Portland’s latest bridge, the Tilikum Crossing, won’t open until late next year. But if you’re a bicyclist, you can access the bridge before the rest of the public during the 20th annual Providence Bridge Pedal.
Registration for the event opened at noon Monday, and next year’s participants will have the chance to pedal across the new bridge more than a month before it officially opens to the public on Sept. 12.
All four possible routes will cross the Tilikum, so organizers are capping the number of participants at 20,000 to reduce bike congestion.
“Because we are marking 20 years and cyclists have the opportunity to ride across the Tilikum Crossing, we’re anticipating a lot of interest,” said Rick Bauman, an event organizer in a statement. “We’re encouraging people to register early to ensure they get to do the ride they want at the time they prefer.”
Bridge Pedal just started enforcing a cap in 2013. Last year’s cap limited the ride to 18,500 for all routes to ensure that all participants could cross the Fremont Bridge before it closed to bicyclists. The Oregonian reported that some 2,000 riders didn’t make it across in 2012.
As OPB reported, Tilikum Crossing was named in April after receiving almost 9,500 submissions and 3,000 comments by the public. Tilikum means “people, tribes and relatives” in Chinook Wawa, a language that TriMet says was used by the first Oregonians.
The bridge is the first to be built over the Willamette River in more than 40 years. And it’s the first cable-stayed bridge in the Pacific Northwest.