Pedalpalooza will look and feel a lot different this year, but organizers have done an amazing job putting together something that could be every bit as memorable.
Because Covid-19 is still very much a concern and riding in groups is still a bad idea, the name of the game this year is that daily themes and sharing rides digitally will create some of the community connections we so badly crave. The official Pedalpalooza calendar is full with a different theme for each day of the five week, 35-day festival and it all begins this Monday, June 1st.
Lead organizer Meghan Sinnott says only one of the days is Portland-specific, which means people from anywhere around the region (or globe!) can join in the fun. “The theme days are meant to inspire cyclists everywhere. This year, for instance, we’ve had a spike of interest from the west side (Tualatin mostly), Vancouver and Clackamas,” she said.
Sinnott is pushing the idea of “separate but together” (#separatetogether) to keep riding safe. “It’s important that we have fun, but that we remember the health and safety of our community is our number one priority,” she says. Local ride leaders have always adhered to a “leave no trace” ethic when it comes to picking up trash after big group rides. Sinnott adds that she hopes a similar self-policing vibe will emerge during Pedalpalooza. “We must all speak up when we perceive unnecessarily risky behaviors with regards to Covid-19 precautions,” she said.
(Screenshot of Pedalpalooza calendar for 4 of 5 weeks.)
To take part all you have to do is check the calendar and follow the themes, then share your experience with the associated daily hash tag. For example, Monday is “Food by Bike” day where you’re encouraged to ride to pick-up a take-out order, ride to a picnic pot, have coffee outside, get out the rolling BBQ, or whatever. Then post images to #foodbybike and #pedalpaloozaPDX to connect with and inspire others.
Other fun themes include: Space is the Place, Grand Petite Parade, Music Fest, Halloween in June, Hidden Portland, Skateapalooza, and Ride Naked.
Remember, there’s no right or wrong way to interpret the themes. Be creative (or not) and just have fun with it.
If you want to take Pedalpalooza to the next level, consider being a volunteer by sharing ride reports to your social media accounts, getting involved in theme days (they’re looking for more theater, improve and dance companies for Street Theater Day), or buying merchandise to support the event and spread the spirit.
This year’s t-shirts (available in kids through adult XXXL sizes), stickers and other merch look awesome. You can order them online until June 10th. If DIY is your thing, you can even download the designs and print them up yourself.
One of the most popular items each year is the official Pedalpalooza pennant. Strapped to a bike rack, frame, backpack or handlebar, these pennants are a great way to spread the word. Sinnott says, “We’re very much leaning on the pennant this year as a powerful symbol of “separate, but together.” We’ve sold hundreds already, but we have a vision of seeing them everywhere this summer.”
We hope to see lots of riders everywhere taking part in the daily themes (well-spaced and safely of course). Check them out and get inspired at Pedalpalooza.org/ride and we’ll see you out there!
— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and firstname.lastname@example.org
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