Portland’s favorite free fun festival of bike rides and events will make a big return in 2021.
Organizers of Pedalpalooza announced Thursday this year’s fest will last three months — from June through August. The longer timeframe will help make up for lost time when the fest shut down in 2020 due to the pandemic.
Late last month organizers wondered if Portlanders would feel comfortable meeting up for in-person group bike rides. A survey found overwhelming support. 98.7% of respondents answered “yes” (79%) or “maybe” when asked if Pedalpalooza should happen in 2021.
Since Covid-19 and its variants are still very much circulating in the community, the emphasis this year will be on smaller rides. While riding with thousands of people is a thrill, the magic of Pedalpalooza is often found in the creative, niche-y rides with just a few people.
Organizers also hope to secure funding that would allow them to have PPE on-hand for anyone that shows up without it.
Not only will it happen, it will last for three months. This could make 2021 the biggest Pedalpalooza ever since the event started in 2002. Back then it was known as “Bike Summer” and lasted about a month. When it became known as Pedalpalooza in 2004, it lasted about two weeks, had about 68 total rides and the event was always held in June. In 2012 organizers expanded it to three weeks as the number of events swelled to over 300 — with most days having over 10 separate rides. In 2017 it was expanded again to a full month.
Pedalpalooza is the quintessential grassroots cycling event. Beyond the few marquee events like the Kickoff Ride and Naked Bike Ride, organizers merely manage a calendar and it’s up to the community to dream up, plan, and host rides. Anyone can post a ride on the main calendar and it’s up to individual ride leaders to promote their events.
A glance at the 2021 calendar shows that “#1 Fun Seeker” Armando Luna has already posted a ride: A tour of bike shops in north Portland to pay respects to the folks who keep us rolling.
Pedalpalooza is funded through donations and merchandise sales and operates under the fiscal sponsorship of Umbrella, a 501(c)3 nonprofit that supports “street-based culture”.
The calendar is open and ready to accept ride submissions. Keep in mind that masks and Covid-safe behaviors will be expected and required for ride leaders and participants.
— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and firstname.lastname@example.org
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