All Over Portland
There are a million reasons not to drive a car this summer. The appearance of smog alerts around town are making it so you personally could be responsible for the senseless murder of a small child, asthmatic, or one of Portland's elderly, just by driving down to the Plaid for a package of Shock Tarts. Do you really want to live with that on your conscience? No, I think not. However, perhaps the BEST reason to tool around on your bicycle in August is the arrival of Bike Summer, which is like a 31-day, outdoor carnival ride, but minus the toothless carnies and cowboys in a Coors-fueled, alcoholic rage.
Bike Summer was started by a bunch of bike enthusiasts/activists and takes place in a different, bike-centric city each year, such as San Francisco, Chicago, and Vancouver, B.C. Since Portland is so super bike-fanatic, our town was a logical next stop. Each day this month, there is at least one fun, community-organized event, all surrounding the glorious bicycle. Opening Day, which is Thurs, Aug 1, includes: a bike-by breakfast on the Hawthorne and Steel Bridges from 6:30-7:30 am (in which you bike by and somebody hands you a pancake or something); a kinetic sculpture building party, where you can build moving bike-art mobiles for the bike parade (noon on the 1st at 8th and Ankeny); and the subsequent First Thursday Bike Art and Costume Parade, in which everyone exhibits their bike art, dresses up like lunatics, and makes a general racket while riding through the First Thursday art walk.
That's just the first day. For the rest of the summer, you can look forward to a romantic midnight bike tour of Portland; a bike-themed episode of everybody's favorite violent sitcom, Portland Organic Wrestling; a "Chunkathalon" with C.H.U.N.K. 666, which is like the Olympics, but deadly; even a class where you can learn to knit your own bicycle gear, such as... seat cozies, maybe?
So basically, if you're a bike-aholic, or even if you've only just realized that your car fumes are probably choking a wee asthmatic to death, it's time to grease up the gear and hitch up to the Bike Summer train. Besides, when is the next time you'll actually want to participate in a radical event the city thought was okay to sponsor? JULIANNE SHEPHERD