Farewell Pedalpalooza 2009

After a week of work, work, work and no time to join any Pedapalooza rides, I got to end the two-and-a-half weeks of bikey fun with a bang. First I went on the XTREME SOPO with Heather Andrews in the morning, and then the kids and I checked out the Multnomah County Bike Fair in the afternoon. Two different experiences.

I was lured to my morning ride by its announcement on the Shift calendar:

“Contrary to popular belief, you won’t fall off the edge of the world if you bike past SE 52nd and Powell. Join a real live native of XTREME SOPO on a tour of her neighborhood! You’ll gasp when you see the army of big-ass pickup trucks! Your spine will tingle to behold the church that looks like a bowling alley! Women will faint at the lack of sidewalks! Folks, this ride is XTREME… you can bring the whole saddle of your bike, BUT YOU’LL ONLY NEED THE EDGE!!!!”

Engaging the anthropological tools I’d recently acquired from my trip back to school, I quickly assessed that I should go dressed as one of the natives to truly embrace the experience.

I'm (almost) gangtsaVegan

I'm (almost) gangtsaVegan

As the mile markers to Milwaukie ticked closer and closer, it became obvious that to truly embrace the experience, all one needed was a pickup truck. Being on a bike, I was as out of place as a vibrator in church, and those truckers kept letting me know with their stomach-quaking revving of their engines and passing me with three inches to spare. THANKS RECENTLY ACQUIRED ANTHROPOLOGICAL SKILLS!

But safety comes in numbers, and catching up with others from my ride gave me the freedom to peruse the unkempt neighborhoods of these vast car clans without fear of harm. Even crossing 82nd, the Avenue of Roses, (twice!) was breezey compared to my attempts at crossing Powell on my own. Many people on bikes – it’s why I’m loving Pedalpalooza.

Abandoned shopping carts are re-purposed as convenient banana bread holders in XTREME SOPO.

Abandoned shopping carts are re-purposed as convenient banana bread holders in XTREME SOPO.

I also love the ride leaders. Each unique in his/her own way, but always attentive to showing their “followers” a good time. Not only was Heather full of local knowledge, she was fluent in the local language – Clakimitacky – and was able to keep the crowds of gaukers at bay. She also she baked us banana bread and we ended the ride with her homemade ice cream at the park (including a vegan version).

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Kelly Elementary Community SUN School, part of "Kelly Grow" - a partnership with the CCC, BTA, Growing Gardens, and Community Health Partnerships.

Kelly Elementary Community SUN School, part of "Kelly Grow" - a partnership with the CCC, BTA, Growing Gardens, and Community Health Partnerships.

The bridge to nowhere, just off the Springwater Trail

The bridge to nowhere, just off the Springwater Trail

The edge! Sidewalks and sewers are cursed south of the Portland line

The edge! Sidewalks and sewers are cursed south of the Portland line

They also welcome you to lounge on their lush patio furniture.

The abundance of lush patio furniture scattered throughout the territory provide a welcome respite from the grueling hours spent on the asphalt.

For a completely different Pedalpalooza experience, the kids and I ventured into inner southeast Portland for the Multnomah County Bike Fair. It may have been that I was overheated, it may have been that tracking three kids in any crowd under any circumstance is always a chore, or it may have been watching a young bohemian crack his melon open on the asphalt that made MCBF the least enjoyable event of Pedalpalooza (okay, it was watching someone lose concious that did it).

We made it to the show at the start of “chicken jousting,” where contestants on a mini bike, with someone on their shoulders, face off against an equally crazy pair… with lances. Sounds like “fun,” and like ancient Romans in the Coliseum, I watched with drool dripping from my mouth, Pavlovian style.  The dude on the left didn’t wear a helmet, and we left after that.

Ouch

Ouch

EMT to victim... "So let me get this straight - you were on someone's shoulders, who was on a bike, and you weren't wearing a helmet?"

EMT to victim... "So let me get this straight - you were on someone's shoulders, who was on a bike, and you weren't wearing a helmet?"

Actually, we didn’t leave right away. MCBF redeemed itself (a bit) as we stayed to watch the always lovely “Sprokettes,” and also ran into Tre Arrow (the second time in 48 hours) and Clinty (the second time in a week – a record for us). Look for Clinty in the background of all the Sprokette picts.

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Tre Arrow

Tre Arrow

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