June is a magical time of year in Portland, Oregon, where cyclists own the streets, and can be found roaming them in packs. June is Pedalpalooza. Bike fun abounds. Anyone can organize any sort of ride and put it on the calendar. Rides range from unicorn-themed to rolling foosball to casual centuries to protest rides - you name it!Northback ended, so I had to get all of my ducks in a neat little row before leaving for that trip. It was a good chance to practice my social media pre-publishing skills, creating hype and setting expectations for the ride.
Right off, there were concerns about my route being 15 miles long. I made it clear to all that there were three rides, and three distances, and three park stops, and three chances to create your own adventure. The first, "child friendly" would take us seven miles to Normandale Park. The second, "teenager ride" took us three additional miles to Wilshire Park. Finally, the "grown up portion" took us to Overlook Park.
I added a tall bike detour, in part because I wanted to give the complainers something obvious to complain about (which worked well), and in part because I wanted to take riders over the cool curly-cue pedestrian overpass that the French Toast ride used to frequent.
Another highlight was seeing five (!) of the nine Northback riders, one of whom I hadn't seen since the fateful day two. Yet another highlight was how smoothly the evening went, the lack of crashes requiring ambulance intervention, and how so many riders came to me to say thank you. My very favorite part was being accompanied by new friend Sole, leader of the Corvidae bike club, and having her in radio contact with the rear guard to ensure all went well.
There's no photo evidence, but I joined the Rocky Butte Sunset Dance Party ride, and that was pretty fun. One of the best parts is the "race to the top" and I enjoyed going fast up the little hill that is Rocky Butte. The dance party was fun, too, although I'll admit I really missed the disco ball.
The next Pedalpalooza ride I attended was the Wonder Women ride, which was led by a lady from my bikey networking group: the Portland Society. Riders dressed as Wonder Women, and there were lots of different versions and interpretations of what that meant. I wore bike shorts and a red jersey, silver shoes and golden arm gauntlets. I started out with a black tutu as well, but had to ditch it due to leg chafe. We rode to several parks, and splashed about in fountains. At our last park stop, we enjoyed a water balloon tussle.
My eighth annual Swim Across Portland went swimmingly. Nine riders came, which was a huge relief. I had worried we'd have a giant number, more giant than the pool lines can accommodate quickly. A rider from previous years sent me a laundry list of complaints about the ride including that it was too fast and that climbing the biggest hill in Portland wasn't fun. Considering I'd be climbing up to Silver Falls during a century ride the day before, my sympathy ran shallow.
It's always a surprise when people invited to a bike ride complain that there's an actual bike ride involved. Realizing I'd better be very clear in setting expectations, I sent a long list of warnings to potential pedalpalooza riders with items like "sorry we go so fast (10 mph), sorry it's a drop ride (maps provided), sorry there's a 500' hill". I then invited my personal friends with a completely different warning list "sorry we'll ride so slow (remember it's a social ride), sorry it's such a short ride, sorry it's almost completely flat". Different strokes for different folks!
Popina Swimwear generously hosted an after party for us, with free beer and a discount on fancy swim suits. One of the riders asked if I was miffed that there was another swim ride on the Pedalpalooza calendar. I was the opposite of miffed and excited to hear of it, and we took off to join the Dock O'Clock ride, which took us to three Willamette River swim spots and a beach bonfire party. All in all, I rode 45 miles that day and went swimming 6 times! I'm kind of starting to feel ready for my triathlon.
And, so, that was my Pedalpalooza for 2018. I didn't attend many rides, because I was off in the valley riding fred centuries a few of the weekends. And, now, to Afterpalooza!