By Riley O’Boyle – CNA Media Team
Riding bare as you dare in a sea of other naked bike riders happens once every June during Pedalpalooza. The World Naked Bike Ride highlights the importance and vulnerability of people on bikes in the U.S. oil-centric culture.
The June 24 event – which begins this year at Fernhill Park –is also the biggest event of more than 230 free organized bike rides held during Portland’s month-long Pedalpalooza, an annual family-friendly celebration of bicycle delight.
In fact, the Concordia neighborhood is featured in a June 18 ride led by neighborhood residents Kirk Paulsen and Erinne Goodell, exploring the back alleys of northeast Portland.
“Something important to know going into Pedalpalooza, is that you’ll likely rest as much as you ride.” Kirk explained. “Many rides operate on ‘bike time,’ where the rides don’t usually start until 15 minutes or more after the scheduled time of departure.”
“Of course there are rides led by local bike shops and organizations that operate strictly on schedule,” Erinne added. “But generally, there’s as much socializing as bicycling to be found.”
Like the rides planned by Erinne and Kirk, all of Pedalpalooza’s themed rides are organized by individuals throughout the Portland and Vancouver metro areas. Find the schedule on Pedalpalooza.org.
There are fast rides and slow rides, costumed rides, and rides that involve plenty of noise and bright lights. Some show off specialized bikes, like folding or cargo bikes, and others dare people to get lost in the city at midnight.
Some teach how to maintain bikes, or to advocate for safer streets. BikeLoudPDX, a local grassroots advocacy group, leads advocacy and protest rides, like demonstrating against widening I-5 near the Rose Quarter.
Pedalpalooza started in 2003 as an offshoot of Bike Summer, during which Portland adopted its own version of the World Naked Bike Ride. Both were organized, international events similar to Critical Mass, in which people on bikes rode together through city streets to bring attention to the need for safe bicycle lanes and parking, and to celebrate the joy of biking.
Pedalpalooza is now facilitated by shift, a grassroots, volunteer-led, bikefun community formed during Bike Summer. Members strive to demonstrate the value of bicycling through activities that are fun, free, inclusive and, in this case, great for kicking off summer.
Riley, certified EIT, works in land development and site engineering, and can be reached at RSOboyle13@gmail.com