There’s nothing like a massive bike ride to make Portland feel like, well, Portland again. After a Covid-induced hiatus last year Pedalpalooza got off to a spectacular start last night as hundreds (thousands?) of people joined the Kickoff Ride.
As we rolled through the streets of inner southeast neighborhoods and gathered at Colonel Summers and Laurelhurst parks there was a refrain I heard several times: Portland is back! Or in the words of one of our Instagram friends: “Whoa Portland’s still cool.”
And after missing out on so much social cycling this past year, spirits soared on sun-soaked streets. The crowd was as large as any I could remember. And as per usual, Pedalpalooza draws a diverse crowd of bike lovers. On last night’s ride there was just about every kind of bicycle and person that you could imagine: Tall bikes, tiny bikes, three-wheeled trikes, electric bikes, fast bikes, slow bikes — there was even a sidecar-chariot-fat-tire-ebike. The people riding them were just as varied.
The group assembled at Colonel Summers Park (a location steeped in local bike culture lore) and rolled out through the Ladd’s Addition roundabouts and rose gardens. The ride continued along Water Avenue near OMSI before heading north through the Central Eastside Industrial District where it connected to Ankeny for the ride east into Laurelhurst Park.
Picnics started promptly in the lush forests of Laurelhurst. Music, laughter, new friends, and old ones. People passed out flyers for their upcoming rides and the drinks and conversations flowed for hours. As the sun set on Pedalpalooza’s first day, the portable disco ball light emerged (thanks Cory!) and the dance party thumped into the night.
If you want to get in on the fun, check the Pedalpalooza calendar and follow @Pedalpalooza on social media. See you out there!
— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and firstname.lastname@example.org
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Super fun. Looking forward to more bikefun and advocacy.
Doesn’t look like much was done for COVID safety. Let’s hope we don’t see more surges after events like this.
Based on very informal polling, I would guess that most participants were vaccinated.
Hi Jon! I’m the co-leader for the ride. We said masks were required on the ride portion last night and the leaders wore them, but it was 94F/34C out yesterday and there was no way to keep it enforced with 500-700 people on the ride.
We were following the law. Pretty much anything is allowed if you’re outside in public places in Multnomah County now, the event was 95% adults in a county with the lowest risk category statewide. There are currently only 7 new cases in Mult. county for every 100K people. We have 60% of adults vaccinated. Outdoor transmission is already very unlikely, among vaccinated people, even lower.
But still. It’s weird. I took off my mask at the end picnic to drink water and eat, and it just felt… normal… but unsettling. I even sweaty-hugged a few fully vaxxed friends I haven’t seen for almost 2 years. But this new normal sees especially weird as an immunosuppressed (but vaccinated) person.
So masks are not required by state policy and have never been necessary riding bikes.
Then why was the ride policy that masks were required?
If that was the policy, why was it ignored?
I’m not complaining at all about riders not wearing masks. Can SHIFT please take down the “masks are required” on all rides for Pedalpalooza policy? It does not make any sense.
Those on the conservative, strong masking, social distancing side complain about the “deniers” ignoring science and policy. Let’s not do the same thing in the opposite direction. Anyone can wear a mask at any time for their comfort. Setting overly restrictive rules and then not following them is bad policy and bad optics.
Shift changed the website quite awhile ago, it now says: “Shift strongly encourages everyone on a ride to wear a mask and maintain six feet of social distance whenever possible.”
For the kickoff, we made it the ride policy when we created the event back in April, before the CDC made any announcements or the state made any changes, and we stuck with it. We did not enforce it because it simply was not practical to act as enforcer, especially in 95F weather.
Not everyone’s rides are entirely outside and laws are different for inside, or for events where social distancing is feasible (I am leading a film screening ride next week and we’re requiring masks on the ride as well as in the theatre, that will be a lot smaller so I can enforce it). Some rides will have a higher number of immunosuppressed folks, kids who cannot yet be vaccinated, and some people will simply have different comfort levels. letting ride leaders choose their own risk tolerance and willingness to enforce seems like the most pedalpalooza answer, not shaming people for asking for masks or vice versa.
AnomaLily thank you so much for your candor and engagement with thoughtful answers. You’re a gift!
Hey AnomaLily thanks for the reply and I apologize for sounding like a kill joy at a time when people want to have a good time. And yes I totally understand the heat problem! I’m not even physically able to ride in these conditions so hats off (and masks) to people who can.
I do respect your concern, but I’m sure most folks seen here are vaccinated at this point. I personally feel that Portlanders have been cautious for long enough. If there are people who came and participated in these crowds who also choose not to take the vaccine, that’s mostly on them. Time to get back to living, let the games begin!
