As part of 4th of July in Bend, our friends said we MUST experience the Freedom Ride at least once! Of course, since the premise of my blog is to experience (almost) everything Bend has to offer and share our experiences, we had to check it out. What a crazy, amazing day it turned out to be!
We started out heading to Pioneer Park from our friend’s house. It was a cool experience riding towards the park with a bunch of other bikers joining us along the way. We even picked up a hitchhiker!
Once we arrived at the park, the scene was like something you might expect at a massive concert. Tons of people & bikes filled the park. We had definitely found the “pre-party” before the ride!
If you are meeting friends, be sure to hook up with them before entering the park. It is super loud & your cell signal will most likely be limited. If all else fails, this was an effective method for finding our peeps!
Red, white & blue was everywhere and crazy outfits were enjoyed by all!
It was pretty awesome when everyone would randomly start chanting “USA, USA…or FREEDOM”! And of course, body painting was a huge hit!
I’m not going to lie, my husband and I were on the older end of the age spectrum compared to the other riders. Heck, our friends are thirty-something and they were even pushing it! LOL So, just know it’s a pretty young crowd, but that doesn’t matter because it is too much fun to miss out on. But be careful, you may just run into your babysitter there!
As the ride starts out, there is a funnel effect as everyone makes their way to the streets with their bikes. Be on the lookout at the beginning of the ride because Boneyard and 10 Barrel pass out a limited number of Freedom Ride hats. It’s a sweet victory if you score one!
This ride is an unsanctioned event, so the city does not close down the streets for the riders. So, if you are not in the ride, avoid downtown at all costs during the ride. Don’t be like this guy….
The streets are swarming with bikes and it can be a little tricky to maneuver around.
Be careful not to fall or you may just get run over! Yes, those are tire marks!
The ride ends in a massive party and takeover of Columbia Park (pirate ship park). Be careful though as this is where the Bend police officers are hanging out as drinking in a public park is not allowed.
After the ride, as the park was getting crazy, we decided to head over to Riverside to keep the party going…along with a bunch of other riders.
On the way back over the bridge, be careful not to fall over when getting squeezed off the sidewalk…this was a graceful one!
Of course, the Freedom Ride isn’t complete without someone in your group jumping off the bridge and into the Deschutes!
Now, that’s how 4th of July is done in Bend! Many great memories to be made at this event each year. This is a “don’t miss event” if you are new to Bend. We’ll see you there next year…Living the Bend Life!