Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Remembering the Providence Bridge Pedal Ride

Cleaning out the garage has to be among my most un-favorite tasks to think about doing, but it's actually not that bad once I get started. It helps to have the cyclist's attitude: extra stuff just slows you down; if you don't need it, don't carry it around. It feels really great to get rid of stuff that's accumulating and get some space back in the garage. Of course, Mrs. C would question why, then, I am holding onto so much cycling stuff. That's different, of course, but she seems to understand a point.

Anyway, I was running across some things I've kept from some memorable rides. I picked up (and kept, of course) the riding bibs we were given for the Providence Bridge Pedal earlier this year. It was the only "organized" ride I did in 2008, and it was pretty unique. My son and I rode with "Mocha Boy," a friend/colleague of mine. We joined 17,000 people for thirty miles of car-free riding across all the Willamette River bridges in Portland. It's a fairly significant fundraiser event for the Providence Hospital. Pretty trippy to be on the top deck of the Marquam Bridge and actually having time to stop and look at the view. The Fremont Bridge is even bigger when you're riding it on a bike.

I would not recommend this ride if you don't like crowds, or if you are impatient with folks who are novices to the mores of group cycling. Unless you are among the very front edge of the group, you're going to spend the entire ride trying to get around the slow folks in front of you, and thinking of naughty words when people cut you off. So why would you want to ride it? Exactly for the experience of doing it with that many other people. It's a great lesson in community. That, I think, is what bridges are for, right?

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