Aaron Bailey’s jaw dropped as he pedaled furiously on the antique contraption before him only to see a saw blade hammer away with ferocity Sunday afternoon at the Pedalpalooza event along the Corvallis riverfront.
“That was a lot easier than I expected,” the 11-year-old Franklin School student said after stepping away from the antique pedal-powered coping saw on display at the event. “When I first started it was hard but it got easier. I don’t know how it shook up and down, but it was fun. I had no idea I could do that by pedaling.”
The human-powered machine is easier to use than riding a bike, said Greg Wilson, Transportation Options Program coordinator for Corvallis.
“It’s like walking and chewing gum,” he said with a laugh. “You can do a lot of creative things with pedal power. And it’s a fun way to engage kids and families.”
From the coping saw to spin art, dozens of pedal-powered gadgets both antique and brand-new were on display at the Corvallis Riverfront Park for the Corvallis Sustainability Coalition’s sixth annual Car Free Day, which was renamed this year to Pedalpalooza. The event, which celebrates transportation options and all things pedal-powered, honors World Car Free Day on Sept. 22. World Car Free Day asks residents to give up their cars for one day and find alternative transportation.
“People move to Corvallis because it’s so bike friendly. But there’s a lot more that you can do with pedal power than biking,” Wilson said.
Pedalpalooza featured pedal-powered ice cream carts, the Corvallis-Benton County Library Bookmobile, an Oregon State University-designed rainwater harvester, and a grain wheel by the OSU Moore Family Center. In addition to the gadgets, the Sunday event featured a car-free storytime parade, a bicycle pump track and a slow race challenging cyclists to be the last to the finish line. More than a dozen companies in attendance Sunday highlighted the benefits of utilizing pedal power. Peak Sports provided electric-assisted bicycles, Corvallis Spring Roll showed kids how to transition from training wheels to independent riding, Corvallis Right of Way answered questions on Corvallis traffic questions, Corvallis Pedicab chauffeured visitors from one end of the festival to the other and SoupCycle allowed guests to sample items typically delivered by bike.
“We have the highest bike commute rate in the country,” said Wilson, citing a 2009 American Community Survey by the U.S. Census Bureau that found 9.3 percent of Corvallis residents bike to work. “So people are already using bikes for transportation. But there’s so much more out there, too, and that’s what Pedalpalooza is all about.”