The bike scene in Portland is a wonderfully dynamic thing. It never stops evolving and there are always new people, ideas, and events coming into it. As they do, they keep the scene healthy by forcing it to re-invent itself and absorb new perspectives.
Part of my job is to monitor this ecosystem and understand the role that each piece has on the greater whole. One such piece that I’ve recently heard about is the Rush Hour Alleycat.
Like many new things that appear on the Portland bike scene horizon, it starts with some tweets or maybe at text and email or two from the organizer. Then it might gain a Facebook page or website. The event might fizzle out. Or, if enough people link into it, it might sustain itself and build into something special.
(Side note: Have you noticed how big the weekly Thursday Night Ride has gotten? Organizer Nathan Jones (proprietor of Ride Yr Bike bike shop) started it as a way to keep the Pedalpalooza spirit strong. Now it attracts well over 100 people every week. It meets at 7:30 tonight at Salmon Street Fountain if you’re curious.)
Now, back to this Rush Hour Alleycat…[Read more…]
(Photos by M.Andersen/BikePortland)
In an event organizers said might be the first of a new tradition of charity-oriented bike fun in Portland, 96 cheerful people pedaled across the city Saturday to gather an assigned list of goods from the city’s grocery stores and co-ops.
The alleycat-inspired game, which was part of a 14-year-old American tradition called Cranksgiving, brought in $1,573 worth of dry goods for Outside In, a local nonprofit that helps homeless young people and other marginalized Portlanders.
“This isn’t a race,” one organizer said at the start. “But because this is America, there’s going to be a prize for the first team back. And because this is Portland, there’s going to be a prize for the team with the best costumes.”
A recent arrival from the Minneapolis bike-fun scene is bringing a new tradition to Portland: Cranksgiving, a combination “bike rally” and food drive that started in New York City in 1999 and has spread around the country.
Laura Recker, who moved to Portland last December, said she wants to tap into the “philanthropic spirit” and “collective love” of the holiday season while introducing more local bikers to the concept of urban bike races.
“I’ve thrown a few races,” Recker said. “I was surprised because in Minneapolis, a lot of people would turn up to them, and there isn’t as much interest in them around here. … I feel like there are a ton of urban cyclists in Portland that put down a ton of city miles and have this basic knowledge of the city and are able to get from point a to point b quickly — knowledge that we don’t get to tap into as a collective unit.”