Oregon Manifest in the Oregonian

If you’re already a cyclist in Portland, it was pretty hard to miss the start of Oregon Manifest this past weekend.  Tony Pereira’s entry into the design competition stole the hearts of judges and visitors alike and it was no surprise when they announced him as the winner.

I covered the event for the Oregonian (it ran in today’s paper – on the front page of Metro, I believe) despite being semi-delirious with a sweet little flu that sidelined me for the weekend’s cyclocross opener. You can read the story online here. For the record, though I do have a regular column in the Outdoors section, I am not employed by the Oregonian. I’m a freelancer.

I wanted to take a minute here to say that I don’t select the photography or write the headlines for my articles. Often, with my columns I have a little bit of input for the photography (or shoot it myself), but headlines are written by headline-writing experts.

The photo select for this particular story is pretty interesting. On the one hand, this is journalism and that photo depicts what really happened.  There was beer and bikes and a race.  Tony did celebrate the end of his ride and he really did look just that good doing it.

On the other hand, it’s an open invitation for some of the notoriously vicious Oregonian readers to completely disregard the article, the event, and the intent – and focus instead on a lack of helmet, the presence of a beer, etc.  Was the photo selected for the sake of sparking controversy?  I can’t tell you.  I didn’t choose it.  But I’ll admit to wondering about that myself.

Most of the dialogue in the comments section isn’t really worth reading and I’ve been blogging long enough to understand the effect that offering people a public soapbox with guaranteed anonymity can bring. I think it’s good for us all to keep talking about cycling and addressing the rifts that exist in our city and our state, but I’m pretty sure that the comments section of any online environment is not the place that the most effective conversations are going to happen.

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  1. People with a problem with that photo should feel free to discuss it with me in person over a beer.

  2. color me naïve. i think that is a great photo. tony at his best. glad to hear he won; not that it’s a surprise! that bike was the best of all worlds. –patrick

  3. While I love that photo of Tony, I couldn’t help but have the same reservations when I saw it. Sometimes I just don’t understand what the Oregonian photo editors are thinking. It did capture the spirit of celebration, but it also made it seem like a race with “drinking and driving” and no helmets.

    It’s too bad because it sours an otherwise lovely article on the event. It took focus away from the idea of craft that the event captured and focused it on more of the same bike-fun-party-ness that is secondary to most of the Manifest.

    Great job on your end!

  4. I’m glad they ran that picture. It’s how it was. For what it’s worth, I’m now firmly in the “wear a freakin’ helmet” camp after getting hit by a truck this summer (from behind while riding in the country). I took my helmet off when I changed into my party clothes and decided to ride ALL THE WAY AROUND THE BLOCK without it. I knew it would be controversial–I see the helmet comments on every bike article out there, but c’mon…I had just finished riding 76.5 miles. I hit 40mph on a gravel descent. Making it around the block without a helmet was not a concern. As for the beer, I might have had one sip before rolling into the party. Lighten up people. I am on Team Beer after all.
    Thanks Heidi.
    P.S. I’m replying here because I don’t want to feed the trolls.

  5. Last time I checked, this was (er..IS) a country with freedom of choice. Glad to see the cover shot. I didn’t think anything about the beer and no helmet. looked like a typical day in Holland!

  6. Bob Griepenburg

    The photo is awesome! Don’t let the “trolls” ruin the moment in time that this photo captures.

  7. I thought the pic was very nice. But yeah, the O’s comments section always brings out the trolls, and trolls are notorious for being extremely resistant to common sense and intelligence. Oh well.

    Great article, Heidi!

  8. Hey Tony great picture and congratulations on your win. ‘Nuff said.

  9. I kept reading it as Oregon Manfest and thinking hmm..that might be something I should know about….

    wow I must be tired!


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