Tonight: It’s ‘Bike the Lights’ night at PIR

Riders at the 2016 edition of Bike the Lights at PIR. (Photo: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

Grab your lights, warm coats, and all the kiddos for a fun holiday tradition. Tonight (Tuesday, 11/28) is the annual Bike the Lights night at Portland International Raceway. This is the 14th year the folks who put on the Winter Wonderland light show at PIR have welcomed bike riders for a night of their own.

It’s an opportunity to meet friends and roll on the racetrack north of Kenton under thousands of lights — including the big, illuminated tunnel near the finish line. The event also includes a vendor area that has snacks, treats and warm drinks to make the fun last a bit longer. You can do as many laps as you’d like!

Don’t miss our video from 2021 (below) to get a sense of what it’s like.

If you want company getting out there or aren’t sure of the route, join a group ride. There are at least three rides that will lead to Bike the Lights this year:

  • Meet at Blumenauer Bridge (south entrance, NE 7th and Flanders) at 6:00 pm, ride at 6:30. Ride leader: Tom Howe (@nagitpo on IG). Ride will be slow and social, suitable for all ages. Shift Calendar listing.
  • Meet at Irving Park (basketball courts) at 6:00 pm, ride no later than 6:45. Ride leader: NakedHearts:PDX/Moorland Moss (IG). Ride will be slow and social. Shift Calendar listing.
  • Meet at The Mercado (SE 72nd and Foster) at 6:30 pm. Ride leader Foster Night Ride (IG). This is a faster ride aimed at more experienced riders. Shift Calendar listing.

Winter Wonderland’s Bike the Lights is a fundraiser for Sunshine Division, a nonprofit that has provided free food and clothing to families in need for 100 years. Tickets are $15 for adults and $5 for kids 12 and under (2 and under are free). More info at WinterWonderland.com.

See you out there. Be sure to dress warm!

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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John V
John V
2 months ago

I went, it was fun with a three year old! I should have brought his woom bike though. I thought it might be too crowded but it was ok. Didn’t know there would be stroop waffles.
Getting there did indeed feel janky, but traffic wasn’t too bad so it was ok. I saw other lost riders on the way but we found it. I would have liked to ride with a group but I needed to go earlier. A lot of people drove, which, frown. But on the way back I followed a family with a trailer and what looked like a 6 year old riding the whole way, along the slough path and up Vancouver.
And that’s my whole story.

Tom Howe (Contributor)
2 months ago

Heard from Winter Wonderland that the back gate into PIR from the Columbia Slough Trail will be closed again this year. Apparently, that gate is controlled by ODOT. So, ride around to the automobile entrance to enter “Bike the Lights.”

Chris I
Chris I
2 months ago

Controlled by ODOT, but PIR somehow finds a way to get it open during racing events… kind of silly that an event put on by the Sunshine Division (the police) can’t get the gate open.

John V
John V
2 months ago

I’m deterred by how unclear it is how you would even get a bike to that entrance. I guess you ride the sidewalk for a while. I’m just thinking, for a family in a slow accelerating cargo bike that can’t mount curbs etc. I’m sure with a group it would be fine and maybe there will be a steady stream of riders. But it sucks that for an event explicitly for cyclists and family, that part of the ride has been given no thought. I don’t fancy a ride on the road anywhere up in that area.

EP
EP
2 months ago

It’s completely ridiculous (but totally understandable given their pro-car biz model) that the car-free, direct, easy entrance to PIR isn’t even controlled by them! Instead, everyone has to go a mile out of their way to get in to PIR and return to the exact same spot. Oh, but “it’s not an official entrance.” As in; we’ve made no attempt at caring about connecting this huge facility to anyone other than car drivers.

This all seems pretty weak for a facility owned by the city of Portland. FFS PBOT!

joan
2 months ago

So I know from one other group that they could have this gate open if they paid for someone to watch it the whole time. Is this a case of the Winter Wonderland folks not wanting to pay someone a few hours of work?

Shawn Murphy
Shawn Murphy
2 months ago

Would be nice to see more folks wearing masks at these events.

joan
2 months ago

Hadn’t realized til last night that Sunshine Division is connected to the Portland Police Bureau (the folks staffing the tables had jackets on that clearly said “Sunshine Division” and “Portland Police Bureau”). It’s a pretty expensive event and I likely won’t go again, unfortunately, if this is the organization supported each year.

Jo
Jo
2 months ago
Reply to  joan

It’s a charitable organization established by the PPB. https://sunshinedivision.org/history/
But yeah, if you don’t like that charity, then don’t go.

Chris I
Chris I
2 months ago
Reply to  joan

Do you disagree with the mission or the impact of Sunshine? Or you just don’t like seeing cops getting any kind of goodwill in our community? This org helps over 15,000 familiies with food and clothing every year.

John V
John V
2 months ago
Reply to  Chris I

There are other places you can donate money and organizations you can support if you want to give families food and clothing. Saying “I’m going to take my limited funds elsewhere” isn’t the same as disagreeing with the mission. I don’t have enough money to give to everyone whose mission I agree with. So people are free to not give positive PR and a show of support to a group they disagree with if they can get the same benefit spending money elsewhere.