Support BikePortland - Journalism that Matters

Portland’s oldest riding club drops ‘Wheelmen’ from name

Posted by on April 12th, 2019 at 8:03 am

Scene from Clapshaw Hill Road in Washington County during a club ride last October.
(Photo: Portland Bicycling Club)

After 48 years as the Portland Wheelmen Touring Club, a local riding organization has decided to change its name to Portland Bicycling Club.

“We will no longer appear to potential members as an exclusive club comprised of elite aggressive, high-speed riders who manage bike tours.”
— Pat McManus, club president

The decision was made at the club’s April 4th meeting after months of debate among its 600 members. As we reported back in December, leaders of the club felt the old name wasn’t inclusive enough and that it was time to evolve to attract more diverse, younger riders.

Portland Bicycling Club President Pat McManus shared via email with BikePortland yesterday that, “Rebranding our club will not change the club… But the name will at once be simple and at the same time represent complexity, in that we will no longer (incorrectly) appear to potential members as an exclusive club comprised of elite aggressive, high-speed riders who manage bike tours.”

McManus supports the new name because she believes it will help the club “Morph into a more contemporary organization” and become one that, “Pulls in the diverse types of riders we see in the Portland area.” In a recent club newsletter McManus wrote that the club has been, “Feeling pressure to re-examine our place in Portland’s active cycling community.”


The club’s new ad created for the upcoming Filmed By Bike festival.

The club also recently decided to end the Pioneer Century ride after 44 consecutive editions in part because of dwindling participation.

Like other parts of the cycling scene, the Portland Bicycling Club is dominated by older white men. Out of their eight regular ride leaders, none of them are women.

Pat McManus.

Club surveys showed a strong majority in support of the change. At the April 4th meeting, 71% of the 90 members present voted in support of the new name. McManus said the members who voted against the new name felt it was too ordinary, bland and dull.

Looking ahead, McManus wants everyone to know you don’t have to be a member to ride with the club. She personally loves to lead themed rides (like their annual Halloween Ride and Heritage Tree Ride) and would love to have new members lead more of them. She’s also hoping to see more gravel rides and family-oriented rides on the calendar in the future.

“Our diversity of rides and simple love of bicycling is one of the messages that I hope the new name reflects,” McManus said.

Graphic released by club in official public announcement made today.

To see if Portland Bicycling Club is the place for you, check out their website, Facebook page, and on Instagram.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and

Never miss a story. Sign-up for the daily BP Headlines email.

BikePortland needs your support.

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. BikePortland is an inclusive company with no tolerance for discrimination or harassment including expressions of racism, sexism, homophobia, or xenophobia. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

Leave a Reply

7 Comment threads
12 Thread replies
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
14 Comment authors
Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)9wattsnonyjeredToby Keith Recent comment authors
newest oldest most voted
Notify of

Sounds good. Sounds less competitive, more welcoming. Just my 2 cents. They can always have a referendum on a new name after things shake out a bit.

Ash Mitchell

Great change. The ‘Wheelmen’ club name carries a long history of not only cycling, but also racism, and sexism. I’m thrilled that they’ve changed the name and are encouraging inclusiveness!


Yessssssss! Finally


This world is going to the crapper. The radical left will crush everything eventually.


Congrats to PBC. You’re taking steps to reach out to people you might have missed. I appreciate and support that effort. I just joined the club.

Racer X
Racer X

Next they will drop the term “wheel”…oh I guess they did.

But in someways the dropping of “Wheel” for “bicycle” pigeon holes the group even more, as they cannot evolve with the modern times and incorporate other wheeled micro mobility devices, tricycles, e-scooters, etc.


Good call! The new name is more representative, as well as being more welcoming and forward looking.