20,000 pedal across Portland's bridges

20,000 pedal across Portland's bridges

Credit: KGW.com

20,000 pedal across Portland's bridges


by By RANDY NEVES, for Kgw.com


Posted on August 15, 2009 at 1:36 PM

Updated Thursday, Sep 24 at 2:15 PM

PORTLAND, Ore. -- Around 20,000 cyclists took over Portland's bridges Sunday morning. By most accounts, it was Providence Bridge Pedal's biggest, most seamless event ever.

For half a day once a year the city's bridges belong to bikes.

"My favorite part is going down this last big hill here," said young cyclist Kaylee Gisby.

The Providence Bridge Pedal gives riders rare, unimpeded access to almost all of the rider's personal favorites.

"The Fremont because it's the steepest," said one boy.

"Probably the Marquam Bridge," countered the girl next to him.

For some, it's simply a joy ride, for Gregg Lavender, it's a political platform.

"There's definitely cheaper alternatives than the proposed Columbia River Crossing," he said, towing a protest banner.

For auto drivers, detours are the annual tradition. On-ramp closures and confusion set in mid-morning in Southwest Portland.

"It'd be nice if they had some signage, huh?" said one driver, pulling over to ask an Oregon Department of Transportation worker for directions.

"But, you know, it's a day for bikes," explained Mike Alberts. He and his family are Bridge Pedal veterans. The kids look forward to it every year except for that one part.

"I had to get up early," said Jacob. "It's really fun. You feel like you rule the streets."

Portland Mayor Sam Adams oversees the city's Transportation Bureau. Given the enormous multi-governmental task of organizing such a huge crowd with Providence Hospital, it's important to him to limit bikes bottlenecks and knee scrapes.

"I've been asking people as they ride by how it's been and they say that this is the smoothest most well-run yet," said Adams.

"It was just great. Everybody was in good spirits. It's just so well organized," said mom Shelley Gisby.

By noon, authorities had moved everyone off the bridges.

It was a chance for a few last photo ops before bikes take over bridges again a year from now.

Cooperative weather helped keep medical calls to a minimum Sunday. Aside from some scraped-up knees and elbows, there were no serious injuries to report.