Even if you're not a hardcore bike commuter--buckling under the rain and hail of Portland's tempestuous winter--everyone likes bikes in summer. And with the annual, action-packed Pedalpalooza you'll never not know where to go or what to do with your summertime wheels. The giant festival blends together nearly every taste, habit, and lifestyle to access everyone from the casual leisure rider who likes fine wines and films to the lifer who does their own repairs and prefers dive bars and pizza. There are planned bike activities every day for the next two weeks and then some, including a parade, theme rides (taco rides, wine rides, doughnut rides, mystery rides, naked rides, geek rides, astronomy rides, pizza rides…--), educational workshops (learn about bike repair, bike parking, bike building, transportation issues, how to properly use those complicated thingamajiggers that secure bikes to the front of buses, and even historical Portland theaters), bike-in movies, volunteer and repair gatherings, and loads more. Pedalpalooza is also a good spot to hit if you're waiting for someone to convince you that a bike should become your main mode of transport.
A healthy number of Pedalpalooza happenings stand out for being extra weird and fun. For instance, the infamous Zoobombers (the bicycle "gang" that gets its jollies by zooming down the giant hill by the zoo on funny little mini bikes, and who may or may not have been involved in a certain bike frame being welded to the front door of the Mercury office. Pshaw, like we don't get shit welded to us all the time.) are having their third annual Zoobomb Century (this Sunday, June 12), a 100-mile (mostly downhill) ride with some of the town's craziest cyclists. There's also a toga ride that starts at SE dive bar The Slammer (June 16… and uh-oh), a bike kiss-in (June 17), which is exactly what it sounds like, and a bicycle scavenger hunt (June 18). The Second More Than Annual Juke Off Booze Cruise (June 18) tours the bars of Portland, grading the contents of each jukebox in a highly scientific survey conducted by a "tribunal" (the Vern won last year). Then there's the General Bike Circus Mayhem (at the Clown House June 18), a slightly scary sounding event involving tall bike jousting, fire breathing, arcade games, and mud. There are also aggressive games of bike polo, a cryptically described hash ride event that "involves keen eyes and good communication," and an "Atomic War Preparedness Ride" that tours Portland's civil defense strategies from the Cold War era. And, not to toot our own horn, but if you still haven't met the bike hottie of your fantasies, the Mercury personals are hosting a ride followed by a night of Boggle, so you can find out what kind of brain operates on that brawn.
The whole affair kicks off on Thursday with a bike parade, so break out the tin cans and streamers to dress up your ride, cobble together a costume you can bike in, and celebrate another summer on two wheels. MARJORIE SKINNER
Go to www.shift2bikes.org for details and a complete schedule
Just in time for summer reading, the city is bum-rushed by authors this week. Starting on Thursday evening, consummate travel writer Paul Theroux cranks out his 40th (yes, 4-0) novel, Blinding Light, a fable about a washed-up writer who finds new inspiration in some hallucinogens; only problem is that the drugs blind him. Oops. (Powell's, 1005 W. Burnside, Thurs, 7:30 pm) Meanwhile, 'cross town, three hotshot writers--Seattle-based poet Sarah Mangold, the New Yorker's Ben McGath, and local writer Peter Rock--take over Gravy's backroom to wax on the theme of "wedded." (Gravy, 3957 N. Mississippi, Thurs, 7:30 pm)
The deluge of words continues when Michael Finkle pulls into town. A journalist who was fired from the New York Times after it was discovered that he had made up facts, Finkle's life turned even stranger when he found out that Oregon's own Christian Longo had "borrowed" Finkle's name and persona while on the lam in Mexico after slaughtering his family in Coos Bay! A true story told in Finkle's book, True Story. (Powell's, 1005 W. Burnside, Tues, 7:30 pm)
Then (whew, take a breath, rub your eyes), sometimes-McSweeney's writer and one of the world's greatest living storytellers, Nick Hornby, shows up on Wednesday to pimp his sadly funny novel, A Long Way Down. (First Unitarian Church, 1011 SW 4th, Wed, 7:30 pm) PHIL BUSSE
The Oregon Bears (who you'll learn all about in our upcoming queer issue) are a friendly bunch of faggots with lots of body hair and a fondness for masculinity. And even if that sounds a bit sweaty for your taste, they sure know how to put on a good, all-inclusive party.
This year's blowout, BearTown X, starts on June 9th and continues for three full days. (I understand the Red Lion is already booked full of Bears itching to party.) If you've got $100, there's a full-package deal that will get you in to every last hairy event. Highlights include: The Hugs and Tugs Party, a meet-and-greet kickoff party; the always popular (and unfortunately named) UnderBear Party, which is exactly what it sounds like; and the Double X Dance. As if that weren't enough, truly loyal Bear fans will enjoy a dizzying hit-list of other fun destinations: A dim sum brunch; an underground Shanghai tunnel tour; a trip to see the Spruce Goose; a jet boat tour up the Willamette River; and a skyline dinner with lesbian comedian Shann Carr. EVAN JAMES Hugs and Tugs Party, Thursday 8 pm at C.C. Slaughters, 200 NW 3rd; UnderBear Party, $15 (or free with package), Friday 9 pm at the Eagle, 1300 W Burnside; Double X Dance, Saturday, 10 pm at C.C. Slaughters, 200 NW 3rd, $85 for members, $100 for non-members. For ticket packages, visit oregonbears.org.