If you haven’t seen the city from anything other than a car going 55 MPH (or perhaps slower in traffic grumble grumble) on the top deck of the Fremont or Marquam Bridges, you really, really want to. Once a year you and your little cyclists can ride your wheels across all ten bridges that span the Willamette. The morning is Sunday, August 11 this year and the cause is the Providence Bridge Pedal.
When You Wanna Roll, You Roll
You can ride three to 36 miles and have hours to do it based on the course you choose. You can stop for breaks, photos, hydrating and getting your fruity snack on (courtesy of the event itself) and even high fiving a neighbor or two. You may have heard mumblings about this ride being too crowded, unsafe because of the diehards who go too fast and there not being enough rest stops and toilets. All of these concerns have been remedied!
Providence Bridge Pedal now limits the number of riders per loop. They have a 6:00am early start for the Fremont Express gang of turbo boosters to head out early and sprint their way through the course before the rest of us get rolling. More porta-potties and water and fruit are on hand as well. Stopping to rest is always an option and so is having a sublime day cruising our fab Bridgetown. Aw yeah.
Little Pedalers Have Mettle
For the little pedalers aged 10 and under, there is a separate Kids Pedal that loops the Hawthorne and Steel Bridges (also three miles) and requires free registration. The Eastbank Esplanade can only hold 1000 riders so sign up soon! And yes, us grown ups can ride along with ‘em. This ride starts at 10:00 am.
If you wanna keep your kidlets with you for a longer ride, they are free to ride along any of the courses. The next shortest is the 6 Bridge Loop that runs about 13 miles, and there are also 8 and 10 bridge loops. Start times are staggered based on ride length and all riders are done by about noon.
Say Yes to Rest (Areas) for the Weary
Along the route is a Health & Wellness expo at JELD-WEN Field, home of the Portland Timbers. There you will find food, live music and a chance to hydrate and catch a breath as needed. The Providence Sports Care Center will also be open to the public so bring the minis to check out how they rehab our favorite soccer champs!
And when the ride is over, cruise your cycle right on into the Bite of Oregon. Every Bridge Pedaler gets free admittance and bike valets will park your bike for ya. Giddyup! If you haven’t been to this annual event in Waterfront Park it is a delish way to sample fab foods from many, many, many of our local chefs, vintners, craft brewers and farms. It’s usually a gorgeous day so why not hang out on the river after a ride and enjoy the other thing we Portlanders love: food.
Don’t Spin Your Wheels: Things to Know
Registration is required for all adults and kiddos doing the Kids Pedal. Bike trailers and tandem bikes a-ok. If you’re not a cyclist there is a 5K walk for you and your baby-jogging stroller is welcome here. If you lose anybody in your party there is a designated meeting point at the finish line and stopping for photos is absolutely encouraged. Helmets are a must and pets are not welcome. Registering online is the easiest option but there are in-person days and times as well.
Watching the Wheels
If you want to double down on some riding time and get your junior rollers more comfortable for the ride, try one of these ideas for new riders. We’ve also got some thoughts on kiddo bike safety and tune ups as well! Who loves ya baby?
Providence Bridge Pedal organizers have worked crazy hard to make this year’s event not the same crowded cluster-y feeling Bridge Pedal it once was. Tell us below if you’ve done the ride and if you have any advice for pint-sized cyclists.
– Liz Overson
Thank you for the photos Providence Bridge Pedal and Bite of Oregon Facebook Pages!