Friday, January 1, 2010

New Years Ride

The New Year started out with a classic Northwest sucker hole. It was sunny when I opened the window blinds, just the perfect ruse to lure me outside. Soon the skies had turned gray and I heard the patter of rain on the skylights. I was lucky as the worst had fallen before I departed for a New Years Ride sponsored by the Bicycle Transportation Alliance (BTA).

Nearly 70 cyclyists gathered under the west side of the Morrison Bridge for this leisurely 14 mile ride. The BTA puts this ride on annually to highlight some of the improvements made to bicycle infrastructure during the past year. We paused to note the disappearance of an unnecessary Stop Sign near OMSI. In the Sellwood area we cruised along SE Spokane street, the newest Bicycle Boulevard with its 'channelizing islands'. We also crossed the Sellwood Bridge and our guide explained the issues regarding the replacement of that bridge.

But there was much more to see than infrastructure for we also got a taste of Portland bike culture. We stopped at the Zoobomber Pyle, a sculpture that also serves as bike storage for those who blaze down the West Hills on kiddie bikes. And little did I expect that I would be carrying my trusty bike into a church sanctuary. Inside St. Stephens Episcopal Church we learned about their shrine to Madonna del Ghisallo, the patron saint of bicyclists. Our trip ended at the PSU Bicycle Cooperative, were we warmed up on cookies and hot drinks.

As I biked home I could not how empty the streets were. It must have been a combination of the New Years Holiday, rainy weather, and the Rose Bowl game. My rain gear may have been soaked, but I was warm and happy to be out and about. posted an article on the ride that included some photos. You can get there by this link.

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