Northwest Portland is a cycling haven, and there are several ways to plug into the pedaling communities of the aptly nicknamed Bicycle Capital of America. PDX Northwest helps identify the destinations and resources that make this city such a great cycling locale, highlighting everything from local bike shops to online event guides.
Portland is home to one of the most famous—or perhaps infamous—rides in the world. February 13 is more than just the day before Valentine’s Day around these parts, as it is typically the worst weather day for wind, temperature and precipitation. Naturally, local cyclists enjoy the challenge of riding in the dreary weather, and have organized an annual Worst Day Ride through town for residents and guests of the city to enjoy in a large group.
Two routes exist for the ride: An 18-mile urban tour through Northwest Portland and other sections of the city limits, and a 45-mile challenge tour that goes through the West Hills to add incline and curving road to the rain, sleet, snow or whatever else the sky is full of that day. The urban tour features regular intervals with snacks and rest areas (every four miles) before ending at the Laughing Planet Cafe for homemade soup and bread.
The urban tour features large, bright signage to guide riders along, and as the ride has been going on for almost a decade, motorists in the area expect the routes to be swamped with thousands of cyclists. Volunteers make the event happen, and more information about how to join their efforts is available on the Worst Day Ride website. Riders are encouraged to don silly costumes for the ride, as a very active (and often hilarious) photo gallery is maintained on the website.
Registration for the event begins at $35 for online sign-up, and raises to $50 for day-of registration. It is limited to 4,000 riders, so early registration is encouraged. Kids are welcome to join their parents on the ride, and any rider under 10 years old may register for just $10. The registration includes your name on a roster of riders, a lunch ticket and the opportunity to mingle with riders and the general public during a pre-ride check in at Lucky Labrador Brewing on Southeast Hawthorne Boulevard from 2 p.m. until 5 p.m. the day of the ride.
The Worst Day Ride website serves as a great resource for Northwest Portland cycling enthusiasts, and directions to the ride are included there as well. It is coordinated by the communities Cycling Center, so additional resources may be found on the website, alongside the photo gallery and ride information. To reach the Lucky Labrador Brewpub, take either TriMet Bus Line 14 or 15 along Hawthorne, where stops are made within a block of the pub. Parking in the area is ample, and cycling to the check in is, of course, encouraged.