The CDC guidance says people don’t have to wear masks when outdoors, so what’s the problem?
Really Jon? Between all the people who are vaccinated, the fact that they’re outside (where there’s almost zero spread), and the fact that numbers are dropping like a stone, I think it’s time to move forward without tsk tsk shaming.
Huge thanks to the ride organizers for such a fun, good vibes kickoff! I felt enormously thankful to be fully vaccinated and able to ride in a big group without fear. I saw so many friends I hadn’t seen in person in over a year, and to get to talk and laugh was such a boost for my mental health. Can’t wait for the rest of Bike Summer!
Great ride and thank you organizers for putting this together. I however wish there was more solidarity coming from the community to work together on public health and wear mask. Not all have been vaccinated, not all have completed the 5 week process of becoming by filling vaccinated, and those who had can still do their part by masking up during at least the ride as was advertised in the calendar event. Being able to come together for something like this during this part of history is truly a privilege and hopefully the Portland community can continue to respect that.
That said thank you again organizers and I can’t wait to don my mask and join the city for more fun over the summer.
We’re at a point where the CDC guidelines say that people who are vaccinated don’t need to wear masks outdoors, and even unvaccinated people only need to wear masks if they’re outdoors but very close to other people. At this point, most Pedalpalooza riders are vaccinated, and those who aren’t have a personal responsibility to wear a mask. It shouldn’t be up to ride leaders to enforce mask-wearing at this point in the pandemic, and indeed it can be dangerous to confront people about mask-wearing. I think we’ve reached a point where it’s more practical to rely on an honor system, since the risk is very low of any sort of outbreak given high vaccination levels and the rides being outdoors.
We’re in the phase of this pandemic where the behavioral shaming needs to stop, IMO. Everyone has had the opportunity to get the FREE vaccine at this point. Yes, access is an issue for some, but the vast majority of those who are not vaccinated are making it a personal choice. For those who are vaccinated (even with a single dose), the risk of contracting Covid has never been lower.
I’m really proud of the way Portlanders have handled the pandemic, honestly. The majority of us acted appropriately for the past 14 months; foregoing social events, masking indoors and outdoors (when appropriate), and finally, getting vaccinated in huge numbers. The weather is great, and it’s time that we start socializing again.
I’m here for a few months work assignment and come from a part of the country most the folks on the coasts tend to look down their noses at. Obvious problems aside I will say Portland has SO DAMN MUCH GOING FOR IT! But wow one this city has such a vibe of fear and mistrust. My partner came out for the weekend and we decided picnic in one of the many fine city parks. While taking a rest on a bench next to a walking path a young family came walking by…mom, dad, and kiddos. All masked. The closer they got to us the parents scooted the children away as far as possible off the path and ushered the kids quickly by. A simple nod, and a hello were not returned. And this is just one of many encounters I’ve had while here. People don’t make eye contact, don’t say hello, don’t seem to like to greet each other at all. I know c*ronavirus has done a number on people and there has been a lot going on here so I guess it’s understandable to a certain extent. I really like it here but damn the people are just so unfriendly and mistrusting of each other. I don’t ride bikes all that much to be honest but if it meant meeting some more friendly folks before I go home I might give it a go.
Sorry to hear about your experience Stinky Pinky. FWIW that’s not my experience post-Covid. I’ve been seeing many more smiles and welcoming nods than ever. Just last night I shook a stranger’s hand while walking my dog in the park at 10:45 pm!!
But yes, find a bike ride on the Pedalpalooza calendar and find some fun friends.
The latest data is showing that outdoor transmission is extremely unlikely (less than 1%). At an event like this, you are not going to be close enough to any potentially infectious individual for long enough for it to matter. On top of that, Multnomah County is now at around 70% vaccinated, and cases are way down.
Forcing people to wear masks on a 90* day when the science says otherwise is not a reasonable position.
more images from Pedalpalooza 2021:
fun days ahead y’all
Remember be considerate to neighbors. Sounds like this group of cyclists wasn’t making friends:
Post from NEXTDOOR:
Clinton Park Bike Party. There was a gathering and party last night at the playground at Clinton Park with at least 60 bicyclists who had a sound system and were playing loud music until 10:50. This is a neighborhood full of students, many who need to be to school by 8 am. Some adults need to be to work by 6 am. It was too late for a weeknight. Apparently they do this every Thursday. If anyone knows the organizers please tell them this is not what the community wants late at night
Cool! GET VACCINATED and Ride on!! Yipee!!