Hundreds of people donned their finest – or most eccentric – garb and headed to Colonel Summers Park Saturday night for Pedalpalooza’s annual Bike Prom. This event, which was hosted by the Portland chapter of the Dead Baby Bike Club for the second year in a row, capped off the first month of Bike Summer 2022. It was the perfect event to epitomize the energy of the summer so far: enthusiastic, weird and slightly revelrous.
I asked several attendees how they thought Bike Prom compares to their high school dance, and everyone was resoundingly clear that this event is far superior. At Bike Prom, you get all the fun of dressing up, but you don’t have to dance with a bunch of sweaty 17-year-olds in a high school gym.
Our big group of well-dressed cyclists travelled down to the Springwater Corridor to join a dance party along the Willamette River. Eric Thornburg, who has been killing the game photographing Pedalpalooza rides, took everyone’s prom photos, and then the true debauchery began: a lube wrestling competition that rivaled the excitement of any sporting event I’ve ever seen.
“I thought I’d be above watching the lube wrestling, but something about it was primal and impossible to look away from,” one observer told me. I agreed: when I set out for the evening, this is not what I was expecting!
I also expected maybe 40 people or so and was surprised when several hundred showed up (it’s my first Pedalpalooza, and apparently this is a regular turnout for Bike Prom).
Though this event transcended beyond a mere bike ride, I think the oddness of it all shows how versatile and unique Portland’s bike scene is. Come for the biking, stay to watch people slipping and sliding in a baby pool, dancing together in public, and giving Hulk Hogan a run for his money with their wrestling skills. You never know what you’re going to get at a Pedalpalooza ride.
Remember: there are two more months of Pedalpalooza, and many more opportunities to find yourself somewhere as strange and exciting as the Bike Prom dance floor.