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He was worried about bike share’s impact on his business, now he profits from it

Bike Portland - 10 hours 8 min ago

Evan Ross, owner of Cycle Portland bike shop, tours, and rentals on SW 2nd Avenue.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Evan Ross is a serial cycling entrepreneur who understands the local bike scene and how to create a viable business around it. That intuition served him well when the idea of cheap bike rentals available in seconds from a mobile app was first pondered in Portland.

“I started my business to get more people riding bikes. Biketown works toward that same goal, so it’s hard for me to be a hater.”
— Evan Ross, Cycle Portland

Ross founded his bike shop and tour business in 2008. That’s right around the time the City of Portland’s efforts to start a bike share program were heating up. Lucky for Ross he had a bit of time before any bike share system would hit the ground. Portland infamously stalled on the program several times before finally launching Biketown in 2016.

From the get-go, Ross knew it would impact his business. “I was scared; but I saw it coming and I had time to adapt my fleet,” he said during a chat with him outside his retail showroom on SW 2nd Avenue in Old Town yesterday. I’ve known Ross for years and can recall being a bit surprised when he didn’t share my enthusiasm for bike share. A dedicated bike advocate and former member of the City’s Bicycle Advisory Committee, Ross wasn’t as excited about the idea as other advocates I knew.

“I knew my rental numbers would go down. That was always the threat with Biketown,” he shared.

And Ross was right. His revenue did go down. But he didn’t let that stop him from turning it into a positive.

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Earlier this week, Ross announced an official partnership with the City of Portland to lead “Biketown Tours”. “Using public bikeshare you’ll cruise the waterfront bike path, discover Portland’s past and present, and ease into city riding with our experienced guides in America’s bike capital,” reads the copy on his new BiketownTours.com website.

For Ross, the third time was indeed the charm. The tours come after two previous attempts to work with Biketown fizzled out. He first hoped to get the maintenance contract for the fleet, then he tried to position his shop as the official helmet and map supplier for Biketown users. Neither of those came to fruition, but Ross maintained a working relationship with bike share program staff. And he remained optimistic.

I asked Ross how he went from seeing Biketown as a threat, to embracing it as a partner. “I realized bike share companies are really good at supplying bikes, but not in curating routes and building a connection to the local community,” he said. “Then I had this epiphany when I realized I spend a lot of time maintaining my fleet, and if I can outsource the maintenance of the bikes, but still provide the tour, it would be a bit advantage to me. I’d save wear-and-tear on my bikes — and not have to store, fix, or buy them in the first place.”

And there were also philosophical reasons for the partnership. “I started my business to get more people riding bikes,” Ross said. “Biketown works toward that same goal, so it’s hard for me to be a hater.”

Biketown (which is operated by Motivate, Inc., a Lyft company) loves the tours because Cycle Portland’s guide staff acts as a concierge to their system. The guides helps riders with rental checkout (including how to push the buttons on the keypad so they respond), offer tips and advice on how to stay comfortable on the bike (saddle adjustment is key), and they educate new riders about safety and rules of the road.

The $20 tours last about an hour and depart from the plaza in front of Voodoo Donuts on SW 3rd Avenue and Burnside. Riders get a $5 discount on their Biketown rental when they sign up. Learn more at BiketownTours.com.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org

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Weekend Event Guide: Sandy Ridge, local architecture, burgers in Sellwood, and more

Bike Portland - 11 hours 22 min ago

Join the Intro to Sandy Ridge ride and you’ll be flowing down the trails like this in no time.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

The Weekend Event Guide is made possible by support from readers like you. Please subscribe today.

I feel like things are eerily quiet on the calendar this weekend. There are things to do, but my senses tell me this is the calm before the storm of Pedalpalooza which starts next Saturday (June 1st). But as I like to say, “Tis better to take one in hand then two in the bush,” (pretty sure that’s an old hunting maxim) so you should get out there now because you never know what will happen by next weekend.

Friday, May 24th

ABC Latinx Mechanix Night – 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm at Anando en Bicicletas y Caminando (NE)
Únase a nosotros para nuestras noches de mecánico voluntario para hispanohablantes. More info here.

