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'Bridge Pedal' riders huff-and-puff across Sellwood Bridge

by: DAVID F. ASHTON - Providence Bridge Pedal riders navigate the new S-Curve on the recently-shifted old Sellwood Bridge.Westbound drivers on S.E. Tacoma Street who ignored the “Bridge Closed Ahead” signs were stopped by masses of bicyclists riding through the neighborhood, along the Oaks Bottom bluff on S.E 7th Avenue, and then across the Sellwood Bridge on the morning of Sunday, August 11.

“We start about 100 riders per minute from downtown,” said Providence Bridge Pedal Event Director Rick Bauman. “We hope to evenly space out the riders, because the Sellwood Bridge is relatively narrow.”

Of the 17,000 bikers, less than half – about 6,000 riders – opt to take “the long ride” that swings far enough south to include the Sellwood Bridge, Bauman told THE BEE.

During the three-hour window that the westbound lane of the bridge was closed – from 6 until 9 am. – the number of riders was so enormous, many ended up walking their bikes to avoid collisions with fellow riders.

By the time the Sellwood Bridge reopened to traffic, Bauman observed, some riders had finished the ride, while others were just getting started on their shorter rides.

Precisely at 9 am, the barriers went down and the traffic cones were scooped up on the historic Sellwood Bridge, and traffic returned to normal for a Sunday morning.