Pedalpalooza is that special time of year when cyclists put aside their differences and unite into one massive, throbbing, costumed community of fun.
For me, it's a mash up urban riding endurance and staying out late endurance. It's hard to believe that Pedalpalooza 2014 is just a week old, it feels like a month.
In a nutshell, Pedalpalooza is kind of kicking my ass. So, I'm writing my Pedalpalooza report in parts. This is part one, and may be the last entry, who knows.
The Pop Til You Puke ride is an 80s dance party themed ride complete with a mobile sound system in a trailer, which are commonplace in Portland in June. We tooled around the new and very confusing cycle tracks on the south west waterfront under the tram. Pop Til You Puke ended at the start of another ride, which is always a classy move.
The Super Hero ride was an exhilarating tour of south east Portland, with surprise super villains attempting to thwart the heros. Pictured above is the mysterious Bananarama, who delights in planting banana peels on the pavement.
I made it just in time to my Single Speed / Fixed Gear Friendly ride, grateful I had scheduled it for two in the afternoon. Twenty riders awaited me, we swigged a free beer, I turned on my loaner mobile sound system, and we were off. Only one rider sported a derailleur, but he assured me he wouldn't shift.
My ride ended at the start of the Hott Sock ride, which was the most crowded ride I'd been on so far. Around eighty riders showing off their crazy socks rode to Sock Dreams in Sellwood for funky lawn games, snacks and prizes. Then, to Sock It To Me for more of the same. The generosity of these businesses was appreciated by all. I left with 6 pairs of cool socks.
Alleys of the North and Northeast had us riding thirteen miles through wildly fun, unimproved and usually unpaved alley ways. It's one thing to do this sort of urban off road exploration on your own, but try herding through these skinny spaces with over a hundred other riders. I foolishly chose to ride my single speed with skinny tires, but it worked out ok.
The SE Ponds Tour is a perennial favorite. Around thirty riders rode around and looked at water ways, water falls, rivers, creeks and ponds near Sellwood. We stopped at a lemonade stand and learned the kids' dad had coached them to set up for Pedalpalooza. Talk about boosting the local economy.
Had to peel off early to make it to Grilled By Bike in time. Around two hundred riders converged on Ladd's Circle, everyone with plenty of food to grill and share. Three bikes had grills set up and grill space was at a premium. When we left to ride to Laurelhurst Park, the grills stayed hot and the food kept cooking - while we rode! Later, after dark, with a smaller crowd of around forty rode to Oaks Bottom. On the way, embers could be seen flying off one of the front-mounted grills, it's pilot standing atop the top tube to save his leg hair from burning. Maybe this is why cyclists shave their legs.