Portland Pedalpalooza 2015: Five Fun Rides Around Town

Portland's Sprockettes are an all-female mini-bike dance troupe that takes part in Pedalpalooza each year.
Portland's Sprockettes are an all-female mini-bike dance troupe that takes part in Pedalpalooza each year. Gabriel Amadeus
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Sure, everyone knows about the World Naked Bike Ride, in which thousands of Portlanders get together, strip down, and (legally!) ride through the city. But as big (and infamous) as it may be, the WNBR is merely one of hundreds of events that make up Pedalpalooza, Portland’s annual festival that celebrates and promotes cycling culture.

Pedalpalooza, which kicked off on June 4, is a grassroots festival in every sense of the word: All of the rides and events over the course of nearly a month are submitted by regular cyclists, and anyone is free to create their own event. Themes are varied enough to attract cyclists of all interests: One pays tribute to Morrissey, another visits urban goat farms in the Portland area, and yet another encourages riders to dress up as superheroes.

That DIY ethos is at the heart of what makes Pedalpalooza such a special event, says Chris McCraw, a self-described “community builder and joy facilitator” with Shift, the festival’s sponsoring organization. “Anyone can lead a ride, and anyone can attend one,” he says. “There are a few dozen faithful rides that have gone on for years, but over 90 percent are new ideas and new people making them happen.”

Interested in joining one of the slew of rides remaining during Portland Pedalpalooza 2015? Tag along on one of these six fun rides, find another that looks fun, or get into the spirit and create your own.

Sweat for Sweets III, June 20

The only thing better than biking is the sweet treat that awaits at the end of a long ride. The Sweat for Sweets III Ride takes that one step further by incorporating sugary treats into the ride itself. The ride, taking place at 11:30 am June 20, goes through north and northeast Portland, with stops at a handful of sweet shops along the way, including a small-batch chocolate factory.

Little Lebowski Urban Achievers Ride, June 20

Toast to the Little Lebowskis ride with (what else?) a white Russian.
Toast to the Little Lebowskis ride with (what else?) a white Russian. Ivo Posthumus

Fans of "The Dude" (which is to say: pretty much everyone) are invited to join the Little Lebowski Urban Achievers Ride , which takes place at 7 pm June 20. Riders are encouraged to wear their favorite robe along the route, which includes stops at parks throughout the city for re-enactments of 6-8 memorable scenes from cult classic flick The Big Lebowski . The event ends at—where else?—Grand Central Restaurant and Bowling Lounge, which will naturally offer discounts on White Russians.

Goth Ride, June 21

For a creepy contrast to the usual sunny, summery themes that float around on the summer solstice, check out a Goth Ride that invites “all lovers of dark things, all children of the night … everyone wicked or wishful in equal measure.” Riders are encouraged to wear Goth-centric garb, and the point-to-point ride, which starts at 6 pm, promises plenty of stops at places like graveyards and a leisurely pace (undead types surely can’t pedal too quickly, after all).

(And, if you’re looking to add another measure of macabre to your solstice, there’s a Dead Body Disposal Ride that starts at 10 am in Peninsula Park Rose Garden.)

Unicycles for Noobs, June 25

The Unipiper, who plays bagpipes while riding a unicycle (and occasionally wearing a Darth Vader mask), is a mainstay at events throughout Portland.
The Unipiper, who plays bagpipes while riding a unicycle (and occasionally wearing a Darth Vader mask), is a mainstay at events throughout Portland. McD22

Calling all uni-curious riders, this irreverent roll through the city will mark its Nth (no, that's not a typo) annual event at Pedalpalooza, complete with curious characters like the Unipiper, who makes appearances at events all over the city. Grab one of the “plethora” of unicycles provided and get (no?) hands-on tips from experienced unicyclists from sponsoring organization The Unicycle Bastards, but you’re on your own for gloves, pads, and a helmet. Organizers tout it as a family-friendly event, so curb the swearing if you’re having trouble getting the hang of it.

Sprockettes Ride, June 27

Bust out the hot pink and black to celebrate the end of Pedalpalooza in style, as well the 11 th anniversary of the Sprockettes, a bicycle dance troupe. This spirited ride starts at 1:30 pm and wraps up with a performance by the Sprockettes. Join in the fun with the face paint, glitter, and games on offer.

 

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