NBG Mayors’ Ride, Part 1: Portland

George, Don, and I rode for the National Bicycle Greenway’s National Mayors’ Ride this year. This is the same organization that my brother and I rode for 3 years ago when we went across the country. Martin Krieg, the guy in charge of NBG, changed the format of the ride a couple years back to a relay ride instead of a trans-am ride to get more people involved and to get more cities involved. I was actually around last year, but didn’t even hear about the ride! Ah well…

So the leg that we participated in was just for 4 days, Portland to Eugene. This being a relay ride, someone named Rocky Brown rode from Boise to meet us in Portland, and we in turn were to “hand off the baton” to a guy named Skot in Eugene who would then go to Arcata, Chico, and Sacramento. The ride originated in DC in May or so and will end in Santa Cruz in August for some huge party which I think my brother will be attending since he’s doing SF to Santa Cruz.

Most of this post is copied from an email I sent Martin, but I’m embellishing it a little and adding photos as I go…

George and I left my place Friday morning, July 18, and met Don at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry since it is pretty close to the Hawthorne Bridge. We then biked across the bridge and when we got to the plaza where we were meeting everyone else, we noticed people protesting Ashcroft and the war. There were even a couple of topless women holding signs up (no photos, sorry). But we didn’t have time to dally, so we looked around and saw Dat, from Shift, Don’s friend, and a city transportation worker of some type, come running up to greet us. He told us where everyone was, so we headed over. At this point, my chain fell off; I fixed it later, but something to keep in mind if it happened again…

“Everyone” was us three (Mark, Don, and George), Dat, Kristine and a coworker, two parking enforcement officers, Andrew and Lisa Heckman, and Pat from TerraCycle. Kristine is also a transportations city person or something like that. The funny thing is this whole thing was slightly disorganized, so I’m not sure who all the city people represented… mayor’s office, transporation, what have you… Andrew Heckman is the guy who was riding last year for the Mayors’ Ride from Chicago to Des Moines when he was struck by an inattentive motorist and is now physically handicapped. Crazy story; the woman apparently still claims to this day that she didn’t hit him even tho there are visible dents in her car. Pat is a guy who builds bikes; I’m not sure how he was involved with the ride.

We were all wondering where Rocky was. Across the block, across the street, were some people setting up a podium at the steps of city hall. Basically we just spent the time (about 25 min) meeting each other and checking out each others’ rides. Andrew Morton, the guy who did the ride from PDX to Eugene last year, showed up around then, too, and fun was had by all. It was at this time when Pat noticed the completely broken chain-stay on Don’s bike. Uh-oh. But we didn’t have time to do anything about it since Rocky and his sister showed up at City Hall and biked over. We then made a little train, led by the bike parking people, over to the steps where some 20 people were crowded around waiting to see what happened.

When we reached the steps, we met Cynthia and Eileen, two more workers for the city, and Eileen told us what was happening. When everyone was gathered, she made a speech, and read the proclamation, followed by speeches by Andrew H and Rocky. Andrew is an amazing guy and his speech was well put, IMHO, lauding Portland for being bike friendly and stressing the idea of a Willamette Valley bike path to bring tourists and money into Oregon. He also talked about his accident and how he can cope with it thru positive thinking. Rocky is also amazing–not complaining about 108 degrees because last year he had to endure 118. Bejeezus, if I were them, I’d milk it for all it’s worth. Dirt Bag, Rocky’s pet rubber lizard that he found on the side of the road, is well, too. More info about this event has been written by Andrew and there’s even some photos! Dat also took lots of photos!

So after the speeches and the clapping and all that, Kristine shows us the box lunches they had prepared for the cyclists. The day before she called me and asked if there should be food, saying something like, “I don’t know if you guys want food or if we should provide food for something like this. I mean, I don’t know if you are on some type of training regimen or diet or something…” To which I replied, “Well, *I’ll* eat at least! Actually, the ride we are doing is really easy, so any kind of food should be fine.” And the food was indeed fine. Very nice actually: Paradise Bakery and whatnot. Don, George, and I had planned on leaving right then and there and to take our food with us before we found out about Don’s bike. So instead, we ate on the lawn of city hall, while Cynthia made some phone calls. This woman has some bicycling clout! Or should I say “grease”? She got a hold of Bike Gallery and they offered to lend Don a bike for the weekend. After we finished eating we all said good-bye to both Andrews, Lisa, Rocky, and his sis, and we rode with Dat to the Bike Gallery located on the other side of the city (the one on Sandy Blvd–Too bad they couldn’t find a bike at their downtown location!). I guess due to Don’s height, they didn’t have many bikes that would fit, so he got stuck with some carbon fibre USPS racing team Trek. Such is our luck. 🙂

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