This ride report is written by 2022’s ride leader, Shawn Granton
I’ve been involved with Portland’s Tweed Ride for a decade. That’s a pretty long time. When I became one of the organizers in 2012, the first group of Tweedistas, responsible for putting on the first three rides (one in 2010, two in 2011), were stepping down. There have been many good folks involved over the years, yet somehow I stayed on board. I’ve also seen the initial enthusiasm for all things Tweed taper off. The early Tweed Rides numbered in the hundreds, the last time we had a ride (2019), it was down to 30.
Had people stopped caring about the Tweed Ride?
Before I could get an answer to that question, pandemic got in the way. The “great shutdown” happened in March 2020, a few weeks before the planned 2020 ride. Plans were put on hold. Things were better in April 2021, but not good enough. I wasn’t confident hosting an event until people got vaccinated and case numbers went down. Omicron was definitely a concern going into 2022, but numbers had decreased by February. It was time for a Tweed Ride again. Would anyone come?
I admittedly did not put a lot of energy into the 2022 Tweed Ride. I was busy with other things, and I lacked enthusiasm or help. We did get some postcards made (thanks to Meagan for the art!) and I did some route work, but that was it. Promotion was light, though we did get a good signal boost from Bike Portland.
Sunday morning, April 3. Emee and I were prepared to ride the Tweed Ride on our own. Thankfully there were people there, and by the time the ride was ready to roll, we had over 30 people. While that’s about the same number we had in 2019, it definitely felt different.
We left a little after noon. After fretting about a pretty dire forecast, the weather turned out good: partly cloudy, a high of 55F/13C. Perfect Tweed weather. The ride was a hair under ten miles (16 km), a meander south from Grant Park into SE, with a brief Lone Fir Cemetery excursion and some “hot laps” around Ladd Circle. We crossed the Willamette at Tilikum Crossing, then headed north along the river until we got to the endpoint, The Fields Park. We were greeted by a cameraman from KOIN 6 news. (They got wind of the ride at the last minute!) People pulled out their picnic gear and imbibed on tea and snacks.
All in all it was fun. People do still want to do Tweed. This heartens me, and inspires me to hang in there for at least another year. I still want to “pass the baton” over to someone at some point–I’m not going to turn into a Tweed Ride planning lifer. It will be nice at some point to merely show up and enjoy the experience. We just need folks to step up.