"http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-transitional.dtd"> urbanMamas

Will you be pedaling across the bridges?

It's the family bike event of the year, the Bridge Pedal is here!Bridge_pedal  With three route options - the 10 bridge (36 miles), the 8 bridge (24 miles) and the 6 bridge (14 miles), organizers estimate 20,000 participants to register.  And don't forget the stride (5 mile walk that includes crossing the Broadway and Steel Bridges)!   Start times begin at 7am (for the 10- or 8- bridge rides) and run until 9:30am (for the 6-bridge rides).

In previous years, the thousands and thousands of riders of all ages and levels have resulted in bottlenecks, accidents, and complaints.  I know some families who are discouraged and even afraid to ride the event, opting to leave their bike riding to their daily commutes with or without kids.  I know families (like ourselves) who keep coming back for more, even if the ride can be wrought with difficulties and some frustrations.  The views and the thrills from up top of the Marquam and Fremont bridges just can't be beat!

Will you be riding?  What are tips and tricks for the rest of the family riders?

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We did this for two years in a row, but witnessed countless accidents (especially last year), and decided not to do this ride again. Too crowded!

I recommend for those of you concerned about safety: make sure you're all wearing properly adjusted helmets and your bikes and trailers have been checked over before riding, stay to the right side of the road as much as possible, use hand signals AND verbal signals so often it might seem silly, and take your time!!! Riding as a family in such an exciting event is a great way to bond AND to take back the cycling streets from the cuckoo bikers who seem to think it's just for them. I'm with the BTA and believe me, we would love nothing more than to see the safe, happy, friendly families RULE on this day! This event is meant to be fun above all. See you all out there! :)

We love the BP! Now, the year before last was way too crowded (remember the jam on the Marquam Bridge?!) The organizers were totally unprepared for the numbers who showed up. That's the only year I can recall significant problems. I was really pleased with the way they circumvented that problem last year.

So yeah, we'll be there. The 7yo will ride on a tandem with papa, the 4yo will be on the tagalong with me, and the tandem riders will haul the trailer, just in case 4yo gets tired.

We've always admired the folks who show up with crazy outfits and helmet decorations, so this year, to honor something dear to our family, we've appointed ourselves Team Bagel. Look for the crew with bagels affixed to their helmets...

Our main tip/strategy: if you're coming from the SE, don't bother starting downtown. Just join up with crowd when it comes over the first bridge (Hawthorne) down in the industrial zone.

Zinemama, First off (and I should post this on the other thread where we first talked about different forms of family biking), thanks for your tips on the bike stuff. We ended up with the most affordable option that made sense -- an Xtracycle. Should be done today!! We did do a lot of experimenting, though, and tried a bike friday family tandem and bakfiet too.

We will ride BP this year, it will be our 4th year riding. It is so fun to see the girls graduate from both in the Burley 1st year, then Philly on tag-along 2nd & 3rd years, now both girls on tag-alongs this year!

We haven't figured out an outfit or theme yet, but we will must. We will look out for Team Bagel.

As for tips/strategy: I agree with not starting downtown. We come from the north and just catch up with the group just over the Steel in Old Town. We also try to be very defensive riders and also try to be very conscientious about our riding - if we're slow or stopping, stay to the right - use bells tons to signal passing or "hello, i'm right behind you". Also, the tip on taking the trailer just in case the little one gets tired on the tag-along -- good idea! Bring lots of food, snacks, and water in backpacks or even panniers.

Should be a fun time; urbanFams represent!

We've done this the last two years. Last year, Casey was 6 weeks old and he stayed with my aunt. We tried to do 10 bridges, but my bike broke coming over the Marquam bridge, but we were able to fix that and keep going. Then my husband's bike was totalled (I can't recall exactly what happened) coming down the Fremont bridge. He didn't crash or anything, but when he took it in to REI (where he bought it the previous year) they replaced it for free and said it couldn't be fixed. I think we may stay home this year. Casey isn't quite used to the Burley yet and we're having a party that night.

I cannot believe this will be my first bridge pedal. In past years, travel and other plans have gotten in the way of joining the mayhem. I'm looking forward to seeing other families biking together. My husband will ride with 4 yr old who will be on a trail-a-bike; and I will be pulling my 2 yr old in a trailer.

I just finished a volunteer session for BP and learned a big stat that might be helpful: most accidents during BP do not involve kids, but are caused by kids. So make sure your kiddos know the proper etiquette for riding in a group - namely being a predictable rider! Have fun out there guys and be safe! :)

So, how did everyone do?

Team Bagel (minus the bagels; there was dissent in some quarters) had a great time. 4yo stayed on the tagalong for the whole 14 miles, no undue incident. But we were kind of miffed at the lack of bagels, bananas and water that have always been on hand in years past. And that bottleneck before the Ross Island Bridge? Totally ridiculous.

We did see one crash: a little boy, couldn't have been more than 6, wiped out on the downramp coming off the Marquam bridge. It was the worst possible place; bikes had just gotten up a lot of speed and it was a very tough place to stop safely.

Fortunately, a big guy with a big voice leaped off his bike as soon as it happened and started yelling for folks to slow down. There were a hairy couple of seconds there, but no one crashed into the kid, thank goodness.

Whew - I am tired! We did the 8-bridge (24 miler). Waking up sleepy girls at 6:45, I couldn't let myself make them pedal on the tag-alongs, after a late night last night. I loaded them into the trailer with a big fleece blankie and gave them some hot cocoa to warm up before the big girl hopped out onto the trail-a-bike on her daddy's bike. The girls took turns trail-a-biking/riding in the trailer. A great time was had by all.

I also wondered about the lack of bagels and bananas. I think we had a banana near OMSI, but little else was offered until we hit the SoyJoy promo booth atop the Fremont. It's not my favorite bar.

We didn't see any accidents this year. There was the same old weaving speedsters that we see every year. The bottleneck approaching the Ross Island was absolutely ridiculous. They merged several lanes into one, and that's just not a good tactic with thousands and thousands of riders. I think that was the only real major bottleneck that we experience.

I think this is the first year we started this early, at 7:30 or so. We felt like the early time made for a smoother ride.

We had fun and we'll probably see you again at the Bridge Pedal next year.

It was my virgin ride, and it was fun, fun, fun! Yes, the back up at the Ross Island was a pain, but I thoroughly enjoyed the ride. Wow, 24 miles went by fast. Both kids (4 year old and 2 year old) did great. The hills were challenging; but company and camaraderie was fantastic. It's a definite must Portland experience.

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