Pedalpalooza is an annual phenomenon made possible by Shift, a loosely organized nonprofit whose mission is to promote fun on bikes. It takes place for three weeks in June and is known for the big Kickoff Parade and the Naked Bike Ride — but those are just two of the over 300 events that make up the festival.
This story was written by Portland bike fun enthusiast and Shift volunteer, One Hwang. (Please note: This project is not affiliated with Shift or Pedalpalooza.)
Pedalpalooza 2018 is right around the corner and the bike fun community fire is burning hot. This year we want even more people to organize and attend Pedalpalooza rides, so we’re going to try something new: A Bike Fun Library with everything you need to lead a successful ride!
Members of the public could more easily organize their own Pedalpalooza ride if they had access to a bike ride equipment library, where they could borrow for free a flat bed trailer, sound system, disco ball, batteries, and radio transmitter. Furthermore, if they receive training on how to welcome women and other underrepresented groups, they could help create a more inclusive bike community and address factors that discourage these groups from participation.
We will soon create the Bike Fun Library. And we need your help to make it happen.
Armando Luna is everywhere. From monthly advocacy meetings to late-night party rides — this guy soaks up the cycling scene.
During Pedalpalooza — the month-long, grassroots festival of creative bike rides and events — he kicks it up a notch. So far this month (we’re 21 days in), he’s attended 29 rides.
I recently asked a few questions to learn more about him and his impressive Pedalpalooza prowess…
What’s your background?
I moved to Portland in 1996, fell in love with it and then fell into a job at OHSU, where I still work. I commute by bike every workday from my home in Hollywood. I am grateful for being able commute by bike, for OHSU partnering with Go By Bike bike valet, and for my work paying bike riders to ride to work. (And the tram rides!)
How long have you been doing Pedalpalooza rides?
I don’t really know! I don’t remember the early years, mostly because I was a new dad, that sort of took everything over. When the kids were young they ended up attending a daycare downtown, so when they were old enough I’d pull them in a trailer to daycare, then ride to work.
Portland’s epic month of bike rides and events starts tomorrow. Yes, that’s right, it’s time for the annual Pedalpalooza festival. It’s the 16th year in a row Shift has helped us celebrate the social exhiliration and of bicycling with a slate of rides organized and led by people in the community like you and me. It’s a phenomenonal display of community connectedness unlike anything I’ve seen in the cycling world and we hope you plan to be a part of it
If you are going to join in any one of the 262 rides on the calendar (so far) this month, there are a few things you should know to make sure your experience reaches its full potential. And on a more serious note, there are a few things you should do to make sure your experience doesn’t end up making bad memories (or worse) for you, your friends, or the people around you.
For our annual Pedalalooza primer we once again turn to bike funnist and Shift volunteer Chris “Fool” McCraw. He recently shared some important pits of wisdom:
Tips for maximum Pedalpalooza enjoyment
Get that tune-up, stock up on spare tubes, and make sure your butt loves your saddle. It’s the last minute NOW because you want to have your bike ready before the fun really gets started on June 1st!
Now get yourself tuned up — do you know where your summer bike clothes are? Been putting off that doctor’s appt? Been to see the barber? Nobody wants to stop riding with a few thousand of their closest friends to take care of stuff that could happen anytime, and you know you wanna be in top shape to enjoy the rides and be looking sharp for the cutie you’re sure to meet on the happy streets. Might not be a bad idea to get caught up on laundry, too.
Next up it’s time to get stocked! Easy frozen meals to heat & eat when you get home exhausted and just wanna crawl into bed? Favorite hangover cure — available in quantity? Portable intoxicant of choice — need to hit costco or stumptown to get enough? Beer is easy on the fly, but if you’re more of a liquor is quicker, candy is dandy kinda person — do it in advance: visit your local dispensary, or anyway get the things you can’t make happen at a quickie mart mid-ride or en-route done on your schedule instead of missing the pre-party for Loud and Lit because you have to find the last liquor store in town still open.
Almost ready — but is your pedalpalooza survival kit all ready to go? Picnic blanket, hearty snacks, condoms, band-aids & aspirin, flat-fix kit, extra headlight batteries, and fliers for your ride to hand out to folks at other rides are all recommended. Got Costumes for the WNBR and beyond? Might as well figure all that out during the calm before the storm!
Help take care of yourself and others: These three steps go a long way toward creating inclusive, safe(r) bike fun!
Pedalpalooza is a wild ride, with too little sleep and sometimes too much booze. While we’re out having fun, I want to ask YOU to help take care of yourself and others. These three steps go a long way toward creating inclusive, safe(r) bike fun!
