Professor Badass expounds on local geologic mysteries. (Photo by J.R.)
I ditched work on Thursday to familiarize myself with the Land of Port a bit better by joining up with fifteen other people on bikes and Dr. #1 Badass (planetary geology professor) at the Washington Park Zoo MAX stop.
The four and a half hour tour began by reviewing the excellent MAX station display of a drill core sampled during construction of the Red Line. Its corresponding timeline set the framework for our understanding of the geologic development unique to this region and foreshadowed the stops we would make later in the afternoon.[Read more…]
[Thanks to Carye Bye for this report (via the Shift list) on the Oregon Sesquicentennial Ride that she organized in honor of our state’s 150th birthday. You can see her photos of the ride here, and check out BikePortland’s photos from the start of the party here.]
Oregon is celebrating its 150th Birthday all year long! About twenty cyclists met up to celebrate in style. We had two Beavers, some Oregon themed shirts, and many of us dressed up in Oregon’s state colors Blue & Yellow (Gold and Navy if you are picky).
At the start we had a little Birthday Cake, lit the candles and Sang “Happy Birthday Oregon.” Four people won best costume and got a fabulous Oregon-Beaver drink coaster set (thanks SCRAP!) and four Natives of Oregon won special arm-band garters with a picture of Oregon. Everyone got buttons to wear!
Each person put something about Oregon on a name tag. One person had eaten cherries off 10 + trees in Woodlawn neighborhood that week. Another admitted she loved rain. One person proudly proclaimed CAR-FREE in Oregon and I said that I’d been to the Slug-Queen festival in Eugene – which is fabulous beyond words, by the way.
Our first stop was the Woody Guthrie Circle at the Bonneville Power Administration Building in the Lloyd. Dan Miller brought his little guitar and we sang “Roll, on Columbia.” Dan even wrote up one of his own verses to sing! The great folk singer Woody was hired by the government to make folks songs about the new dams being built up the Columbia in the 1940s as a campaign to appease the public. After three rounds of singing, ‘homeland security” showed up and told us to stop taking pictures! But didn’t say to stop singing.. but we were on our way to our next stop anyway. Strange!
Next up was the Portland State Building. Inside there are two incredible glass murals, one of Multnomah Falls and one of Bridge of the Gods. Also in the center of the lobby is a gold ring hanging from the ceiling with Oregon’s State motto: “She flies with her own wings.”
As we were looking at the murals…. A BIG SURPRISE happened. SESKI THE SASQUATCH came out between the two murals! Seski is Oregon’s State Mascot for the Sesquicentennial celebrations all year! I had been leaving notes for him in Forest Park (his local accommodation) inviting him to ride with us, and well, he came!
It was a media frenzy, everyone had their cameras out. No one could believe they were meeting a real Big Foot! When I announced that Seski would be riding with us, there were squeals of delight!
Around the corner from the Portland State Building at NE 7th & Lloyd Blvd is a display of Oregon’s State Symbols from Beaver to Douglas Fir, from Western Meadow Lark to the Oregon Grape. But something was missing! Oregon’s Mascot. So I did the honors and added Seski to the Hall of Fame of State symbols!
Our group cycled on with Seski in a Pedicab generously donated by Portland Pedicabs and we paraded down to the Waterfront and rode lower Steel Bridge to Salmon Fountain. People on the waterfront were so excited to see Seski! When we arrived at Salmon Fountain there were some youth group activities and the kids went nuts when they saw Seski. One boy ran over. “I love you!!!!” he screamed.
We pedaled into Chapman Square where there is a Pioneer Oregon Trail family sculpture that was erected in 1993 for the 150th anniversary of the Oregon Trail. Here we took many Seski photos, and bid him adieu.
The rest of us went up to the Oregon Historical Society to see the “Oregon, My Oregon” exhibit. We also looked at the tromp de l’oeil mural outside showing Lewis & Clark & others. I didn’t know how many folks would show up so I told the museum 30 to 60 people. So they had three docents ready for us. But with twenty we could have easily stayed as a group, but each docent really wanted to give a tour. I first showed everyone my favorite item at OHS, the Portland Penny that decided Oregon’s name. We split up our group with the three volunteer docents and each group started in different parts of the exhibit. I wasn’t so keen on this, and many of us missed a lot of the exhibit this way since we had an hour to see everything. And I really like to go in chronological order. Oh well, the docents were really sweet and loved telling us about the exhibit.
