I celebrated my 32 (or 2 to the 5th) birthday by taking part in the annual Portland Night Ride, a very goofy night time bike ride with 1,500 of my newest friends. I’m not particularly keen about riding my bike after dark, but we started around 9am with plenty of light and then gradually drifted into darkness. I thought my costume was pretty silly, but my favorite costumes were a crew of pirates who decorated their bicycles to look like ships, a banana, and the Three Musketeers.
The ride started at the train station, and then took us across the Broadway bridge into North Portland. I somehow managed to be in the first handful of riders out of the gate, which meant the first stretch was remarkably solitary. I had been counting on following the pirates, but it was not to be. We went up Interstate and onto Mississippi, and then smack into the Mississippi street fair. While waiting for my brother, we got to watch a fairly hilarious collision between the two events. But everyone was mostly pretty chill, and the bottleneck meant that we got to inspect the other riders and locate other favorites (low rider bicycle and bicycle with lanterns were great).
Once the brother was located, we plunged onwards, ringing our bells, hollering, and being offered beer. Out to Willamette Boulevard, we enjoyed some bagpipers and reckless bicycles as we entered darkness.
The bicycle short movies at a park near N. Carey were excellent, particularly this PSA:
And we were then off to the Columbia Slough (gorgeous ribbon of bike lights through the dark), past the racetrack and then the disco party (pumpin’ tunes, but too crowded). We shot back towards the train station trailing the Three Musketeers (who didn’t seem to find my witticisms as funny as I did — “”where was D’Artagnan? One for All and All for One! Oh, no, you’re split by the traffic light!”” Good thing I wasn’t drinking…). The final donuts at the train station were bypassed for a goodnight birthday drink at the Rose and Thistle, and then to a well-earned sleep.
All in all, a great time! Similar to wandering through the streets in large crowds of happy people, there is something delightful about cheery bike riders taking over the streets (at least for those of us on bikes). I can’t wait for the next Sunday Parkway.