21st annual Pedalpalooza kicks off Thursday at Alberta Park

A scene from the 2022 Loud n Lit ride. (Photo: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

We are mere days away from what is quite possibly/very likely the greatest cycling festival in the world. Of course I speak of Pedalpalooza, that uniquely Portland event that will begin this Thursday June 1st and go through the end of August. It’s three glorious months of free bike events and community-building-on-wheels.

Last year’s 20th anniversary of the event was perhaps one of its most magical ever as people embraced the opportunity to be together following two years of the pandemic. This year is sure to continue that trend.

Pedalpalooza traces its beginnings to 2002, when a traveling “Bike Summer” rolled through town. The event was so popular local folks decided to do it again the next year, calling it “Mini Bike Summer” in 2003 and then it took on the Pedalpalooza name in 2004. The events are centered around one of the founding principles of the local bike scene: “free bike fun.” Yes, cycling is inherently affordable, but since the dawn of bike culture in Portland its main instigators have worked to make sure that there are no financial barriers to taking part in the fun, social side of things. All you need is a bike. And if you don’t have one, hop in a pedicab, on a Biketown, or into the bin of a cargo bike.

The event itself is actually hundreds of events. Pedalpalooza is a calendar of rides submitted by regular folks like you and me (and you can still add rides!). Each year there are a few touchstone events that garner vast crowds — like the Kickoff Ride (6/1), Loud n Lit (6/23) and World Naked Bike Ride (8/12)— but most it’s the smaller rides that pull people in. The sheer variety of interests represented is a reflection of the diverse crowd of people who love cycling in Portland.

There are rides for people who sew, players of Dungeons & Dragons and Clue, Harry Potter fans, square dancers, people who enjoy Asian snacks, kids (of all ages) who like slides, or urban curiosities like those plastic horses tied up around town and Portland’s fossilized freeways, just to name a few.

Map of every taco place in the region by Joshua Force.

Each year there’s at least one new ride that captures our imagination. This year I’m very intrigued by the Reign of Taco Ride (6/6) created by the inimitable Joshua Force. With substantial contributions from Karl Freitag he has dreamed up a one-day plan to have bike riders fan out and order at least one taco from every single taco joint in the region. Another member of the taco crew, Adam Novotny, collected an exhaustive list of every taco joint in the city for the location of each cart and cafe. Then he created an interactive taco map with an ability for participants to log in and track their purchases. What an amazing way to celebrate cycling and tacos!

I also can’t wait for the return of the 14th annual Bike Play, an original play with professional actors who travel to each scene by bike.

It all begins this Thursday at Alberta Park (NE 19th and Ainsworth) with the traditional Kickoff Ride. Show up at 5:30 to mingle and reconnect with all your Pedalpalooza friends. Roll out at 6:30. Hope to see you there!


If you haven’t done Pedalpalooza yet, check out our video from last year to get a taste of what to expect:

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)

Founder of BikePortland (in 2005). Father of three. North Portlander. Basketball lover. Car owner and driver. If you have questions or feedback about this site or my work, feel free to contact me at @jonathan_maus on Twitter, via email at maus.jonathan@gmail.com, or phone/text at 503-706-8804. Also, if you read and appreciate this site, please become a supporter.

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Todd/Boulanger
Todd/Boulanger
3 months ago

Good luck Joshua! May the ‘Timolandia’ be with your group for completion!
[Timo’s ‘imfamous’ PP Taco Ride of 2008 that lasted 24 hours…based on the unofficial referee time count, pre iPhone]

PS. Joshua’s map might be onto a great PSU TREC graduate research project topic: the high positive correlation of bi-state Taco Shops and High Injury Crash Corridors, the chicken or the egg, which is it?

JP
JP
3 months ago

I’m excited for all of you and for all of Portland! Get out there and have fun on as many rides as you can, and invite your car-addicted friends too. I’m personally severely bummed because I had a bike mishap on the way home from Filmed By Bike, and the day of the Kickoff Ride I’ll be in surgery. How’s that for bike irony?

Todd/Boulanger
Todd/Boulanger
3 months ago
Reply to  JP

JP, sorry to hear of your mishap…though don’t give up just yet…do a Zoom Pedal Palooza event from your recuperation zone.

pierre delecto
pierre delecto
3 months ago
Reply to  JP

Get out there and have fun on as many rides as you can…

My bike is a tool that I use to get to work ~6 times a week. I look forward to days off when I don’t have to ride my bike, so no thanks.

Granpa
Granpa
3 months ago
Reply to  pierre delecto

Fun is a tool used by bourgeois to keep the proletariat from getting access to the means of production

pierre delecto
pierre delecto
3 months ago
Reply to  Granpa

The thing I think is fun must be fun for everyone. People who disagree with me are communists bad people.

Serenity
Serenity
3 months ago
Reply to  JP

Oh no! Sorry about your mishap.

FDUP
FDUP
3 months ago

I will never go on any of the large group rides again, too many aggro motorists threaten these rides nowadays.