For over 50 years, Portland area residents have welcomed the new year with a bike ride. The ride serves multiple purposes: to joyfully welcome in the new year, celebrate improvements to our streets, and provide an opportunity to experience new parts of the region with friends old and new. This year we gathered our members at The Street Trust HUB at Lloyd Center for a family-friendly seven-mile bike ride followed by a community gathering with hot food and drinks.
We were joined by 60 friends, new and old, on all manner of bikes including cargo bikes, kid-assisted tandems, dog-friendly basket bikes, and recumbent trikes. We noted a lot of e-bikes this year which was very exciting given our increase in e-bike programming, like the Ride2Own community-powered e-bike ownership program in partnership with We All Rise and our Lloyd District E-Bike Lending Library in partnership with the City of Portland’s Clean Energy Fund. We were also joined by our friends at Cynergy E-Bikes who conducted bike safety checks before the ride.
In keeping things close to “home” this year so we could utilize the transit- and bike-accessible Lloyd Center as a starting spot–not to mention the empty parking lot for space to spread out in the sun–our ride featured three bridges and a jaunt along the picturesque Willamette River. We had figured correctly that this would be many attendees’ first ride along the Willamette River Greenway Trail–a bit of hidden gem! We also took some Blumenauer Bridge newbies for their first crossing. Our 2022 New Year’s Day Ride featured a peek at the soon-to-be Blumenauer Bridge (accompanied by an update from Friends of the Green Loop and little bow ties for everyone’s bikes!) so finishing our loop by traversing the new bridge was a lovely touch. Attendees loved the route so here’s a map if you’d like to explore it on your own:
The 2024 New Year’s Day Ride was a first for The Street Trust’s Community Engagement Coordinator Burgin Utaski, who shared, “What a great way to start the new year! While spending New Year’s Day in pajamas is fun and all, having the opportunity to connect with enthusiastic community members on a gorgeous day took the cake! Huge thanks to our Executive Director, Sarah Iannarone, for providing delicious chili to warm us up after the ride.”
Over the last couple years we’ve noticed that as people are getting back into the habit of gathering in public, connecting as a community is what we’re most aching for and we supported this need by hosting a cookie exchange at the end of the 2023 ride. This year we welcomed everyone at the end of the ride with veg*n Frito Pie, hot cocoa, random drawings featuring items to help keep warm and illuminated in cold and dark weather, and a Wishing Tree crafted out of a bike wheel and bike repair stand to which we hung our hopes and dreams for 2024.
Happy 2024 from The Street Trust! We hope to see you at a future event. Please sign up for our newsletter to get updates on events, info on advocacy efforts, and to learn more about the impact we’re having in our community; sign up to volunteer to help assist events like this and others, and donate to The Street Trust to support multimodal transportation options that prioritize safety, accessibility, equity, and climate justice.