Founders Day celebrates the May 2nd meeting that established the Provisional Government in 1843.
As one of the first acts of the nascent Oregon Historical Society, Governor Theodore Thurston Geer agreed to locate the site of the meeting that had been so pivotal in organizing the Oregon Territory.
When on May 1st, 1900 Governor Geer visited Champoeg to meet F.X. Matthieu, believed to to have been the only remaining survivor of those meetings, he biked.
Geer in fact biked a good bit, and as Governor-elect in 1898, he and his biking was headline news.
And once in office, in February 1899 he signed into law Oregon's first Bike Bill.
A decade later, as an early adopter he'd moved on to automobiles. But in his 1911 memoir, Fifty Years in Oregon, he wrote fondly about the May, 1900 bike ride:
I shall never forget that beautiful ride from Salem to Champoeg. It was a perfect day, with a firm north breeze, not a cloud in the sky; the roads were in good condition, the crops were growing splendidly, birds were singing everywhere, seemingly to be in harmony with Nature’s glad mood – it was, in short, just that sort of day which is known in all its wealth of joy, beauty, and inspiration only in the Willamette valley in the spring and summer months.So as you're out and about in the lovely May sun, and admiring "Nature's glad mood," think of our first bicycling Governor!