Rat Patrol Ride – 8:00 pm at Irving Park (NE)
These warm nights are best spent on bikes with the wind in your hair and good people in your view. Join this “inclusive bunch of misfits” that call themselves a bike club and be ready to have fun. Note: 8pm is meetup time, ride rolls out at 9. More info here.

Saturday, May 25th

Biking About Architecture, NoPo Edition – 11:00 am at Arrow Coffeehouse (NE)
Roll around with a fun group and learn about interesting and quirky neighborhood architecture. More info here.

Sandy Ridge Intro Tour – 1:30 pm at Sandy Ridge MTB Trail System
A great opportunity to get your feet dirty on these popular “local” trails. NW Trail Alliance will lead the way toward the easiest trails and show you how to gain confidence to master them (and move onto more difficult ones!). More info here.

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Sauvie Shootout – 9:00 am at Ovation Coffee & Tea (NW)
Join the fastest, largest local training ride Portland has to offer. Route runs out to Sauvie Island via Highway 30 and returns via NW Newberry and Skyline. Get it! More info here.

Bike and Burger on the Eastside – 10:00 am at Gresham City Park (E)
Ride about 32 miles from Gresham to Sellwood via the Eastbank Esplanade for a stop at Killer Burger. Return on the Springwater. Ride is led by Portland Bicycling Club. More info here.

Kidical Mass PDX – 1:30 pm at Gabriel Park – (SW)
Join other families and kids for a group ride from Gabriel Park to Alpenrose Velodrome. Ample time for play and treat stops along the way. More info here.

Stay plugged into all the bike and transportation-related events around the region via our comprehensive event calendar.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org

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Editorial: The tragedy of North Greeley Avenue

Bike Portland - 12 hours 17 min ago

The Greeley Freeway. Yesterday’s collision occurred near the rear of that white truck on the left.
(Note: Red line is where concrete jersey-barrier protected lane is slated to be built.)
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Yesterday morning around 9:00 am two people died in a collision on North Greeley Avenue. Police say one of the victims, the driver of a sedan, crossed the centerline. That person’s car was hit by another driver and both people in the sedan died as a result of the impact.

While no bicycle user was involved in this crash, I can’t stop thinking about what happened (see aftermath below).

PBOT says the project (initially promised to be completed two years ago) will also, “increase the buffer between opposing traffic lanes.”

Most of you know the conditions on Greeley and its dubious history as a dangerous road. People drive 50-plus miles per hour on it part because of its industrial location, wide and straight lanes, and direct connection to an Interstate 5 on-ramp. It has been a major concern of bicycle riders for years. Despite it’s stressful conditions, it provides a seductively direct and fast connection to downtown. The downside (and it’s a big one), is that it requires bicycle users to use relatively narrow, unprotected bike lanes that merge across a death-defying freeway ramp. There has been at least one very serious injury collision and a lawsuit that accused the City of Portland of negligence.

And, as we’ve seen with other fatal traffic crashes this year, PBOT has a project planned at this location that would make the street safer.

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Portland Police confirm at least 2 fatalities in a car crash on N Greeley Ave just south of Going St.

Greeley is closed as the investigation is ongoing #LiveOnK2 #PDXTraffic pic.twitter.com/5Dldd9LayV

— Evan Bell (@evanbellKATU) May 22, 2019

PBOT had initially planned to have this section of Greeley repaved and reconfigured by summer of 2017. The $1.9 million project will include a concrete jersey barrier to on the east side to protect vulnerable users from drivers. On their website, PBOT says the project will also, “increase the buffer between opposing traffic lanes.”

Unfortunately, this vitally important project has been delayed more than once. PBOT said a contracting glitch set it back a year and it would be completed in summer 2018. Then they said they ran out of time to get a quality bid and it was pushed back again. Their latest promise is that it will be done sometime this summer.

Too many people think Vision Zero is all about biking and walking. It isn’t. It’s just that biking and walking advocates are the only ones who show up and speak up. As a driver, I never have to plead and beg for respect and safe conditions. I never have to sit on volunteer committees to make sure my interests are spoken for. The system takes care of drivers by default. It’s just one more manifestation of driving privilege.

