Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on July 31st, 2014 at 11:38 am
(Photos by J Maus/BikePortland)
What often gets lots in emotional planning meetings and divisive media headlines is that, in reality, many business owners in Portland not only support bicycling, they embrace and encourage it. Nowhere was that more evident than last night’s Rider Appreciation Day on N Williams Ave.
Created in 2012 by Portland Design Works, a business located at the southern end of the very popular Williams Ave bike route, the event was created to to change the biking/business narrative. It’s a simple idea really: encourage business owners to head out into the street and show their irsupport for bicycle riders.
In a parking lot adjacent to PDW’s headquarters on Williams and Hancock, the company’s co-founder Erik Olson and Jocelyn Gaudi, their marketing manager, mixed among a large crowd. Olson was BBQ’ing free hot dogs and Gaudi was busy making connections and making sure everyone was having a good time. The Bicycle Transportation Alliance had a booth set up where folks could sign up for the group’s email newsletter and become members right on the spot. Also at the PDW stop were Portland Bureau of Transportation staff who stayed busy walking curious citizens through the major changes coming soon to Williams Avenue.
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A few blocks up the road, employees from Metropolis Cycle Repair were handing out free patch kits and stickers while store owner Nathan Roll was servicing bikes.
Further north I noticed an umbrella outside Wine Up on Williams so I pulled over to chat. Wine Up owner Camille Gonzalez and head chef Steve Payne poured me a cup of refreshing cold water infused with mint and cucumber and handed me a sampling of savory and sweet trail mix. “We see all these bikers going by all the time and we just wanted to come out and say hi,” Gonzalez said. As riders stopped in, Gonzalez told them about Wine Up and offered free wine tasting coupons.
As we were chatting, we looked up to see another rider get right-hooked as someone turned their van onto N Monroe. The woman on the bike gathered herself and then slowly walked over to the Wine Up table. After getting a drink and enjoying a chat with Gonzalez I heard her say, “Thanks! I’m sort of glad I got right hooked and ended up stopping.”
Oh, the joys of biking on Williams.
After navigating the congestion around New Seasons, I gladly pulled into the next stop at Cha! Cha! Cha! taqueria. Employee Kayla Shutes was standing out near the bike lane offering riders ice cold tamarindo and horchata. For those who stopped, there was also a plate of taquitos and empanadas to sample from.
My last stop of the day was Hopworks Bike Bar where a live band played out front and the sidewalk was jam-packed with appreciative bike riders sampling free tastes of beer in free pint glasses wrapped in free koozies printed with a message of “Keep on biking.”
All this! Just to show appreciation for bicycling and the people who do it every day. That’s my kind of event.
Thanks to Portland Design Works and all the businesses that took part in R.A.D.