If anything, the Instagram posts reenforced to friends and family that Portland truly is weird. It was a Sunday morning and Bev and I had gone for a fifteen mile bike ride with a bunch of strangers dressed like dogs. When in Rome, they say, and so it must go. When in Portland, dress like a dog and ride in the “Tour de Lab”.
For the uninitiated, the Tour de Lab is a fundraising event for Dove Lewis sponsored primarily by Lucky Labrador Brewing Company in Portland. The race is aptly named. For a fee, you and several hundred other riders ride from the pub on SE Hawthorne and take a biking tour of various Lucky Labs in town. There are four, and if you so choose, you can take the “Big Dog” route which visits the Southwest location in Multnomah Village. That route adds twenty additional miles by way of Lake Oswego and about 2,000 feet in elevation up and down the West Hills. If you so choose, that is. I chose not to and Bev graciously rode alongside me in the slightly embarrassingly named “Puppy Ride”, a relatively flat jaunt across the river over to the Northwest location on Quimby and then up into North Portland before meandering back to Hawthorne and the Inner SE neighborhoods.
It can truly be said that the folks at Lucky Lab have a great sense of humor about the whole thing. At their location on NW Quimby and again on Killingsworth, the pubs were handing out dog ears that you could wear on your head (harder than you would think with a helmet on) and plastic dog noses that you wear around your face with an elastic band. The porta-potties were festooned with paper cut-outs of fire hydrants, and the included barbecue at the finish line (hot dogs, of course) featured condiments and desert served in large dog bowls. The above mentioned Instagram moment came from a moment of creativity (brilliance? insanity?) enjoying a mid-ride Hopperopolis while my wife tried to teach me the proper method for selfie taking.
It’s true what they say about old dogs and new tricks.
Puns (and creative use of a plastic dog nose) aside, rides and runs like these are an enjoyable way to help raise money for some really worthy causes. While the Shamrock Run and the Race for a Cure are the more well known events here in town, there are often events such as Race for the Roses or Tour de Lab that support local charities (Albertina Kerr and Dove Lewis, respectively) that are smaller in stature (at least compared to the tidal wave of humanity that is the Shamrock Run).