This morning we got up at 5am and headed down to the Fremont Bridge for the start of the 2014 Providence Bridge Pedal. This is a super fun ride (we've done it once before, on the tandem). There are several options for this ride. There's a 10 bridge option (33 miles), an 8 bridge option (24 miles), a 6 bridge option (13 miles), a kids pedal (3 miles over two bridges), and "Stride" which is a 5.5 mile walk over two bridges).
There's also the Fremont Express option, which is 36 miles, does 10 bridges, but gets to start just after sunrise from the middle of the Fremont Bridge. This is pretty cool because the Fremont Bridge is normally closed to pedestrians and cyclists -- only cars allowed. So having a half an hour or so up at the top of the bridge was really neat!
They had water stations and a bunch of food laid out on tables for the riders (bananas, donuts, bagels, etc.), along with a string ensemble playing music for us as we waited for the start time (6:45am).
And we're off:
It's super fun to ride through the city on bikes with the freewyas and bridges all (or mostly) to yourselves.
We met a family who said they do this ride every year together and have done the last 10 in a row. There are friends, couples on tandems, parents with kids on tandem trailer-cycles, kids in Burley trailers, dogs in baskets...as well as quite a few of the "serious cyclists wearing logo jerseys" Geico!!!!! (Okay so what about the jerseys that have written on the back: www.cyclingjerseysdirect.com? That's it. The name of the online store where you buy this logo cycling jersey? I don't get the whole logo jersey thing for regular people who aren't sponsored. I don't. I'll admit it. But the logo for the store where you got it? It's one level removed from Nike, even. Weird.)
Anyway. This is a very well-managed ride. There are several different routes, several starting times and places, with routes merging and peeling off from each other like diagrams of DNA strands, and there are so many helpful volunteers and policemen working the traffic and the cyclists...it's pretty fantastic how smooth it flows.
At the start of the ride, the administrators reminded everyone (several times) to remember, "It's a ride, not a race." For some people though, those are just words. There are "those guys" in every ride like this (all levels, all ages), who just can't help themselves.
At one point when it got a little congested downtown and cycling traffic slowed, two guys in red jerseys (matching) came up on the left and I heard one say "Really? REALLY??" as if he couldn't believe there was congestion during a ride with OVER 10,000 RIDERS. Then his red jersey twin yelled out "On your LEFT PEOPLE! On your LEFT!" What a dick.
Beautiful morning view of downtown from the Marquam Bridge:
View from the Sellwood Bridge (back toward downtown, far in the distance):
On the Hawthorne Bridge:
View of the Marquam Bridge from the Hawthorne Bridge:
Riders on the Hawthorne Bridge:
Next up: the Ross Island Bridge, then the Marquam Bridge (again!), and then Burnside. The new (not yet finished) Tilikum Crossing, taken from the Burnside Bridge:
(Next year's bridge pedal will get to ride across the Tilikum Crossing before it's open to the public.)
Steel Bridge from the Burnside Bridge:
Burnside Bridge heading west:
After the Burnside Bridge, we crossed the Broadway Bridge, then the Fremont Bridge again, and headed out Highway 30 to conquer the St. Johns Bridge:
View back toward downtown from the St. Johns Bridge:
Details, looking down:
The finish line was after the Steel Bridge, down at the Portland waterfront:
The Bite of Oregon is going on down at the waterfront this weekend (see below, food booths, music), and though we did get free admission tickets with our ride registration, we opted to ride back to our car (a few miles away at the base of the Fremont Bridge) and go home for a bite instead (crossing the Morrison Bridge on the way, since it was the only one we didn't do as part of our official ride).
Oh yeah, here's our route:
Ten bridges (two of them crossed twice!), 42.9 miles. Finished and home by noon. Nap time!