Airplane bike, Whymcycles, ukelele band: A perfect Parkways!

Airplane bike, Whymcycles, ukelele band: A perfect Parkways!

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It was a great day for bicycling.
Full gallery here
(Photos © J. Maus/BikePortland)


I rolled down to Sunday Parkways southeast yesterday thinking I’d just roll around, take in the sights, and chat with friends. I had my two girls and my brother-in-law with me so I didn’t think I’d work too hard. But, it was such a perfect day, and there were so many fantastic people out in the streets! I took a few photos at our first stop. And then a few more. And before I knew it I was snapping everything in sight. I could not resist!

The first big surprise of yesterday’s even was seeing the Wagner family from Davis, California. I met Peter Wagner and his amazing “Whymcycles” when I rolled through Davis on tour with the Sprockettes back in 2008. He’s one of the most interesting freak bike builders I have ever come across. He and his family travel the country competing in kinetic sculpture events and he creates some truly whimsical (hence the name) human-powered vehicles. Turns out his oldest son Colin recently moved to Portland (he works for Portland Pedal Power) so we might be seeing more of the Wagner family in the future (they fit right in). Peter showed off an interesting, amphibious trike yesterday that had a fully circular steel cage around it. When it rolls into water, he straps webbing around the large hoops, removes the wheels, tucks in the drivetrain, and lays the bike down flat. It becomes a raft! I could talk to Peter about his creations for hours…

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The Wagner family tadpole trike.
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Further up the road I came upon a huge Franz Bakery truck. Why is this thing parked on this narrow road?! I wondered. Turns out, the Portland Police Bureau, Franz, and the BTA, teamed up to tell folks about truck safety and blind spots. I loved how a uniformed officer was there chatting to people and passing out safety brochures. I also liked how the information was right next to the free loaves of bread and cookies…

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The thing that always gets me at Sunday Parkways are the people it attracts. Children on bikes, teens, pre-teens, and lots of older ladies and gentlemen. And women. Wow. I think there might be more women on bikes at Sunday Parkways than men. What always strikes me is how rarely — if ever — I see this same mix on the roads at other times. This fact shows both the problem and the promise of Portland. These are our “interested but concerned.” These are the constituents politicians should not forget. These people are the reason we need to stop worrying about “making the case” with the small percentage of people who get angry every time bicycling comes up in the news and focus more on making the streets more like “Sunday Parkways every day” (which is one of the official slogans of the event)…

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A group of young girls riding together. Wish it wasn’t a special event.
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A highlight for my family was finally getting to see Honky Tonk Prison — “Portland’s third-favorite classic country ukulele coverband.” The members; Andrew Kraus, Amos Hunter, Caroline Zavitkovski, Chelsea Kline, Esther Harlow, Ken Southerland, Timo Forsberg, and Vivian Yuan, not only get to their gigs by bike, they are also active in the local bike scene. Oh, and their music is not to be missed!…

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Band parking.
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Speaking of music, did you catch the big jazz/swing band at the church near Mt. Tabor?

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And finally, the highlight of my day was meeting six-year-old bicycle pilot Jack Lighthipe. Jack put this excellent bike together using an old, broken jogging stroller and one of his old bikes. It’s got tons of custom features and “All the equipment we need,” right on board. Highlights include: wings that can fold in when not in use; a gate that opens/closes for easy entry into the main seating area; a hand-crank on the propeller; a phone and a flashlight on board at all times; a rear stabilizer wing, and more. Jack is very proud of his creation, as he should be. It attracted lots of oohs and ahhs and served as a great advertisement for a big fundraiser for Cafe Au Play, a non-profit coffeehouse and community center of which Jack’s dad Josh is president of the Board.

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Demonstrating features.
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A phone, flashlight, propeller crank, ropes.

Nice work Jack! Your future in Portland is clear for takeoff!

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This was the fourth of five Sunday Parkways events this summer. Mark your calendars for the next one on September 30th in east Portland. See more photos in the gallery.

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