Saturday, June 30, 2012

Sunday Parkways June 24

On Sunday, June 24, I decided to check out a program put on by the Portland Bureau of Transportation and sponsored by Kaiser Permanente called Sunday Parkways.  This one was the North route, their oldest and longest (at 9.5 miles) route.  For this event, the city blocks off several side streets and reserves it for people walking or biking the trails.  The trail itself winds through several side streets with stops at several small parks, where you could participate in other programs, or just relax and check out the vendors at the park (which included food vendors, bike repair stations, and some booths for local projects that were just trying to get their message out).

I drove into town and parked at a Park & Ride for the TriMet (which is apparently a no-no...the park & ride is only for riders of the TriMet), and biked to one of the starting points, Kenton Park.  There was a lot going on there, though much of it was geared toward children (like a bouncy castle, an obstacle course, and a splash pad).  I checked out the vendors, like the Royal Rosarians, and then headed down the path to the next park.

I honestly don't know what the next park was, but there were a lot more bikers and vendors there.  There was even a mobile Voodoo Doughnuts truck!  They did have the Maple Bacon Bars, but they didn't have any of the Memphis Mafia doughnuts, so I passed...  Although I admit I wanted to buy a Maple Bacon Bar, I had just begun my first 10-mile bike ride, so I didn't want to tempt fate.  I did hit one of the other vendors, though, and tried a free Clif Bar and some Vitamin Water before heading out again to the next park.  

Each of the parks had its own set of activities. from breakdancing competitions to yoga to Zumba to concerts.  If you really had the energy to spend a full day doing it, there were plenty of things to do to keep it going from 10am - 4pm before they opened the side streets to traffic again.  Of course, I wasn't really prepared for all that...I was just there for the bike ride.  Next time, I will prepare a little better and try to enjoy it more.  There will be a next time...this was the second Sunday Parkways of five, each taking place in a different part of the city.  I will definitely try to make it to the last three, if I can -- it helps to get to know the city a little better, gets me some much-needed exercise, and is fun!

The last park I visited was my favorite.  They had a large rose garden in the center of a fairly large park.  This park also seemed to have the most vendors, and the most activities.  I wandered around the rose garden for a while and checked out some of the vendors here before heading back to my car.

The pace was very liesurely, with plenty of stops along the way.  Families were out walking the route, or letting their children ride it...which sometimes resulted in them swaying into the path of oncoming bike traffic...but overall, everyone was very understanding of the slower pace, and worked around the pace and skill of the other riders.

By the end, I had gotten a second wind, so I took advantage of the downhill slope back toward the Park and Ride to push myself, and got the bike up to 25mph for the first time...hopefully, I'll be able to get into good enough shape that becomes a more regular occurrance.

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