Imagine pedaling over the Interstate, with no cars to contend with. Imagine pedaling across a city's major bridges, being able to stand on the top deck of the biggest bridge in the city, take pictures, and talk to your loved ones without worrying about cars. Imagine going down the bridge to the Interstate entrance, and not worrying about red lights. Imagine this, and you are imagining the Providence Bridge Pedal which took place this morning.
My wife, my son Brian, and I got up at 5:00 AM this morning, ate breakfast, and took the MAX train to downtown Portland. On the MAX with us were many other cyclists with their bicycles. When we arrived downtown, the whole area around the Tom McCall Waterfront Park had been taken over by cyclists. We lined up about 7:20, and were off at 7:30 AM.
The ride was not a race, but a family outing. Many, many, many people who had bicycles, but used them only recreationally, came to ride. Hazards were well mitigated, with people out to show the way, stands set up for bicycle problems, first aid and emergency personnel (some on bicycles) stationed around the route, and plywood or fabric covering the steel grates of two bridges.
We saw all kinds of bicycles, old, new fancy, and custom. We saw one tandem which wasn't a tandem, but had seats for a family of four, with the two children in the center two seats. Recumbants were there, but not in great numbers. Many rode mountain bikes, and there were more than a few vintage bicycles too.
We elected to ride the long route, which took in all the main bridges (except one, which they kept open for car traffic). My wife was on her bicycle for only about the fourth time in several years, and Brian kept beside her, guiding her with his advise. Brian is now quite a bicyclist, and is also a contributor to this forum. There were several stops, and people had a great time on the top of the bridges. I especially enjoyed being able to get out and look around from the top of the Fremont Bridge, which gives quite a view of the city.
In short, we had a wonderful morning, and would recommend it to all for next year. I hope to have some photos developed this week, and will place them here.
We've spent too much time on problems in this forum. We've got to address problems, but also "accentuate the positive" aspects of our sport.