The hard truth is that the things many people want when they’re driving (speed and access to every road at all times without impediments) are directly opposed to their own safety, and the safety of everyone else on the road with them.

Two people died on Greeley yesterday. It’s a tragedy we all feel. An urgency to gain control of our streets — and take steps required to mitigate dangerous driving and the unsafe designs that encourage it — is something we must all feel too.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org

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Ask BikePortland: What’s the best way to carry a dog on my bike?

Bike Portland - 14 hours 30 min ago

There are many ways to carry dogs. (Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

With summer in the air and June just a few days away, it’s officially biking-with-your-dog season in Portland.

Mac and Rainbow.

But it’s not always as easy as plopping pup in a pannier and pedaling away. Some dogs need to be coaxed, others just need the right place to sit so they feel comfortable.

I recently met Mac Bishop, founder of Wool & Prince, a southeast Portland-based company that sells merino wool apparel (which is great for biking!). Mac wants to ride; but he has to look after his three-year-old Bernese mountain dog, Rainbow (who has her own Instagram account). “I bring Rainbow to work and haven’t found a good way to bike with her, so unfortunately I drive everyday,” he said. “I would bike if I could find a way to tow her.”

Complicating matters further is the fact that Rainbow weighs 90 pounds. Given her size, a basket or rack would be too small. Some sort of trailer might be the best option. A cargo bike with a big front box might work (see photos below). There’s also the option of setting up a leash and having the dog run alongside; but I’d consider that an advanced skill that isn’t for everyone.

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Another complication is that so far Rainbow has been skittish about whole idea. “I tried an old Burley trailer, but she wouldn’t get close to it, and forcing her to do anything is a bit of a nightmare,” Mac said.

Let’s help Mac and Rainbow get rolling! What method of dog-carrying do you think would work best for them? Do you ride with a large dog? Do you have experience getting a dog to relax and feel comfortable being pulled around? What worked for you?

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org

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World Naked Bike Ride coming to Laurelhurst Park June 29th

Bike Portland - 16 hours 14 min ago

Riders mass on SE Water Avenue prior to the 2012 edition of the ride.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

The local edition of the World Naked Bike Ride, Portland’s annual clothing-optional gathering that celebrates human-powered transport and the vulnerability of people who do it, will start from Laurelhurst Park. The 16th edition of the ride happens on June 29th at 8:00 pm.

Volunteer behind the event have been working hard to make sure everything goes off without a hitch. They’ve also booked the March Fourth Marching Band to help boost spirits and get everyone in the mood (while you listen to the band, consider a stop at the temporary tattoo station).

Here are a few other you should know about this year’s ride:

Join the team. Despite its size (both in number of riders and cultural influence), WNBR is run by just a few dedicated people. And they need your help! If you’d like to volunteer as a tip-taker, ride marshal/medic/mechanic, or a greeter at the end to help people find after parties and answer questions, sign up for shift here.

Don’t drive to the start. The Laurelhurst neighborhood cannot handle a massive influx of automobiles. And besides, the ride is a protest against oil dependency.

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Bring cash. You’ll want bills to buy official WNBR souvenirs and to donate to the wonderfully scrappy crew that puts it together. One of the lead organizers told me, “If everyone donated $1, we’d be able to pay for the next year’s ride.”

Don’t litter. The park and end location must be left spotless. Please don’t be that person who leaves a mess.

If you see something, say something. If someone makes you uncomfortable during the event, report it to a ride volunteer.

— For the latest updates and to RSVP, follow the WNBR Facebook page (more RSVPs will help boost the post on Facebook).

This event is a treasure. We are grateful for the people who work behind the scenes to make it so magical!

Have you done it? Do you plan on it? For those readers who haven’t yet, what do you think is the best thing about WNBR? (Feel free to ask questions in the comments, myself and others will be happy to answer them.)

