Kickoff parade riders share hidden gems of Pedalpalooza

From left: Hillary Jenkins, Acorn, Amanda Hugnkiss and The Red Wizard prepare for Thursday’s
Pedalpalooza kickoff ride and discuss the best rides of the month to come.

Once a year in a city park, Dropouts meet mountain climbers and cargo haulers meet tall bikers. For Portland bike lovers, the Pedalpalooza Kickoff Parade is the gathering of the tribes.

It’s also the first time most people start thinking about which rides they’re going to check out over the next three weeks. As the energy built in Holladay Park before Thursday’s kickoff ride, I asked some of the throng of riders present to share a secret: which Pedalpalooza ride were they looking forward to that not enough other people know about yet?

Here’s what I heard.

James Fischer (right): the Power-Pop Ride. “It’s not Top 40 music — it’s like 60s garage, shoegaze, Belle and Sebastian-y stuff.”

Luna and Ashley: The Dropout Prom, featuring fancy clothes and a late-night riverside party with photographers and music.

T.J. Tryke: the Heavy Hill Climb. “It’s the only ride that’s a challenge.”

Esther Harlow: Puppypalooza. “The dog’s name is Norm, who’s leading the ride.” Aaron Kaffen: The TMBG Ride.

Greg O’Hearne: The Columbia Gorge Ride.

Andy Schmidt: The Teddy Bear Tag-Along 4 Toddlers on Tabor, featuring clowns on tallbikes and balloons. “I have kids.”

Diego Huber: “The Best Summer ride [from 2012] is pretty good. Last year I woke up under a tree with a smile still on my face. I imagine it must have been a good time.”

Allison Quick and Justin Brauner: The Knott Street Sprints.

Andrew Haddock: The Hott Socks Ride. “Last year it went to a sock store, and there were two different sock manufacturers and sock games and prizes. It was amazing.”

Shawna Cunningham: Cunningham said she’d been permanently sold on Pedalpalooza after seeing The Ginger Ride in action, including the creative ways people attempt to go redhead for a day. “Last year there was somebody with a big crown of orange balloons.”

Alex Kunz: The Portlandia Ride. “Mocking them mocking us — it’ll be interesting.”

Alex Agnes: The World Naked Bike Ride. “People who are from Portland know about it, but people who are from the suburbs don’t,” Agnes said, even committed bicyclists. “I’m like, what? How do you not know about that?”

Brian Scrivner: the Urban Farm Tour. “I had the most fun at the farm- and animal-related rides last year.”

Dingo: Twitch’s Birthday, which starts in the Smith and Bybee Lakes restroom. “Twitch put his birthday on the calendar and he said, ‘What’s the most remote ridiculous place it can start? How about a bathroom?’ Not only was he having a conversation with himself but he was agreeing with himself.”

Josh Force, kneeling: The Morrissey vs. Bowie vs. Prince Ride. “Everybody in the city should be on that one.” Robert Getch, in sunglasses: the Never Nude Ride. Becca Priddy, right: the Sexy Hippie Zombie Nightlight Ride.

Viola, right: Run-D.M.C. vs. The Beastie Boys. “I’m all about the old-school funk. I’m teaching all day tomorrow, but how can I not?”

Daniel Ronan: The UGB Ride. “I went on it last year and it was quite the urban planning hoot.”

Max Hinz: “I’m not interested in much beyond Zoobomb.”

Patrick McNearney and Grant Breitmeier: Darcelle’s Parade (from 2012). “I hope she does it this year,” said McNearney, left. “It’s worth its weight in gay gold.”

Lane Jensen: the kickoff ride itself. “This is my first one ever. I just got the bike last night.” Jensen, who blogs about TriMet at, said he’d already biked about seven miles Thursday and discovered that bike-friendly parts of Portland are in fact a joy to ride through.

Meghan Sinnott: “Whatever Alleycat the new girl, Laura, is leading. The first month in town or something, she already had an Alleycat ride and it was killer.”

Jon Takao, left: The Dead Baby Bikes Swinger Ride. “I’ve ridden Dead Baby in Seattle. One [custom bike] I remember is raked out four-foot forks with a chain, and whenever the chain went over any sort of bump it would slack and then it would tension back again.”

Will Vanlue: “The custom cargo bike ride, “Lab to Lab,” in honor of Tom LaBonty. And it’s led by, like, a 13-year-old.” Leah Vanlue: the Hott Socks Ride.

Daniel Silverman: the Deutsche Radfahrt. “One of my friends is doing a tour of Portland, in German, on Saturday morning. Last year it ended with fresh pretzels and beer. And there’s lots of history of Germans in Portland.”

Michael Andersen (Contributor)

Michael Andersen (Contributor)

Michael Andersen was news editor of from 2013 to 2016 and still pops up occasionally.

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Lance P
Lance P
11 years ago

I love seeing people and their expressions when going on their first ever pedalpalooza ride. Lane Jensen is a great example of why Pedalpalooza is so amazing! Welcome to Portland!

11 years ago

Run DMC vs Beastie Boys tomorrow (today). Hot sock ride after that. The rest playing by ear. Kickoff ride and party was awesome. Look forward to the rest of the rides and seeing everyone else out having fun.

Tall Bike Jesus
11 years ago

Thanks for inspiring the passion of Pedalpalooza. I would encourage you all to check out for updates on all bikey fun.

Gasper Johnson
11 years ago


Very Upset
Very Upset
11 years ago

I love my bike and ride as much as I can. But the people participating in these events really need to follow the law. It’s illegal to block traffic, make unauthorized crossings and run red lights. Children were also put in danger doing this. It is not the way to get more people to bike either. It just makes motorists dislike bikers more. My husband and I were at the Lloyd Center mall and had no idea this mob was going to make an illegal rampage through town. I was 4 months pregnant and went into a freak early labor at the mall. We tried to get to the hospital but were blocked by the horde unlawfully stopping traffic. We turned around only to be met by the rest, still blocking traffic. When we tried to go on a green light, we were blocked by 2 men on bikes who started yelling at us. My husband called 911 but they didn’t respond because it was “only” a bike disturbance. So instead of getting a single shot to stop my labor, I bled out and lost my baby. Portland couldn’t possibly tarnish their reputation by making bikers follow the laws like everyone else. I hope all the “better, safer planet” hippies in that ride feel better about killing my baby.

Like I said, I love my bike. But I don’t EVER want to be associated with the assholes who do these rides.