|A view from the Fremont Bridge|
|Root Beer and funky music on the top deck of the Marquam|
Mrs. C and I joined the throngs at today’s Providence Bridge Pedal 2011 in Portland. With over 18,000 other riders, let’s just say this was not one of those rides you take out in the countryside to find a little solitude.
This was a big PARTY on Portland’s bridges!
This year’s ride felt much more crowded; it was slow going much of the time. I think it had something to do with the route we had to take. There were times when we were stuck in crowds at a standstill waiting for our turn to proceed. It was more than a minor annoyance. Still, I’m reluctant to be critical of the route planners because they have to work around a constantly changing set of factors. It’s no small thing to put on an event that actually closes down interstates, city streets, and most of the bridges in town for an entire morning. Better to think of this as a leisurely bike ride with 18,000 friends.
People who wanted to ride above 15 mph were frustrated and created their own impromptu “lanes” outside of the established cones and markers. That’s really aggravating to those of us who are trying to be respectful to motorists and pedestrians. And it’s disrespectful to the ride organizers, I think. They’re the ones who made the agreements with city officials to make this ride possible. We all own our reputation together. Sharing the road is--pun intended--a “two-way street.” Besides, this is a community event, not a race.
Mrs. C and some close friends of ours were doing the Bridge Pedal for the first time today. Riding on them for the first time, especially the Marquam and Fremont, they were amazed at the scale of these massive structures. We don’t fully get that appreciation while inside a car going 50 or 60 mph.
Toward the end of the ride, I connected with my longtime friend and colleague, Scott W. That’s another great thing about the slow, friendly pace of this ride. You actually have time to find some familiar faces and strike up a conversation.
On a bridge.
With no cars.