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Four rides to support Black lives

Posted by on June 8th, 2020 at 11:31 am

A family at last night’s march in northeast.
(Photo: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

If you’ve been to one of the protests in Portland you’ve seen that the number of people on bikes is growing each night. Now community leaders have planned several bike rides that will amplify and/or spin-off the protests.

After being all but shut down due to the pandemic, rides and events are once again being posted to the BikePortland Calendar. In particular there are five on the horizon (so far) I want to make sure you’re aware of. Before making plans, please remember that the deadly Covid-19 virus is still spreading in Oregon. Wear your mask, wash your hands, keep a distance if you can, and continue to take precautions.

Tonight (Monday, 6/8)

There are two bike meet-ups and rides tonight.

The first is a meeting and ride for folks interested in helping to support the large marches and rallies that start at Revolution Hall (SE 13th and Stark). As we shared on Friday, the PDX Bike Swarm is buzzing again and they’ve got a meeting planned with protest organizers Rose City Justice to see if their services are needed and how they can best support the local Black Lives Matter movement. There will also be a solidarity/training ride that will feed into the march once it has begun. It all starts at 4:00 pm at Rev Hall. More info here.

There’s also a “Pedal for Justice” ride meeting at Irving Park (NE 7th and Fremont) at 5:00 pm. I’m not exactly sure who’s behind it or what the plan is, but word of the ride has spread like wildfire through Portland bike social media. Given the meet-up time, my hunch is the organizer wants to rally folks together and then do a mass ride that will either join the marchers or meet at the end location (which I’m not clear of yet, although they’ve ended at Irving Park the last two nights). More info here.


Wednesday, June 10th

The Portland chapter of Black Girls Do Bike, a national nonprofit that fosters a “community of women of color who share a passion for cycling” (we interviewed their leader Keyonda McQuarters in 2017) is hosting a ride at 6:30 at Irving Park.

The ride is open to everyone and will be a fun, slow, social ride that will be perfect for beginners. More experienced riders are encouraged to come and offer support to new riders if needed. More info here.

Tuesday, June 16th

Open for whom?

Continue your journey to enlightenment about racism and urban planning with this free live webcast featuring two leading lights on the topic: Tamika Butler and Jason DeGray from urban planning firm Toole Design. Here’s the event blurb:

Crisis precipitates change. The novel Coronavirus has transformed our lived experience in the blink of an eye, generating mass uncertainty and economic upheaval while laying bare the inequities of America’s culture of white supremacy. As we witness the struggle to maintain a sense of self, purpose, and hope, it is paramount to understand that the collective utility of the street has never before played such a crucial role in determining our American destiny.

In this free webinar, Tamika Butler, Esq and Jason DeGray P.E., PTOE of Toole Design will discuss equitable, ethical, and empathetic approaches to “open streets” recovery initiatives.

More info here.


Friday, June 19th – Juneteenth

(Photo: Black Liberation Ride/FB)

Two Portlanders are co-organizing a Black Liberation Ride to mark the annual Juneteenth Day. Juneteenth is the commemoration of the day in 1865 when news of the Emancipation Proclamation and the freeing of slaves was officially enacted in Texas. Note that this kid-friendly social ride is meant only for Black Portlanders. “Sometimes self-care means holding space with your community. Let’s get together, take up space and celebrate Black solidarity by riding around Portland. Along the way we’ll point out local Black history and end in a park for a socially distant hangout,” says the event description.

If you aren’t Black and still want to support this ride, you can Venmo one of the organizers @Jene-Etheridge to help buy snacks and ride swag (spoke cards!) and anything left over will be donated to the Portland African American Leadership Forum. More info here.

NOTE: Justice Center protests need bike support too

There’s a growing divide in Portland’s protests: A family-friendly protest on the east side led by Rose City Justice, and the nightly stand-off happening at the Justice Center downtown. And the Portland Police Bureau is driving a wedge between the two specifically to serve their PR needs. We’ve heard that protestors downtown could use more bodies on bikes to distract police, gather intel, ferry supplies, and provide support. It’s a more dangerous assignment, but if you’re interested and up for it, please consider heading downtown with your bike.

If you hear of any other bike rides or events, please send them our way so we can help boost the signal.

See you on the streets!

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

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Thanks for adding a note from the downtown crowd, Jonathan. After we spoke at the march last night i was thinking about it. Here are some of the reasons why i have been choosing to come out with my hi-vis to Revolution Hall (rather than downtown) the last few nights, and expect to continue to do so for now.
1. I live in SE, so it’s closer to home for me, and easier to get to and from, especially since i am still working (from home) at this time.
2. The speakers at these marches seem to share my values. They have consistent and actionable messages.
3. The route seems to be at least vaguely announced to the group by the time it starts moving, so it’s not impossible to ride ahead/parallel to help cork effectively. It returns to Revolution Hall at the end, so those who wanted to come from too far to bike could park there.
4. I see plenty of kids at this one, and lots of people wearing dark clothes who clearly don’t realize how invisible they are to traffic. (Unlike many of those i saw headed downtown who are dressing this way knowingly and intentionally and are planning to watch out for themselves, i hope.)

So if there is a march downtown, i can see bikes being helpful with traffic management, and of course a bike swarm could also be helpfully distracting for their group, but so far it’s been too unclear what times and places bikes could make an organized effort to help, unlike with the eastside events. A clearer voice from the organizers of the downtown protests (if there are any?) regarding what specific help bikes can give might result in more bikes out there helping. The message you shared in your post today helps get the word out, but i wonder if anyone who’s been out there in person has constructive advice as well.

Additionally, if someone has more tireless legs than mine, the timing of the actions downtown seems that one could support both movements, going downtown after the Revolution Hall crowd heads home.

Lastly, i want to remind all people participating in any of these actions to watch out for vulnerable people living on the streets who may be caught up in the excitement. On our way back to Revolution Hall last night, there was a barefoot woman twirling her way through the middle lanes of Broadway to the rhythms of the chanting march. As the support vehicles trailing the walkers cleared the intersection, she kept dancing alone, all in dark clothes and dark skin and no shoes. She was oblivious to the multi-lane traffic about to bear down on her after our passing through. I stayed in her lane with my lights and all on until she eventually twirled her way back over to her curb. She is not the first apparently houseless person i have witnessed caught up in the excitement, just the most endangered so far.

Please keep an eye out, and use our bikes for good!


I am a little disappointed to not see a free Mumia ride on this list.


thanks for the shout out! we decided to make the Juneteenth ride open to any cyclists who identifies as BIPOC. i’m sure this already went out in a newsletter but updated info is on the facebook event!