Pedalpalooza is saving Portland right now. Every day, people are coming together around shared passions and connecting on our streets with open arms. It’s exactly the kind of community-oriented, free fun so many of us need right now, and the Art in the Bike Lane Ride held on Saturday was a great example of this.
Leaders Whitney Mercer and Haley Miller love the quirky and cute bikeway characters that the City of Portland creates. I mean, love them. Mercer, who showed up with an impeccably detailed rendition of the “Cyclist in Space” character that lives in a bike lane outside the Belmont Library, wears fashion accessories inspired by the designs and said one of her life goals is to meet the Portland Bureau of Transportation staffer who established the program.
Mercer’s co-leader, Haley Miller, donned a cape and eye-mask just like the “Transportation Superhero” character she loves most, which can be found in the bike lane on N Vancouver just before Russell. “It was the first one I saw and it was like the gateway drug to finding them all and documenting them,” she says in the video above.
The tradition goes back to 1999 when a PBOT maintenance staffer was bored and used excess scraps of thermoplastic used in pavement markings to give bike lane characters a bit of extra personality. The tradition was embraced by a subsequent person at PBOT named Kirstin Byer who expanded the program and made sure it became standard practice. Byer thought of herself as curator of Portland’s “random bike art museum” before she retired in early 2021.
Today’s designs are much more intricate and PBOT has a popular design contest for kids where the winners get to see their creations come to life on the street.
As you can see in our video and photos, there was plenty of life on Saturday’s ride! Take a look at the full gallery below and don’t miss our Pedalpalooza Hub for more coverage.
Special thanks to BIKETOWN, operated by Lyft for being the financial supporter of our Pedalpalooza 2022 coverage.
Jonathan Maus is BikePortland’s editor, publisher and founder. Contact him at @jonathan_maus on Twitter, via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or phone/text at 503-706-8804. Also, if you read and appreciate this site, please become a supporter.