Massive Kickoff Ride launches month-long Pedalpalooza

(Photos: Jonathan Maus)

Last night’s Pedalpalooza Kickoff Ride was everything we could have hoped for: Perfect weather, an intriguing route, and a massive turnout that set this year’s month-long fun fest on a course for limitless adventure and romance.

The throngs of riders of all shapes, sizes, ages and colors stretched for many blocks as ride leaders wound us from southeast to north Portland via the Hollywood neighborhood.

At the meet-up spot (Sewallcrest Park), friends hugged and gathered, snapping selfies in their new Pedalpalooza shirts and holding hand-screened event pennants that were on sale as a fundraiser for $10. And yes, there were all types of interesting outfits and bikes. Eric Ivy showed up with his latest creation: a bike with a 12-pack hanging just in front of the handlebars by way of bent bamboo, giving him motivation to keep pedaling. There were tall bikes, small bikes, and boom-box bikes outfitted with enough wattage to signal entire neighborhoods of our presence.

Here’s a gallery of the bike parade:

And the people who made it so fun and interesting:

A highlight was the unexpected stop in Coe Circle at NE Glisan and Calle Cesar Chavez. Just after rush-hour, the many hundreds of riders took over the large traffic circle. People swung double-dutch ropes for willing trios of jumping strangers while others used the opportunity to grab a drink and meet with friends.

Spontaneous double-dutch in Coe Circle.

Everyone was smiling (except for a few people in cars who weren’t excited about being stuck behind the line of riders for several minutes). And the smiles belonged to an absolutely inspiring variety of people. It’s truly amazing how a free and welcoming bike ride through our city can attract so many people from so many different backgrounds.

The tone has been set. The next 30 days will be wild and fun and wonderful. Check out the calendar and we’ll see you in the streets!

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and

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