Every June, Pedalpalooza hosts 3 weeks of fun and original bicycle events. The rides are an eclectic array and typically include scavenger hunts, costume rides, casual tours, pub crawls, and the world-famous naked bicycle ride. Not to miss out on the fun, TCWC hosted a Pedalplooza bike tour for the third year in a row on June 14.
Biking around the watershed has proven to be a fun way to tour projects sites while also being an effective educational tool. Riding allows participants to experience firsthand how things such as canopy cover, topography, and impervious surfaces affect Tryon Creek. When you climb up a hill on a bike and ride down the other side, you start to understand where water drains and how creeks form. When you experience the temperature drop as you travel from the urban bike lanes to a forested bike path, you can feel how canopy cover affects water temperature. All of these elements make for an interesting and enjoyable event that TCWC looks forward to every year.
This year, we met up at Riverdale High School and greeted our riders. After fueling up with fruit bars and water, the group took off downhill to its first stop along Boone’s Ferry to check out the culvert near Arnold Creek. This led to a discussion on how culverts affect fish passages and how the visible invasive species impact habitat. Next, it was a uphill section up to the next culvert near the Meadowview site. Stopping here provided yet another example of an urban culvert and also showed a good example of a shared HOA space restoration project.
The group continued up 19th Avenue, crossing into Lake Oswego, to check out the meadow ecosystem on top of the hill. After all that climbing, the group was rewarded with some downhill, and made a pitstop at the Lake Oswego United Church of Christ to check out their rain gardens. Continuing down Atwater road, we stopped at an old homestead site along Nettle Creek to look at the invasive species that are overtaking the area.
From there, the group stopped at the Atwater/Andrews trailhead to Tryon Creek State Park to take a look at the new Nettle Creek Bridge. On the 2014 Pedalpalooza tour, the Stone Bridge was still in place so it was exciting to show the big changes at the site within the past year. The group enjoyed the short hike down to the bridge and the coolness provided by the creek and trees. This site was a great opportunity to learn about culvert replacement and the engineering to create riffles and pools post-construction.
The heat was getting to the group (not much canopy cover in the urban areas!) and many riders were low on water. Fortunately, we were able to make friends with some Lake Oswego residents who let us fill up at their garden hose (thank you!). Fully hydrated, the group continued to coast downhill and rode under the Highway 43 railroad tracks to check out the confluence of Tryon Creek and the Willamette. Everyone stopped to look at the Highway 43 culvert and discussed the limitations it puts on fish passage overall in the upper regions of Tryon.
Our last stop was Tryon Cove Park where the group enjoyed some snacks and the water while looking at the mouth of Tryon Creek. The local geese seemed pretty interested in our snacks and kept a close eye on us as we lounged by the water. After relaxing, the group hopped back on their bikes to ride the forested bike path along Terwilliger back up to Riverdale High School.
Overall, this was a fantastic trip that combined exercise, community, and learning! Thank you to everyone who attended this year and we look forward to hosting another Pedalpalooza event in 2016!