1) Have a plan & Look out for your own well being
When you go on rides that may take you out of your comfort zone, know thyself – might you end up riding longer than expected without a food stop that fits your diet? Might you end up somewhere you’ve never been before? These are near-certainties, so make sure you’re prepared – have a spare inner tube, have a bike map, have a friend you can call if you get stranded (very few rides will leave the cell service area, and those that do are generally described as fairly long rides), and have some substantial snacks and water. Make friends on the ride so that even if you don’t have what you need – you now know someone who might let you borrow their phone or share their snack or patch kit.
2) Be aware of your situation
Both on and off the bike, be aware of your environment. We are traffic, but we are mortal, so watch out for anyone operating a vehicle erratically and be defensive about not getting creamed or even bumping someone else – on a bike or in a car! Having a dance party on the springwater? Cool! Just be aware of nearby residents and of wandering off by yourself to pass out or even make out – safety first (or third – but think about it as you go!)
3) Look out for each other
This one is a bit less obvious than the other two, but as a community of bike funnists, we have to take care of each other. Specifically, be on the lookout for folks who seem so intoxicated that they won’t be able to ride safely home, and try to help them figure out a remedy – be that getting them a ride buddy or an Uber. On a similar note, CONSENT IS SEXY. This goes for sexual stuff of course – be the person you want to wake up and see in the mirror tomorrow – but also goes for peer pressure and intoxication – if your new friend doesn’t want to drink another beer or take another toke, don’t shame them into it. We don’t need to make any more depressing statistics or have someone’s life get fucked up. Check out these resources on consent that I hope you’ll read – it’ll take 2 minutes and you’ll be an awesomer person for reading them and helping others who haven’t read them keep them in mind even when drunk.
Have fun out there Portland! I’ll miss the first few days (headed to Montréal tomorrow!) but I can’t wait to join you in the streets when I get back.
This post is by columnist Taz Loomans.
Not long ago, I thought more bike lanes would save the world. In fact, my passion for a better environment for bicyclists and pedestrians was one of the reasons I moved to Portland.
Since then I’ve become disillusioned with the bike advocacy movement, largely because of its lack of racial and ethnic diversity.
According to the recent CNN article by comedian/activist W. Kamau Bell, called Gentrifying Portland: A tale of two cities, “Portland is 76 percent white. That’s a lot, for two reasons. 1) According to the 2010 census, the United States is 72% white, so Portland is whiter than America. 2) Portland is considered a major city. And we don’t associate major cities with whiteness,” he says.
These days, many people know Clarence Eckerson as the guy behind Streetfilms, the beautifully produced series of web videos about livable streets and transportation reform.
But back in 2005, he was honing those skills as the creator of BikeTV, a local cable show in New York City — and he happened to stop in Portland for the Multnomah County Bike Fair that closed the fourth annual Pedalpalooza festival. Eckerson wrote us today to mention that he was recently uploading some old DVDs, came across the footage below and thought we’d enjoy it.
The recent deaths of rock titans David Bowie and Prince have had a unique impact on Portland because of the beloved tradition of the Bowie Vs Prince ride. The woman who created the ride, Lillian Karabaic, sent us a few last-minute reminders before it rolls for the last time this Saturday (6/11) at 7:00 pm.
For the 9th and final time, Bowie Vs Prince will ride tomorrow through the streets of Portland. For some folks, they’ve never missed this ride, and for others, it will be their first time. Below are a few things to keep in mind before you roll out on Saturday night…
1. Best things to Bring for Dancing in The Streets
Bring snacks, water, lights, a bike lock, your ID and your dancing shoes. If you can, bring a candle for a memorial. If you usually hit bed early, I’d recommend a disco nap in the evening, as this ride will go late.
Tonight’s Pedalpalooza Kickoff Ride was the largest in recent memory with hundreds of people (a thousand?) turning out to celebrate the upcoming month of rides, fun and new friends.
It’s almost here. The largest bike event of its kind on planet Earth is about to start.
Each summer, fans of two brilliant, proudly weird performers meet in two different Portland spots and then join up to form a huge, glamorous rolling jam with costumes and thumping dance beats.
Not unlike with the late, great David Bowie himself, the success of the annual Bowie Vs Prince ride took even its creator by surprise. It turned out that, just as the English-speaking world had spent the 1960s secretly getting ready to be blown away by Ziggy Stardust, the Portland of the 2000s had been secretly getting ready to go nuts for this particular bike ride.