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org

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Biking increased 32% thanks to downtown Bellevue bike lane + City will keep it, debates expanding network

Seattle Bike Blog - Wed, 05/22/2019 - 15:20

From the 108th Ave NE Demo Bikeway Assessment (PDF)

The City of Bellevue may have just conducted the most thorough study of a bike lane pilot project ever. The 31-page report (PDF) about the 108th Ave NE bike lane in the Eastside city’s downtown core found that bicycling increased 32%, sidewalk biking rate was reduced by more than 60% and zero collisions involving people biking have been reported.

And these results come from a bike lane design that is not even fully protected. Some sections only have paint, and one pinch point section even requires mixing with general traffic. So these results still have room to improve.

The Bellevue City Council voted last week to keep the pilot bike lane. But the city is also learning from what they observed and from survey results to make it better. And the city is also looking at how to best create an east-west protected bike lane connection, likely on Main Street. Cascade Bicycle Club has a handy online form so you can let Bellevue know you support their bike lane work and would like to see it grow to Main.

Protected bike lanes work best, say people … driving?

The extensive studying also turned up some possibly surprising results. For example, their survey found that people feel most comfortable when bike lanes are separated and protected whether they are biking or driving:

Level of Traffic Stress

The study also included a Level of Traffic Stress analysis, which is based on comparing measured vehicle speeds and volumes to the level of bike protection provided. Segments are rated from 1 to 4, with one being “all ages and abilities” and 4 being “fearless adults.” So, for example, a slow residential street with very low traffic volumes might get LTS 1 even without bike lanes. But a busy street (like a downtown street) would need a significant level of protection to get the same rating.

Using this analysis, Bellevue’s transportation staff determined that only a few segments of the pilot bike lane get the top rating, and no intersection rises above LTS 3. So they are being very transparent about where they have room for improvement, which is great:

I wonder how Seattle’s 35th Ave NE street designs would have compared under this analysis system, for example. Perhaps SDOT should consider this as a tool for explaining bike elements of their projects.

Maybe this analysis of the 108th Ave NE pilot project is way overkill. But then again, now we have answers and hard data for essentially every question someone could ask. Did it increase travel times for people driving? No. Did it slow buses? No (it actually improved bus times). Did it increase collisions? No. Did the extra protection really help the bike lane work better? Yes. Did the lane attract bike share trips? Yes. Did it decrease sidewalk biking? Yes.

Hopefully the city can also extrapolate the results of this study to inform their other needed bike lanes, since they can’t (or shouldn’t) spend this much time, energy and funding on every single bike lane. Bellevue has a lot of work to do before they have a connected network of bike routes that hit LTS 1 or 2, but this is a great study to stand on when designing and building them.

Elevated Green Loop path emerges from latest Broadway Corridor plans

Bike Portland - Wed, 05/22/2019 - 11:18

Rendering of Green Loop path through Broadway Corridor site. Broadway Bridge in upper right.
(ZGF Architects)

The flyover lives.

New renderings and details for the Green Loop through the Broadway Corridor project site have been made available by architects working on the project. They include our most detailed view yet of how the path will navigate from the Parks Blocks, through the site, and up to the 30-foot high junction at NW Lovejoy and the Broadway Bridge.

After a general planning concept was adopted earlier this month, ZGF Architects has just submitted drawings for the site to the City Auditor’s Office in advance of a Design Commissioner meeting set for June 6th. ZGF has been working on the site plan with Portland’s development agency, Prosper Portland, since 2015.

The Green Loop — a project to create a carfree pathway around the central city — figures into this project because the alignment of the path goes right through it. The drawings released today offer us brand new details about how the Green Loop will be designed through the Broadway Corridor site — including an 83-foot long bridge that would go over NW Johnson Street.

Here’s a description from ZGF:

“The Green Loop will approach the USPS site from the south along the North Park Blocks, gradually climbing at the north end of the central open space to a bridge crossing of Johnson Street. North of Johnson, the Green Loop continues as an elevated bridge to the intersection of the Lovejoy and Broadway Bridge ramps. The ramp will be integrated with landscape and an active retail facility, providing a significant placemaking opportunity.”

