Motorcycles roar through Portland back alleys

Motorcycles roar through Portland back alleys

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by Wayne Havrelly, KGW Staff

kgw.com

Posted on April 19, 2014 at 4:20 PM

Updated Saturday, Apr 19 at 7:03 PM

PORTLAND -- It's the only motorcycle rally of it's kind, anywhere. 

The annual 'Alley Sweeper' rally sends motorcycles down Portland's public back alleys. Organizers say it promotes awareness and safety. But others aren't happy with hundreds of motorcycles roaring through the alleys. 

"We get to explore parts of Portland that most people don't get a chance to," said 'Alley Sweeper' organizer Patrick Leyshock. 

"You kind of feel like you're riding on the countryside," said rider Andy Parker. 

But it's not the country. This uniquely Portland motorcycle event runs through the city's public alley ways.

"I've been listening to this noise all morning long, this is crazy and wrong," said Northeast Portland resident Melinda Williams. 

Some neighbors don't appreciate seeing adventure riders, who typically ride in small groups in rural areas, whizzing by their back alley garages and yards. 

"There are children, they play in the yards,"said Mark Knutson, who lives next door to Williams.  "Having motorcycles flying through here in mass, is not safe or right."

Alley Sweeper organizers belong to the "Sang Froid Riding Club."  It's a Portland motorcycle club that promotes safe motorcycle riding and caters to what are called dual-sport riders, who ride both on and off road. 

They believe this event, which is in it's fifth year and largely attracts older, experienced riders, promotes safety.  

"It's to promote motorcycle awareness and all these alleys are here for public access," said organizer Eric Nordquist. "It's a social event for riders and those who enjoy watching."

"The people you see here are very skilled, the kind of riders are ones who have covered vast distances," said rider Eric Nordquist.  

Colin Uhrick is a good example of that. He recently traveled more than 27,000 miles with his wife on their two motorcycles that look like scooters, but he calls "small bikes" because they are not automatics. 

"Big bikes are more popular, but small bikes are the way to go because you get 110 miles per gallon and we have proven you can go anywhere," said Uhrick, who blogged about his adventure.

Not all neighbors opposed the ride.

"It doesn't bother me and they seem to be friendly and are enjoying themselves," said Wanda Clark, who lives in Northeast Portland. 

At least one neighbor plans to pressure city leaders to cancel the event. 

Event organizers say it's unfortunate that some people are not happy with their event. 

"This ride happens just once a year and we will probably be in your back alley for about 20 minutes, you can be a part of the fun or not," said Leyshock.

For more information about the ride, click here: sang-froidridingclub.com

 

 

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