Did you see what I saw in the Weekend Event Guide this week? Take a look at the events our community offers up over the next three days and you’ll see one of the most inclusive and accessible bike scenes in the world.
“Portland cyclists” have taken their lumps over the years. And while I don’t agree with painting all the people who fit that definition with the same brush, some of the stereotypes — as is the case with any community — have been well-deserved. But over the past decade or so, the Portlanders actively involved in building a community around cycling in this town have taken great pains to open the gates and welcome everyone who wants to pedal through them. And the slate of rides on this year’s Pedalpalooza calendar are a powerful manifestation of how far we’ve come in expanding cycling to people and groups that for all of Portland’s illustrious cycling past had been all but invisible.
Just look at the slate of rides this weekend…
On Friday, the PDX Unity Ride collective — formed to “build a community of queer and trans-friendly folks through a shared love of riding bikes,” will host one of their many rides this summer. Then on Saturday morning, the Black Liberation Ride will kick off two days of Juneteenth celebrations. One hour after that ride takes off, people with disabilities or — who are unable (for any reason!) to ride a traditional, two-wheeled bike — will have a ride of their own on the Eastbank Espalande thanks to the Adaptive Biketown program. And right after that, a duo of deaf riders will lead the first-ever Silent Ride where participants will communicate with sign language and finally be able to enjoy the social side of cycling in the way they know best. On Saturday night, there’s a ride that pays homage to the Latin American tradition of Cumbia music (which I had to look up as I wrote the Weekend Event Guide). Then on Sunday, there’s a ride devoted to normalizing mental health where the leader will create a safe space for people who carry the heavy weight of life experiences that lives in their heads and can’t be stuffed into a pannier or box of a cargo bike.
All these rides. All these people who can find their people. Over a span of just three days. That is how I define Portland’s bike community: It’s beautiful, it’s diverse, it shatters stereotypes, and it’s open to everyone.
Enjoy the long weekend. If I don’t see you in the streets, I’ll see you back here on Tuesday.