The drawing below shows elevation (in pink) and dimensions (in black):

The green-and-pink striped lines are “bicycle and pedestrian access ways” which will help people access the Green Loop from surface streets:

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ZGF shared these images as examples of the design of the path and adjacent landscape:

In the “Bicycle Circulation” drawing below, note the NW Johnson neighborhood greenway and how the Green Loop connects directly to North Park Blocks:

The sketch below shows a view looking north at the future site. Note how the ramp would take you from NW 9th, through the site and onto the bridge:

Here’s what ZGF added to give context to the drawing above:

“The preferred concept brings the existing two-way Park Avenue north from Hoyt Street to Johnson Street, helping to connect the North Park Blocks to the Johnson Street Neighborhood Greenway… The street will have active ground floors of buildings at its western edge, with a pedestrian focused woonerf street serving one lane in each direction. At the east edge of the street, the Green Loop will transition from Park Avenue to the Park Block, where it will climb north and up over Johnson Street on a landscaped switchback ramp. The adjacent park block is intended to be open and flexible, to accommodate a wide range of programmed and informal community gathering and recreation.”

Prosper Portland expects the first phase of development for this site (which will be housing, with retail in phase two) to begin in 2021. The Portland Bureau of Transportation is currently doing a transportation impact study on the site which we hope to share once it’s ready.

To download the full ZGF presentation, click here.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org

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Injuries mount as Portland fails to fix dangerous potholes

Bike Portland - Wed, 05/22/2019 - 09:59

I slid 145 feet. I was lucky to escape with just road rash.

(Written by Scott Kocher, a Portland-based pedestrian and bicycle lawyer at Forum Law Group LLC and safe streets advocate advocate. We recently highlighted his efforts to improve Highway 30. Note: Kocher’s law firm is also a financial contributor to BikePortland, but that had no influence on editorial decisions.)

I love to ride in the West Hills. From the central city, they’re the closest place to escape stop-and-go traffic. On weekends, people enjoying Northwest Skyline on bikes seem to outnumber people in cars. On weekdays, commuters zip between Portland and the west side. It feels like a world apart from Highway 26 gridlock.

Which brings me to March 16th. I was riding down NW Cornell from Skyline. There were bad potholes below the upper tunnel. Not just bumps, these were the kind that could easily cause a person on a bicycle to crash — which could be catastrophic at downhill speeds. Hoping to get them filled, I stopped and reported the potholes using the City of Portland’s PDX Reporter web app.

I noted in the report that the holes were a hazard for people on bikes. On March 28th, those potholes weren’t fixed, so I reported them again. On May 1st, I took a day off to go check on the route of a popular group bike ride that typically draws 100s of people. The potholes on Cornell were still there. I marked them with yellow paint, and reported them, for the third time.

Don’t worry, the swear word is protected speech under Article 1 Section 8 the Oregon Constitution.

Half an hour later, I was descending West Burnside from Skyline. It’s a long, wide road with fast traffic. Most cyclists ride with the flow of other traffic and take the lane. It’s nobody’s favorite route, but it’s the most direct route to downtown, and the asphalt is in good shape. Except about half way down, at Arboretum Circle, where, unbeknownst to me, a water main had broken and been repaired. A spot next to the asphalt repair wasn’t fully compacted. I hit the sunken spot at traffic speed. My bike stopped, and I kept going. I tumbled and slid 145 feet.

“He wanted to know if I had finally come to fix the sunken spot, because it made his house shake when trucks hit it, and he’d reported it. Three times.”

After getting checked out and my wounds cleaned at Good Sam, I reported the sunken spot that crashed me. Two days later, I was able to get up there with spray paint. As I was marking the spot so that the City crew could be sure to find it, a neighbor, Bill, saw me in my yellow vest and came out. He asked if I was from the City. He wanted to know if I had finally come to fix the sunken spot, because it made his house shake when trucks hit it, and he’d reported it. Three times.

This wasn’t the first or the second time PBOT didn’t do its job. In May and again in June 2014 I used the PDX Reporter app to report potholes and cracks in the downhill lane of NW Cornell up toward NW 53rd Ave that were “bad enough catch the wheel of a bicycle and cause a fall.” The next month, in July, my friend and riding buddy Richard Lorenz crashed on them.

