The Worst Day of the Year Ride is February 11th

Airplane bike, Whymcycles, ukelele band: A perfect Parkways!

Posted by on August 27th, 2012 at 12:05 pm


It was a great day for bicycling.
Full gallery here
(Photos © J. Maus/BikePortland)

I rolled down to Sunday Parkways southeast yesterday thinking I’d just ride around, take in the sights, and chat with friends. I had my two girls and my brother-in-law with me so I didn’t think I’d work too hard. But, it was such a perfect day, and there were so many fantastic people out in the streets! I took a few photos at our first stop. And then a few more. And before I knew it I was snapping everything in sight. I could not resist!

The first big surprise of yesterday’s even was seeing the Wagner family from Davis, California. I met Peter Wagner and his amazing “Whymcycles” when I rolled through Davis on tour with the Sprockettes back in 2008. He’s one of the most interesting freak bike builders I have ever come across. He and his family travel the country competing in kinetic sculpture events and he creates some truly whimsical (hence the name) human-powered vehicles. Turns out his oldest son Colin recently moved to Portland (he works for Portland Pedal Power) so we might be seeing more of the Wagner family in the future (they fit right in). Peter showed off an interesting, amphibious trike yesterday that had a fully circular steel cage around it. When it rolls into water, he straps webbing around the large hoops, removes the wheels, tucks in the drivetrain, and lays the bike down flat. It becomes a raft! I could talk to Peter about his creations for hours…



The Wagner family tadpole trike.


Further up the road I came upon a huge Franz Bakery truck. Why is this thing parked on this narrow road?! I wondered. Turns out, the Portland Police Bureau, Franz, and the BTA, teamed up to tell folks about truck safety and blind spots. I loved how a uniformed officer was there chatting to people and passing out safety brochures. I also liked how the information was right next to the free loaves of bread and cookies…



The thing that always gets me at Sunday Parkways are the people it attracts. Children on bikes, teens, pre-teens, and lots of older ladies and gentlemen. And women. Wow. I think there might be more women on bikes at Sunday Parkways than men. What always strikes me is how rarely — if ever — I see this same mix on the roads at other times. This fact shows both the problem and the promise of Portland. These are our “interested but concerned.” These are the constituents politicians should not forget. These people are the reason we need to stop worrying about “making the case” with the small percentage of people who get angry every time bicycling comes up in the news and focus more on making the streets more like “Sunday Parkways every day” (which is one of the official slogans of the event)…


A group of young girls riding together. Wish it wasn’t a special event.















A highlight for my family was finally getting to see Honky Tonk Prison — “Portland’s third-favorite classic country ukulele coverband.” The members; Andrew Kraus, Amos Hunter, Caroline Zavitkovski, Chelsea Kline, Esther Harlow, Ken Southerland, Timo Forsberg, and Vivian Yuan, not only get to their gigs by bike, they are also active in the local bike scene. Oh, and their music is not to be missed!…



Band parking.

Speaking of music, did you catch the big jazz/swing band at the church near Mt. Tabor?


And finally, the highlight of my day was meeting six-year-old bicycle pilot Jack Lighthipe. Jack put this excellent bike together using an old, broken jogging stroller and one of his old bikes. It’s got tons of custom features and “All the equipment we need,” right on board. Highlights include: wings that can fold in when not in use; a gate that opens/closes for easy entry into the main seating area; a hand-crank on the propeller; a phone and a flashlight on board at all times; a rear stabilizer wing, and more. Jack is very proud of his creation, as he should be. It attracted lots of oohs and ahhs and served as a great advertisement for a big fundraiser for Cafe Au Play, a non-profit coffeehouse and community center of which Jack’s dad Josh is president of the Board.




Demonstrating features.


A phone, flashlight, propeller crank, ropes.

Nice work Jack! Your future in Portland is clear for takeoff.


This was the fourth of five Sunday Parkways events this summer. Mark your calendars for the next one on September 30th in east Portland. See more photos in the gallery.

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 — Jonathan

  • Matt M August 27, 2012 at 1:17 pm

    Love the airplane bike!

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  • 9watts August 27, 2012 at 1:20 pm

    I’d have to agree. Some of the best people (and bike-) watching anywhere. And you do see more when stopped. Friendly intersection vibes everywhere, and what seemed like a well-run event all around. A huge thank you to the organizers and intersection volunteers.

