‘Gorge Pedal’ promises a ride and experiences you won’t forget

The ride and the views are just the start of what you’ll get at the Gorge Pedal.
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

*Sponsored (but I would have written it anyway).*

Pedaling a bicycle through the Columbia River Gorge is a magical experience — and I say that as someone who usually does it alone without any fanfare.

The Gorge Pedal on July 20th will add not just fellow riders to the mix (and associated safety and camaraderie that comes with them), but also a unique mix of off-the-bike activities that are sure to make it a memorable day.

“The inspiration for the ride is to get people out to the Gorge and see it from a bicycle seat,” says event organizer Jerry Zelada, a dedicated bicycling advocate who once chaired the Oregon Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee. Zelada also took cues from former Oregon Governor Ted Kulongowski who sang the praises of cycling through the Gorge during the 2016 centennial re-dedication ceremony of the Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail.

Zelada and his team have worked with a variety of agencies and organizations to offer three events on the 20th: two bicycle rides and one “Celebration for All”. There will be a Family Ride aimed at being a supremely inclusive. Zelada has invited community groups like Cully-based Andando en Bicicletas y Caminando, the Black Girls Do Bike club, WTF Explorers and others to participate. The Family Ride is a completely carfree, 11-mile out-and-back loop with under 300 total feet of elevation gain that begins in Cascade Locks and turns around at the Bonneville Power Fish Hatchery.

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Take in the views from Vista House.

Then there’s the Gorge Climb route, which Zelada says will be a geared as a more serious training ride with 46 miles and nearly 3,000 feet of elevation gain. The route will go from Cascade Locks to the Portland Women’s Forum and will pass several waterfalls and stunning viewpoints. There will also be four educational/activity stops and plenty of stocked rest stops along the way.

Mr. Zelada at the 2016 Historic Columbia River Highway centennial celebration.

The big post-ride Celebration will bring it all together with fresh local food and drinks, live music and entertainment. To feed your weary muscles you can choose from Thunder Island Brewing, fresh salmon tacos from Brigham Fish Market, specialities from La Gula Mexican Food, or good, old-fashioned barbeque from Pork, Wind, and Fire.

You won’t want to miss a very special performance from The Sprockettes mini-bike dance team (one of their last, since they are disbanding for good at the end of this year) and artwork and handcrafts by the Tananáwit community of Warm Springs artists.

And there’s even a costume contest that will reward two $100 prizes for the best “Water” and “Forest” costume on a bike.

There’s just too much cool stuff planned for this event to list. Make your plans for Saturday, July 20th and check out GorgePedal.com for all the info. And when you register, tell them you heard about it on BikePortland!

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org

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