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Richard Lorenz crashed on potholes that had been reported twice in the previous two months.

Even worse, in 2017, I reported a wretched pothole on NW Thompson. It was multiple layers deep, large, and very hard to see in the leafy shadows. A car driver could have crashed from it. I reported it, noting it was a hazard for bikes – something I don’t do lightly. Nobody fixed it. I heard later that a person on a bicycle crashed on it, and had to have brain surgery. After that, I went back up with a can of paint. It still wasn’t fixed.

I went back up with a can of paint. It still wasn’t fixed.

The concern isn’t limited to the West Hills. After my crash, more people have told me their experiences. One stood out. Unable to cut my own hair, I went to the barber shop. Jessica, who cut my hair much better than I do, told me she used to bike, and loved to commute — all the way from outer southeast to the Slabtown Barbershop in northwest. But she stopped biking after she crashed on a pothole in Woodstock:

“Two years ago I was bike commuting and my tire hit the wrong angle on one of the cracks in the road and I was flipped over my handle bars,” she shared with me. “I reported the incident, but it hasn’t been filled.”

In 2010 OHSU researchers released a study of nearly 1,000 Portlanders who commuted on bicycles for a year. They found, “poor roadway surface conditions” were a factor in 21% of traumatic crashes and 20% of “serious traumatic” crashes.

Here’s what we should do about this

Speed up dangerous pothole fixes. It costs roughly the same whether the crew goes the next day or the next month. Doing that would have saved my injuries, and could save a life. This isn’t just for people on bicycles. E-scooters have much smaller wheels. People on motorcycles and mopeds are also vulnerable to potholes and other asphalt defects.

Get pothole crashes onto the Vision Zero Crash Map. All four of the crashes I’ve described count as “bicycle serious injury” crashes. Yet they are not officially counted. Why? Because like crashes on streetcar tracks, most roadway defect crashes don’t involve an automobile user. Therefore, none of them generate a police report, make it into ODOT’s dataset, or get onto the Vision Zero Crash Map.

Create a user-generated reporting tool. Let’s get these on a map. Too many crashes and injuries go unnoticed. The public has demanded this for years: From BikePortland’s B-SMART tool (now defunct) and Nathan Hinkle’s NearlyKilled.me website to the streetcar track efforts of Active Right of Way (also now offline). It’s not right that individuals and activists have to spearhead these efforts. The proper way to do this would be for the City of Portland to provide a web form for people to report and upload crashes directly onto the Vision Zero map themselves.

If we don’t measure it, we won’t improve it.

We gave PBOT an opportunity to respond to questions and will update this story when we hear back. If you see a dangerous pothole, please report it to PBOT via the PDX Reporter app, 503-823-1700, or by emailing pdxroads@portlandoregon.gov.

— Scott Kocher, @scott_kocher

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TriMet has begun construction of new carfree Gideon Overcrossing

Bike Portland - Wed, 05/22/2019 - 08:25

Latest rendering of the bridge. View is looking south from 14th. Koerner Camera Systems, whose owner opposed the project, is in upper left.

TriMet shared an update on their Gideon Overcrossing project at a joint meeting of the Portland Bureau of Transportation’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committees last night.

The $10.5 million project officially broke ground on Monday.

A TriMet staffer shared images of the nearly-final design. She said they intentionally made it visible from nearby crossings (if people don’t see it they won’t use it) and tried to make it “iconic” as requested by neighborhood residents.

The bridge will have an elevator similar to the one on the nearby Rhine-Lafayette overpass (which gets rave reviews from bicycle users). It will also have stairs with a wheel gutter for when the elevator isn’t working. TriMet said they considered a rideable ramp but given the height/overhead clearance requirements needed for both a MAX light rail and freight railroad line, along with ADA slope requirements, the ramp would have been too long, expensive, and cumbersome to fit in the project.

Looking northeast toward Gideon Street from SE 13th.

Looking northwest from SE 17th/Powell.

