I haven’t led a bicycle ride in over a year due to pandemic. If I had known that the Slough Country Ramble I led in February of 2021 would be the last for awhile, I definitely would have made it more grand! But of course, most of us didn’t realize what COVID was going to do to the world.
Anyways, its spring of 2021, and Pedalpalooza, Portland’s annual festival of bike fun, is back. Unlike the last time it conventionally held back in 2019, it will be an “all-summer” event: June, July, and August. The calendar is open for rides to be posted. And yeah, I want to lead some rides!
I’ve often mentioned that I wouldn’t lead a ride again until we “turned the corner” with COVID. As cases yet again spike here in Oregon, I know that corner hasn’t been turned yet. But with vaccinations being rolled out, I hope that corner will be turned by summer. And more importantly, I’ll be vaccinated by then. So I will be leading some rides during Pedalpalooza, most likely selections from the slate of rides that I hoped to do last June.
But things will obviously be different this year. This is what I anticipate will change:
A late start. I most likely will not do any rides in June, rather I’ll wait until July. This is for two reasons: 1) To see how things are going in regards to pandemic and 2) the guaranteed better weather of July and August.
Mask up. I’ll be vaccinated by then, and hopefully so will you. But it is still wise to mask up for group rides for the time being. And Pedalpalooza itself (the organization) is requiring it.
Limiting attendance. Much as I’d love to see a ride with several hundred people, I know now is not the time. I’m going to be capping attendance to somewhere between a dozen to twenty people for all of my rides. Most of the rides I do benefit from a degree of intimacy, especially if you want to hear what I’m saying or ask questions. (I don’t like megaphones.)
All rides require advance registration. In order to keep the rides small, I’ll need to do this. I know that this goes a bit against “the spirit of Pedalpalooza”, and this means you’ll have to commit to a ride rather than decide on the day of which of the thirteen rides you want to go on that evening. But the world we live in now is different than the one where the last “regular” Pedalpalooza happened, and we have to adapt.
And honestly, I’ll probably be doing advance registration on most of my rides from here on out, even after the pandemic is gone. Yes, this puts more of a burden on you, the participant. But it makes the ride organizer’s life much easier when they can accurately know how many people show up for a ride. It’s not fun to put a lot of time and energy into planning a ride and have no one show up, which has happened to me a few times over the years.* Conversely, it’s not fun when I plan a ride when I think only a couple dozen will show up then a hundred do (like with my Pizza Ride in 2009, which also was the year when 46 people showed up to a mid-day ride to the Columbia Gorge.) Trying to lead a big ride when you expected a small one is logistically difficult, and the sheer size of it may scare off some participants who expected a more intimate experience.
I’ll continue to use Eventbrite as my registration site of choice. Don’t worry, it costs nothing to use, and you don’t have to register if you don’t want to.
Feel free to let me know what you think, or have questions. I hope to see you on a ride this summer!
*Weirdly enough, it’s worse when only one person shows up for a ride.