While the staffs of Bicycling magazine and The New York Times continue to sacrifice their station wagons in praise of the bicycling haven that is our city, the Portland Bureau of Transportation is looking south—to Bogotá, Colombia, where 70 miles of streets are closed to car traffic every Sunday and on national holidays. Last June, Portland debuted its own car-free weekend: Sunday Parkways, for which six miles in North Portland were opened up to cyclists, walkers, runners, bladers, rollers, performers and anyone or thing without an engine for one day. An estimated crowd of 15,000 came out to enjoy the sun and quiet.
This summer, Sunday Parkways is expanding. Three routes are planned: June 21 is in North Portland, with a 7.5-mile route hitting Kenton, Arbor Lodge and Peninsula parks; July 19 moves to Northeast, with a 6.6-mile loop encompassing Alberta, Fernhill and Wilshire parks; and Aug. 16's Southeast route is a double loop, with one "relatively flat" 5-mile course through Buckman, Sunnyside and Laurelhurst and another "more challenging" 4-mile loop up Mount Tabor.
Plans for Southwest and outer east Portland routes are a possibility for Sunday Parkways, according to program manager Linda Ginenthal. "There are many bike facilities in place [in these areas], i.e., bike lanes, but not a lot of family-friendly opportunities," Ginenthal says. "If [Sunday Parkways] continues to grow, we'll look at these communities which are underserved."
The number of participants in last year's event and feedback from other cities bodes well for growth. Ginenthal cited Baltimore, Cleveland and Eugene among the cities interested in using the Portland model to create their own car-free programs. If Sunday Parkways continues to grow at this exponential rate, Portland may soon be the first American city to give Bogotá a run—or walk or ride—for its money.
See portlandonline.com/transportation for route maps and volunteer information.
June 11-27: Pedalpalooza
The month of June explodes with the eighth annual Pedalpalooza bicycle bonanza, a loosely organized conglomeration of two-wheeled shenanigans under the umbrella of bicycling-promotion association SHIFT. The first (and only) rule of Pedalpalooza is that events must involve some sort of cycle. Pedalpalooza events listed here are marked with a [P]. Most events are free. See shift2bikes.org/pedalpalooza for details and calendar.
June 13: Cirque du Cycling (P)
A family ride, parade and bike race are all included in this daylong bicycle street fair, which champions creative and cheeky bike riding. North Mississippi Avenue between Shaver and Fremont streets. 1-8 pm Saturday. Parade and family ride are free; race $25 in advance, $30 day of. Register for all three events at cyclingcircus.com.
June 20: 3rd Annual Stumptown Joustdown (P)
Bring your tandems, unicycles, tricycles or any normal old bikes and battle for the Bike Jousting Champion title. Fun probable, carnage guaranteed. Col. Summers Park, Southeast 20th Avenue and Belmont Street. 2:30 pm Saturday. Free.
June 21: Zoobomb Century (P)
Billed as a "stoopider Tour de France," Zoobomb Century takes the tiny kid-bike tradition of the Zoobombers and blows it up into 100 miles' worth of downhill mayhem (and uphill, and downhill, and uphill, and downhill…). Washington Park, 4100 SW Canyon Road, 10 am-10 pm Sunday. Free.
June 24: Portland Biker Symphony (P)
Classical Revolution PDX proves that playing, listening and loving classical music is as cool and fun as anything else you could do on a sunny day on a bike. A "just-for-bikes" composition will be performed; bring your choice of instrument. South Park Blocks, Southwest Park Avenue and College Street. 4 pm Wednesday. Free.
June 27: Multnomah County Bike Fair (P)
The program says, "MCBF is the catastrophic culmination of two-plus weeks of Pedalpalooza bike fun." We can't put it any better than that. Col. Summers Park, Southeast 20th Avenue and Belmont Street. 2 pm Saturday. Free.
July 11: The Night Ride
The Bicycle Transportation Alliance's annual evening ride covers a 15-mile course of nighttime Portland revels. Pit stops include a special Filmed by Bike fest screening, a disco party and a doughnut feast. Union Station, 800 NW 6th Ave. 8 pm Saturday. $30 in advance, $40 day of. Register at thenightride.com by July 9.
Aug. 9: Providence Bridge Pedal
See how you feel about Portland's ubiquitous and (sometimes) aesthetic number of bridges after you've biked over each and every one. Those not up to the 37-mile, 11-bridge course may opt for the eight- or six-bridge rides (24 and 14 miles, respectively). 11-bridge: Kerby Avenue ramp to the Fremont Bridge. 7 am Sunday. $35 in advance, $45 day of. Eight-bridge: Southwest Naito Parkway at Salmon Street, southbound. 7 am Sunday. $25 in advance, $35 day of. Six-bridge: Southwest Naito Parkway at Salmon Street, southbound. 8:30 am Sunday. $20 in advance, $35 day of. Register at providence.org/bridgepedal by Aug. 8.
Aug. 16: Portland Century
Last year, Portland Century's 1,700 participants allegedly ate 2,000 pounds of watermelon. Whether you choose to take the 100-mile full-century course, the 50-mile half-century or the 25-mile quarter-century, you too can eat over a pound of melon while biking. And don't forget the salmon dinner at the end of the course. Portland State University, Smith Hall, 1825 SW Broadway. Times vary depending on race. $60 advance, $70-$80 day of. Register at portlandcentury.com by Aug. 13.