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  • 9watts August 27, 2012 at 1:24 pm

    Oh, and maybe next year we could have a delivery and retrieval of those thousands of lightweight wooden intersection barrricades by bike? An enormous truck just came down my street picking them up. We could surely handle that by bike if we knew who to coordinate with at PBOT. I’d love to help make that happen. If we can plant trees by bike, pick fruit by bike, show up for a musical gig by bike, ford a river by bike, how hard could it be to deliver intersection barricades by bike? Maybe we could even contract to do this? How much does PBOT spend on that task?

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    • Franklin Jones August 29, 2012 at 2:09 pm

      Sounds like a good job for B-line! We’d love to help make this event TRUCK free 🙂

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      • 9watts August 29, 2012 at 2:59 pm

        let’s stay in touch [9watts at gmail]. I sent Sunday Parkways HQ an email inquiring about this the other day but haven’t heard back. I’m sure there are enough barricades for all of us to pitch in and coordinate. We really should be able to handle this without fossil fuels given that this is ostensibly a fossil fuel free event.

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  • Ron August 27, 2012 at 1:55 pm

    Great article! Sorry I missed this Parkways. And I loved the airplane bike.

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  • peejay August 27, 2012 at 2:33 pm

    The awesomeness of the SE Sunday Parkways really shows up the Hawthorne Street Fair for the failure that it is, considering it continues to close the street down to traffic and allow people — PEOPLE! — to enjoy the space. Riding the route along 34th where it crosses Hawthorne and seeing all those cars clogging up what should have been a wonderful carnival experience made me so mad, I spontaneously organized a little protest ride with my sound bike and some tallbikers (who are always game for such hijinx), and we did a nice slow ride through traffic and looped back, to the applause and cheers of just about every street fair attendee.

    Next year, if the organizers of the Hawthorne Street Fair don’t wake up, I say we do a bigger, more organized ride. A couple hundred bikes occupying the street would make quite an impression, I think. And if it were kept festive, with silly outfits and music — and not too overtly political, it would be well received by everybody who matters: the families who live in the neighborhood and who go to street fairs.

    PS: I heard a rumor that TriMet is the one opposing the street closure because of one bus route, the #14. How is this Fair different from that of Alberta, or Mississippi? More bus lines go through — and have to be detoured around — those events.

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    • 9watts August 27, 2012 at 2:43 pm

      Belmont St. Fair manages to close Belmont and Trimet (after some negotiation) agreed to re-route the #15. Someone’s got to sit down with Trimet. Maybe the organizers have tried and struck out. I don’t know.

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    • Tony August 27, 2012 at 3:57 pm

      I agree with this 100%

      I refuse to attend the HSF until they close the street. It seems like it would be a home run.

      I know it will never happen, but I would love to see the Division, Hawthorne, and Belmont Fairs all happen on the same day and have Sunday Parkways on that day as well. Hell, make it a weekend.

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  • Jolly Dodger August 27, 2012 at 3:02 pm

    Northeast Parkways, a pedal fell (stripped?) off a youth’s bike…yesterday, a misaligned brake pad caused a crowd shocking blow-out. Glad to see the emergency repair stations…(thought i did, anyway).

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  • Spiffy August 27, 2012 at 4:01 pm

    just looking down Hawthorne at the “street fair” as I rode 34th I was disgusted at how they just threw some booths in the street and called it good… Hawthorne is already packed on weekends and there’s no extra room for “street fair” crowds unless you shut down the entire street…

    I too wanted to turn onto the street and ride down it slowly taking the lane while I tried to figure out the huge mess… but I avoided it…

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    • Spiffy August 27, 2012 at 4:02 pm

      oops, meant to reply to peejay…

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  • Sunny August 27, 2012 at 4:17 pm

    That’s a stretch to call that trike ‘amphibious.’

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  • Jesse B August 27, 2012 at 8:44 pm

    Are there any safe routes to school dunk tank pictures? The kids loved it.

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  • Linda Ginenthal August 27, 2012 at 8:56 pm

    Love the photos, Jonathan. You nail Sunday Parkways and what it means and who it is for every time. And I’m so excited about that airplane/bike kid. His dad is pretty cool too. Thanks.

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    • Josh August 27, 2012 at 10:28 pm

      Thanks Linda!

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  • Tyler August 27, 2012 at 10:23 pm

    I was rolling with PDX Bike Swarm(about 20 or so) and we did the whole loop in an hour or 2 and handed a out a bunch of flyers about the Columbia River Crossing and an alternative idea proposed that’s way more eco/bike friendly.

    The atmosphere was truly amazing, I thought i was in Cophenhagen or something for aminute there with so many bikes clogging the streets.

    My only regret is we didn’t stop much at the little booths and look around more, but I’ll be there for the one on the 30th(hopefully with new wheels too)

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