Here in Portland, you don’t have to choose between a Pride Month rally hosted by local drag queens or a bike ride to celebrate World Bicycle Day. At The Street Trust’s first annual Pride Ride yesterday, you could have both. Of course, I had to get in on the action, so I rode downtown yesterday afternoon to check it out.
“Darcelle was the first person in Portland to ride a bike back in 1932.”
— Poison Waters
We started the 1.7 mile ride at the South Park Blocks, where guest host and local drag legend Poison Waters introduced the event and hopped in a tricycle carriage (operated by The Street Trust’s Madi Carlson). While riding through downtown, we were serenaded by the sweet bagpipe tunes of the Unipiper, who is legendary in Portland for being able to play his instrument while balancing on a unicycle.
Once we reached our end destination at the Cart Blocks, we were joined by a very special guest: Darcelle XV, who, at age 91, is the world’s oldest performing drag queen.
“Darcelle was the first person in Portland to ride a bike back in 1932,” Poison Waters joked. “We’d have the bike here today, but it’s displayed at the Smithsonian, and would’ve cost a lot of money to ship.”
This was one of the first Pride Month events in Portland, and it was perfectly timed for World Bicycle Day and the beginning of Pedalpalooza. Turns out bikes, drag queens and bagpipes go together like rainbow sherbet.
Let’s hope this turns into an annual tradition!
Check out more photos from the ride below, and thanks again to Poison Waters, Darcelle and The Street Trust (as well as partner sponsors Downtown Portland and the Portland Business Alliance) for such a fun event!
Taylor has been BikePortland’s staff writer since November 2021. She has also written for Street Roots and Eugene Weekly. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org