We lost a few here I think to visit the rest of the museum, and about 10 of us went to the carts to get some food and then went down to the waterfront for the last part of the tour: a visit to the Founder’s Stone! (This is curiously hidden off Naito Parkway just south of Morrison Bridge. There are no paths to it, and it was dedicated in the 1940s.) So we had a dramatic play to reenact the famous Naming of Portland story with Dan Miller as the Bostonian Asa Lovejoy and Allan Folz as William Pettygrove who hailed from Portland, Maine. At first the two pioneers wanted to have a pistol duel in the naming, but the audience said, We have an idea: how about a coin toss, and luckily we had a giant Portland Penny! Of course this play kept getting interrupted by random sprinklers turning on us, and then we’d scream and find a new area of the park, and then it happened again. But finally the city’s fate was sealed. Pettygrove won the coin toss, and Portland is still Portland.
The tour ended just in time to meet up with the Ice Cream social on Broadway Bridge!
As the traditional grande finale to Pedalpalooza, the Multnomah County Bike Fair (MCBF) has lofty expectations to meet. After 17 days and nights of rides and events that captured the hearts and minds of thousands Portlanders, I’d say it came pretty close to meeting them.
MCBF’s volunteer organizers put together a fantastic event with something for the bike lover in all of us. [Read more…]
The Epic Pizza Ride this year was in its fourth, and most extreme, incarnation, including over 100 dedicated pizza eaters, a vegan contingent, a trip up Highway 30 to St Johns, and a serendipitous convergence with the Bluesapalooza ride and its mobile sound system, blues dancers, and a roller-skating corker.
Nostalgic brainchild of the of New Haven exports Shawn Granton and myself, the Pizza Ride has historically made the rounds of some of the better Portland pizzerias, fruitlessly seeking the perfect thin-crust brick oven pie, but always finding satisfaction, good sized crowds, enormous hills, and lots of 1/16th slices.
This year we traveled over 20 miles, with some major wins and fails along the way. (As one rider put it, “Granton should come with a warning label.”) We were treated like kings at the Give Pizza a Chance cart downtown, where they had brewed up a batch of birch beer for us, as well as at Old Town Pizza downtown, Hot Lips by PGE Park, Signal Station in St Johns, and Pizza Fino in Kenton (which stayed open late for us). I left the ride at Stark Naked Pizza at 11:30pm — but about 30 folks continued on to Hammy’s for more late night pizza noshing.
My least favorite part of the ride was seeing two people crash hard after crossing West Burnside as the other riders around them looked down at them and just kept riding along (big thanks to the few who stopped). My favorite part by far was the excitement in the eyes of the two young guys who had just been riding aimlessly around downtown and followed us out of curiosity — they told us this was the most amazing experience and they couldn’t wait to get involved in more rides.
Also exciting was meeting up with the Blues riders, who had great spirit. The guy on roller blades was my hero, he was faster shooting up the hill to the St Johns bridge than many of us on bikes, and never stopped dancing, even while corking.
This ride was a Mercury pick of the week, and we had a ton of non-hardcore riders along. Another awesome moment was waiting at the top of the St Johns bridge for the last few folks to make it up and seeing a gal on a cruiser ride up the final distance, standing on the pedals, with a huge triumphant grin on her face.
I was bringing up the back of the ride, and didn’t get many photos — but here are a few in a slideshow below (or see them with captions on Flickr):
If there’s anything better than going on a bike ride on a gorgeous sunny day, it’s going on bike rides between parks to do yoga on a gorgeous sunny day with 60 other happy pracititioners. And if there’s anything better than that, it’s a convergence with a hundred proud Scandiniavians and their allies riding around in very short shorts.
Steve Upchurch shows off his mad yoga skills as sedate Scandinavians look on. (Photo by Elly Blue)
The description holds true. After 17 exhausting, exuberant days of Pedalpalooza, fatigue is setting in (and there were even rumors on Twitter of a pedalfluenza outbreak). A gentle but seriously fun sort of decompression is needed after spending over two weeks on such a cloud. Enter MCBF, the closing event of Pedalpalooza, a culmination of all the creativity, energy, and socializing of the last two and a half weeks. [Read more…]
The Bike Kiss-In is becoming a time-honored tradition here in Portland. Every Pedalpalooza, couples gather in a high-traffic spot to show their passion for bikes and each other, holding up signs with slogans like “Liplock, not gridlock” and “If you were biking, you’d be making out by now.”
Pedalpalooza culminates this Saturday (6/27) with the infamous, one-of-a-kind Multnomah County Bike Fair. I know, you’re sad because that means eleven long months of waiting for next year will commence — but, you can keep the spirit alive, and remind yourself and the world of your love for bike fun. Come check out some of the unique goods from our BikeCrafters who will be selling their wares in the BikeCraft section of the MCBF Midway.