By Jason Vondersmith
The Portland Tribune
Twenty years ago, Rick Bauman lost an election.
He had finally kicked the habit.
“It’s been one of the mysteries of my life,” says Bauman, a longtime Portlander, chuckling. “It’s like being a drunk. You’re always an alcoholic, even if you’re sober for 20 years.
“I’ve been politics-free for 20 years now. But, it still comes back to haunt me.”
Bauman left a career that saw him serve eight years in the Oregon Legislature and four more with the Multnomah County Commission, until his unseating in 1992.
The progressive Democrat also ran against Bob Packwood for the U.S. Senate in 1986, after another candidate had to withdraw over campaign finance violations, and he grabbed 42 percent of the vote.
It’s all a distance memory. About the time Bauman was shown the door in politics, he started doing long distance bicycle rides. He rode from his parents’ home in northern Wisconsin to his home in Portland, where he had moved in the early 1970s and graduated from Portland State University with the hopes of working in medical research.
Then, it was through the Yukon and to Fairbanks. Then, Key West to Wisconsin. Then, through the Canadian Rockies.
In all, it was four summer vacations of pedaling the equivalent of a trip across the continent.
Bauman was hooked, and he has gone on to become one of the paragons of the Portland bicycling community and beyond. He rode solo through south and north Vietnam, and organized the first of what has become dozens of trips in foreign lands — in 1994, he and about 59 others became the first Americans to cross from the northern part of Vietnam to the southern part of Vietnam since the end of the Vietnam War.
Other tours have taken him back to Southeast Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Cuba.
A great living
Then Bauman started a little ride called the Bridge Pedal, which 17 years later has grown to become the third-largest community ride in the world. About 18,000 bicyclists will tour Portland’s bridges Sunday, Aug. 12.
He even organized a bike ride in Washington, D.C., where he lives part of the year with his wife, Ginnie Cooper, chief librarian of District of Columbia Public Library, who has become an avid cyclist herself.
The couple doesn’t own a car in D.C.; they rent their parking space to Flexcar, and then just rent a Flexcar when needed.
Every morning, Bauman,
To read the whole story, visit here: http://www.koinlocal6.com/news/local/story/Bridge-Pedal-founder-Rick-Bauman-sees-the-world/7gJunVUlYUi7ofdPFBwaMQ.cspx
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