Over the years, the “Worst Day of the Year” Ride has been plagued by one particularly ironic issue: Good, or moderately decent, weather. John Thompson, veteran “Worst Day” rider, has participated in all but one of the 10 years the ride has been around. He credits his participation in the annual ride for charity as an opportunity to give back to the community and keep fit in the winter.
“I enjoy having a good excuse to get out on the bike in the middle of February with hundreds/thousands of other riders looking to have a good time. The Worst Day ride always promises bad weather but the image that sticks out in my mind is riding south out of the last rest stop into bright sunlight. What’s with that?”
John got his first bike (a Schwinn) in college when he was living in Riverside, California, a place where a “Worst Day” ride would have called for a “chilly,” mostly sunny, 65-degree day. Since moving to Portland, John has learned to appreciate the spirit of challenging the elements.
We caught up with John and his wife as they prepared to hit the road again this year and followed them as they made their way to the start.
This year, the ride attracted over 4,000 riders from around the Northwest and as far away as Colorado and Texas.
Next year’s ride is a whole year away, but keep an eye out on the Worst Day Ride website as registration this year was capped at 4,000. You won’t want to miss the worst day of the next year.
Oh, and just in case you were wondering, they named the penguin mascot, “Puddles.” How appropriately cute.