start time. FWIW, I was able to pick up some lost souls and guide them over the Steel Bridge a bit later in the day.

Deeeebo
Deeeebo
12 years ago

It would be cool to get some clarification on the right of way “closure” question (eg Spiffy and LoneHeckler above) since I’ve often wondered this. I had a friend who ran the PDX marathon a few years back and was stopped by some event staff at the St Johns bridge because his number had fallen off of his shirt (which signified that he had paid). My thought was the same as Spiffy’s that the bridge is public ROW and that these staff had no legal authority but I could be wrong.

Jeff P
Jeff P
12 years ago

Charity.

Ethan
Ethan
12 years ago

Agro volunteers yelling at bridge approaches is nothing new. This event needs to be re-tooled with local leadership.

bArbaroo
bArbaroo
12 years ago
Reply to  Ethan

I agree.

Tankagnolo Bob
Tankagnolo Bob
12 years ago

Charity, as said earlier. I missed the turn twice, so got to do the FREMONT TWICE. That I consider a WIN. I can do St J anytime, I live a mile from it.

Emily
Emily
12 years ago

I just got an email from Rick blaming the Portland Police for closing the bridges.

“Portland Police–unbeknownst to event officials at the time–chose to enforce a 9:30 a.m. time lime on access to the north section of the course, limiting access to the Steel and St. Johns bridges.”