We Ride for FREEDOM!!

5 07 2013

“They may take our lives, but they’ll never take our FREEDOM!!!”
Ok, Braveheart was about a bunch of Scots fighting for their lives, rushing out to battle to die for their freedom.

We were a bunch of sweaty Americans on bikes, dressed in various versions of patriotic attire, riding into downtown Bend to join several thousand other silly people doing the same thing – but still in the name of FREEDOM!!

The Bend 4th of July Freedom Ride has become an iconic event for the city. It is not organized, it is not authorized, it is not condoned by the city, but it is recognized. So recognized, that an estimated four THOUSAND folks showed up last year to loop around downtown and end in a huge pile of partying in Columbia Park. Unorganized.

You can imagine the disruption this causes. Locals know better, but Bend is overflowing with tourists in the summer, and that many bikes completely fill down town. Traffic grinds to a halt, cars get stuck in the middle of it, and pedestrians hoping to cross the street are just out of luck. Police are powerless to stop it, and know they would cause a city-wide riot if they even tried.

4th of July Bend Freedom Ride 2013

And this is an unclogged section! Ride for freedom, ride for MERICUH!

Despite my years in Bend, this was my very first Freedom Ride – YAY! J and I drove up for the occasion, dog and bikes in tow, and prepped for a day full of bar-be-ques, people watching, bike riding, and celebrating our great nation with our great friends. And celebrate we did.

First stop: my sister’s house. J helped her put her bike together, then she and I rode over to my bestie’s house followed by J and Simba in the car. My bestie’s momma is in town visiting from Texas, and she definitely won both Best Dressed and Best Bike. My sister was rocking her Rosie the Riveter outfit, and Ash had found a super patriotic vest to go with her cowgirl hat. I didn’t have much for an outfit, but I did get my hairs did just for the 4th.

4th of July outfits, Bend OR

Us gals during the pre-funk party, gearing up for the REAL party! E-Dawg was best dressed, with Rosie Riveter next to her. A in her patriotic vest next to me and my new hair do. We are READY!

After some ridiculously delicious food, and after the whole gang had arrived, it was time at last to head down to the festivities. We sunscreened up, filled the water bottles (hydration is important people), and mounted up. Forward! For Freedom!

Bend Freedom Ride 2013

Mounted up and ready to go!

The actual ride itself is pretty short and only takes as long as it does because the congestion of bikes causes stop-and-go travel. It’s amazing how this non-event has become well-known enough to draw a crowd just like the actual parade. Music comes from all directions: boom boxes in bike baskets, phones held in the air, the dude playing Jimi Hendrix’s Star Spangled solo on the street corner. People are shouting, whooping, hollering, singing, whistling, chanting.

And the costumes! People wore flags in various ways, wigs, costumes, tutus, bikinis and paint. I saw one woman in shorts and stars painted over her nipples, nothing else! Tons and tons of girls wore just their bikinis, or shorts and the top. Thank the heavens I didn’t see any naked dudes, but I did see a few in their skivvies. We even knew one of these such dudes!

4th of July costumes Bend OR

I think he feels quite free, wouldn’t you say?

We wandered the park at the end of the ride for a while, gaping at people and running into all sorts of friends. I loved being unrecognizable in my sunglasses and hairdo. Made me feel sassy and incognito! Justin has planned to wear his cowboy hat, but when offered this fabulous fro, how could he resist? I almost fell off my bike laughing when I heard him exclaim behind me how nice the wind felt through his hair!

Freedom Ride Bend OR 2013

I want to wear my blue do every day, and doesn’t J look devastatingly handsome in that mop of curls?!

After spending the afternoon with the Freedom Ride crowd, hopping from party in the park to party on the bridge to party at Riverside Market, we finally dispersed. Cops were cleaning up the last of the riff-raff in the park and it was time to eat again. Lucky for us, another of my amazing friends in Bend had invited us to their post-ride bar-be-que. Two in one day? You bet your star spangled banner!

The rest of the evening was spent on the back deck of our friends’ house, rehashing the events of the day. I stuffed myself with more deliciousness, loving the time with friends we don’t see often enough. We sadly had to hit the road to come home and missed the fireworks show, but I think that was a-ok with Simba. He was a nervous wreck just from the backyard fireworks of the neighbors!

This was definitely the best Independence Day I’ve had in a crazy long time. I loved every single minute and was so sad to see the day end! Thank you SO much to all the friends that put us up, fed us, invited us to various festivities, and let us be part of all the shananigans. Yall are the best.

Anyone else participate in the Bend Freedom Ride? Something similar?! Something better?!?!






Give it to me straight -

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