Eric and I decided it was time that we led a Pedalpalooza tour. For those of you who aren’t usual Portland cyclists, Pedalpalooza is a three-week bike festival in June. Some rides are practical and educational, like the NE Urban Farm Tour and Touring for Women, but most are just for ridiculous fun, like the Price VS. Bowie ride. Eric and I have participated for years (Pedalpalooza 2012 was the courtship before we started dating) and there becomes a time in every serious PDX cyclist’s life when you become obligated to give back to the bike fun community. What in particular did we have to share? We’ve gained some knowledge of some plants people might want to eat.
At first I was scared no one would come. (Does anyone else give a damn about urban edibles or are we just particular dorks?) Then I heard rumblings of interest and I became afraid too many people would come and no one would be able to hear our plant identifications over the thunderous noise of a hundred bikes. I decided fifteen people would be ideal.
It rained. Not normal Portland rain. The seasonal rain you get where it rains seriously. Over thirty people showed up, with a sound system and a small dog. And most of them stayed with us through the rain (it slowed to a drizzle) for two hours! The last stop was Reed College and we asked people to self-select themselves out, because Reed has spent great effort restoring their fragile riparian ecosystem and thirty pairs of feet would be stressful on the native flora. That got us down to the ideal size of approximately fifteen people that stayed one more hour with us listening to us talk about plants.
I was so honored.
For those of you following along at home, here’s a guide to our ride.
- Japanese knotweed!
- Himalayan blackberry*!
- Oregon grape
- California poppy
- Blue elderberry (flowers)
- Lemon balm and other mints
- Various dock
*Not in season but we will go over identification and show you some sweet spots
!Horrible evil invasive. Eat it until it dies forever.
Bonus plants from final stop (Reed College)
- Stalking the Wild Asparagus Euell Gibbons
- Dandelion Hunter Rebecca Lerner (NW) (http://firstways.com/)
- Edible Wild Plants John Kalllas (NW)
Backyard Foraging Ellen Zachos