Friday, July 20, 2012

Get Lost!

This is a belated post about an organized ride in which Andy and I participated during Portland's Pedalpalooza, a weeks-long event each June where local cycling enthusiasts plan fun bike rides with extremely diverse and wacky themes. Amongst rides to specific destinations, like breweries or a farmer's market, there are costumed rides (the Dr. Who ride!), rides for groups of people (the "ginger" redheads ride), and the most (in)famous, the Portland Naked Bike Ride. And no, I didn't ride in that one, so don't ask for pictures.
On one evening in June, Andy's parents were in town and offered to spend the evening with Alton, so Andy and I scoured the Pedalpalooza schedule to see if there was a ride we could join. We found one that appealed to us: the "Get Lost!" ride. After meeting at a Portland bike shop, the group of riders would roll a pair of fuzzy dice right in the street to determine where we would ride. The total on the dice indicated how many blocks the group would travel, and the even numbers took us left, while the odd numbers took us to the right. "Snake eyes" or double numbers meant we rode straight ahead.  Below, Andy waits with our Bromptons in front of the bike shop Velo Cult.  We took the Brommie folding bikes for this ride because we wanted to be able to easily take the Max light rail out to the meeting point and home in the evening.
The ride commenced: the group would gather together in one spot and wait for stragglers...

...then folks would take a turn to roll the green fuzzy dice (you can barely see them on the ground in this picture) and we'd tally up their total and start riding right or left, six blocks, or nine blocks, or four blocks, etc.
The group charges ahead down a quieter residential street. You can see on the far left that we had a couple of skateboarders join us for the fun!
Here I am on my Brommie, pedaling steadily.
Some of the ride took us on pretty busy streets. We clustered together and I felt reassured by the safety in numbers that cars would find us highly visible on the road and veer around us, even if they were slightly annoyed at having to alter their courses. Below, you can see a vehicle passing us, and the lead rider is a guy wearing blue bunny ears taped to his helmet and a Utilikilt.

Many drivers, however, would wave, smile, and toot their horns when they saw our eclectic mix of cyclists swarming through, because bikes are very much part of the culture here in Portland, and because most folks realize when Pedalpalooza kooky events are taking place.
Eventually, our rolls of the dice took us all the way out to the Portland airport on the extreme east side of town!
We went up and down some large hills that allowed us to take in beautiful views.
The ride was just scheduled to last a few hours, so when our time limit was up and we were just toodling around some neighborhood, our leader asked if everyone wanted to keep riding, or start heading back toward our starting point.  The group consensus was that we'd keep riding for a few more rolls of the dice or the nearest bar. Although we Portlanders love cycling, we love beer, too. The ride ended up at a jovial dive a few blocks later.
Andy and I said our goodbyes and treated ourselves to a dinner out in Portland since our little son was occupied with his grandparents. We had a great time, thought that the mix of people (in the picture above, you can see a "tall bike" on the far left--two bike frames stacked double decker) on this ride was really enthusiastic and welcoming, and we'd definitely do it again!

1 comment:

  1. Looks like a fun time was had by all! How unique!