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Bridge Pedal registration opens: Organizers set caps to limit crowds

Posted by on May 15th, 2013 at 2:01 pm

Bridge Pedal 2007-39

The epic 2007 Bridge Pedal bottleneck at the Ross Island Bridge.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

Registration opened yesterday for the 18th annual Bridge Pedal ride. Organizers have unveiled a few new features to the ride this year, including — for the first time ever — registration caps to keep the size of the rides to manageable levels.

As far back as 2005 (which is as far as my archives go), Bridge Pedal has been plagued by massive crowds and bottlenecks. Before the 2006 event, a special meeting of stakeholders was called to help solve issues related to the crowds. In 2007, the ride turned into more of a walk as thousands of people were stalled and forced to walk due to a bottleneck at the Ross Island Bridge. That debacle garnered a front page headline in The Oregonian.

This year, Bridge Pedal owner and chief organizer Rick Bauman has placed registration caps for each of the five rides (and the “Stride”). The 10, eight, and six-bridge rides will be limited to 5,000 people each. The “Kids Pedal”, a three-mile ride only for little ones, is limited to 1,000 participants and the “Fremont Express”, a 6:00 am ride for faster riders is capped at 1,500. Bauman says he doesn’t expect to turn many people away since these caps are set close to the number of registrants they’ve had in the past several years.

Here’s more from Bridge Pedal:

To help ensure all Providence Bridge Pedal bicyclists have a safe, enjoyable ride, there will be limits this year on the number of participants in each event. This will help minimize congestion on the ride, allowing everybody to complete the ride within the event’s time limits.

Crowding always has been a problem at Providence Bridge Pedal. We are experimenting this year with generous limits on the number of participants in each event to help ensure that everybody has a fun, safe ride. In addition, all rides need to be complete by certain times before our permits expire.

The ride is set for Sunday, August 11th. Learn more and register at BridgePedal.com.

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

  • Spiffy May 15, 2013 at 2:06 pm

    I’d like to see some stats from previous years on the number of registrants vs the number of participants…

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    • Sunny May 15, 2013 at 2:13 pm

      You mean like unused gym memberships for the lazy or people riding without paying?

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      • Spiffy May 16, 2013 at 1:06 pm

        exactly… I’ve paid for events and then not been able to participate…

        I’m sure they’re taking that into account… they probably have those numbers somewhere…

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  • Todd Boulanger May 15, 2013 at 2:12 pm

    …you know the one solution to grid lock is to make it a weekly event!

    Instead of Aloha Friday it would be Bicycle Friday in Portland!! (Bike Friday was already taken.)

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  • Paul Hanrahan May 15, 2013 at 2:21 pm

    2007 was a mess but since then the organizers have steadily made the event flow smoother. Last year, for me at least, it appeared very well organized with no delays or gridlock.

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    • Austin May 18, 2013 at 10:34 pm

      Well, I guess it depended on when you started, because hot dang last year I think we had to walk across almost every bridge.

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  • Blake May 15, 2013 at 2:50 pm

    2007 was the last time I did it. Not just coincidence either, they had all the rides mashing together right at the same place. No thank you.

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  • longgone May 15, 2013 at 4:23 pm

    A good day to take advantage of a quiet ride out past Estacada.

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  • dwainedibbly May 15, 2013 at 5:58 pm

    Limit registrations? Won’t that just encourage unregistered people to save their $30 and crash the party?

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    • dan May 15, 2013 at 6:38 pm

      I wish – the registration is $60 this year…given that you don’t need that much food / water for a 33 mile ride, I guess you’re really paying to get all that traffic shut down / re-routed. Still feels expensive though.

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      • Kristen May 16, 2013 at 1:09 pm

        You’re also paying for your “free” entry to the Bite of Portland that day. Where you will spend a lot of money on food and adult beverages at 10:30 in the morning. 🙂

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  • jim May 15, 2013 at 8:23 pm

    It amazes me that cyclists are willing to pay $60 for a ride, but they will fight tooth and nail against any kind of bike registration fee.

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  • pdxpaul May 16, 2013 at 12:17 pm

    After being corraled in that cluster-bump (I think I can hear my then 2-year old daughter bawling in the picture up there) I have zero trust for the organizers of that ride and will not be back. We were stuck forever and my poor daughter wold not go back in the bike trailer for over a year. I get PTSD when I think about the Bridge Pedal.

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  • longgone May 16, 2013 at 3:53 pm

    What if people could purchase tickets as reservations for time slots on departure.
    The organizers would be able to stagger the flow, early birds who buy tickets first get choice of time slot.
    This seems to me to be an all day affair.Certainly not everyone wants or needs to take off at the same time.
    It could be an organized to lapse over a 2-3 hour period, and still have a large group ride feel, without bottlenecks.
    20 minute waves, after the fast group is turned loose.

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  • Johnny May 17, 2013 at 1:26 pm

    This bike ride is awful. I won’t ever do it again.

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  • Swminote May 27, 2013 at 10:34 am

    Yikes, that’s a lot of unhappy comments.

    I love Bridge Pedal! I promote Bridge Pedal frequently to new and old acquaintances. It’s unique and a fantastic way to experience Portland (physically and in spirit).

    Yes, it gets crowded at some points, but so does a Timbers game, a Black Keys concert, World Naked Bike Ride, and the Portland Marathon. The group momentum and shared energy is part of the fun.

    I think most of the unhappiness cited above could be relieved by people expecting the event to be less race track or lone country road ride and more massive, fun bicycle event.

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