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The stairs will have a wheel gutter to make walking your bike up them easier. TriMet said they studied existing gutters and sought advice from afar to come up with their design. The trick was to make the gutter easy to use while not creating a tripping hazard. Below is a slide from last night’s meeting that shows how the Gideon crossing gutter compares to the existing Rhine-Lafayette crossing:

(Rhine-Lafayette gutter on the left, Gideon on the right)

As you recall, the controversy around this project had to do with how it landed on the 14th Avenue side. Several businesses opposed the project on grounds that it would impede their truck loading access and create safety hazards. In the end, TriMet decided to extend the driveway of Koerner Camera Systems so they could maintain access to their loading dock. TriMet’s design also creates a public plaza on the 14th Avenue side.

The bridge will be built by TriMet, but owned and operated by City of Portland Bureau of Transportation. It’s expected to be completed and open for use by July of next year.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org

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A closer look at the new bus/bike lane on SW Madison

Bike Portland - Tue, 05/21/2019 - 11:25

The new treatment — meant to speed up buses and make cycling safer — starts at 4th and lasts two blocks. (Scroll down for full gallery and video)
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

When the Portland Bureau of Transportation revealed their plans for SW Madison last week, there was at first rejoicing. Many of us are desperate for any change to our streets that makes bicycling and transit safer and more efficient. Dedicating a wide lane solely for transit and bike riders on a major downtown corridor is an exciting step in the right direction.

But almost as soon as we posted about the project, there were concerns about how this new lane would be shared by people operating such dramatically different vehicles.

PBOT crews implemented the $160,000 project over the weekend and Monday’s afternoon commute was its first real test. I rolled over to take a closer and ask staff from PBOT and TriMet a few questions.

The details

“It’s all about balancing the needs of everyone.”
— Hannah Schafer, PBOT

PBOT has restriped three blocks of SW Madison from 4th to 1st. On two of those blocks, 4th and 3rd, they’ve separated a bus/bike only lane from other lanes with plastic wands and curbs. The roadway is 36-feet wide from curb-to-curb. It used to have a standard, unprotected bike lane, two other vehicles lanes, and a lane used for on-street auto parking. Now there are two, 11-foot wide vehicle lanes, and one 15-foot wide bus/bike lane. The bus/bike lane is striped with what PBOT says is a “passing lane” for bicycle riders to the left of the curbside lane.

PBOT has also prohibited right turns for drivers at SW 3rd. This is the same corner where a truck operator’s right turn led to the death of bicycle rider Kathryn Rickson in 2012.

Driving space wasn’t reduced for this project. Buses will now get through faster with a carfree lane. Bicycle (and scooter) riders have a flexible space that is either five feet when passing a bus, or 15 feet if there’s no bus around.

Asked how they came up with this cross-section, PBOT spokesperson Hannah Schafer said, “It’s all about balancing the needs of everyone.”

The buses

Bus operators are generally more skilled and predictable than typical drivers. But the size of their vehicles makes them much more intimidating. The concerns about sharing this lane with buses is understandable. As you can see in the image above and video below, the space between the plastic wands/curbs and the bus is very tight and it feels stressful.

It’s worth pointing out however, that the condition shown in my video are not common. Usually the bicycle riders are either in front or behind the bus operator. TriMet Public Information Officer Tia York shared with me yesterday that 93 buses (from five different lines) use SW Madison between 1st and 4th avenues between 3:00 pm and 7:00 pm each weekday. I asked if they’d received any special training about using the new lane and she said no.

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Two people turning right where they aren’t supposed to. Note the small sign with flags in the upper right.

– Some drivers still turn right at 3rd. The only thing PBOT has done so far is posted a “No Right Turn Except Bicycles” sign up on the corner. PBOT Project Manager Gabe Graff said they’ll continue to monitor the behavior and make adjustments if necessary. One big step would be to color the entire bus lane red; but because red lanes aren’t officially sanctioned yet, PBOT would need to request permission from the Federal Highway Administration before doing so (something a few cities have already done). Red would become known as space only for buses, much like green has come to symbolize bicycle-only space.

– Despite technically having 15 feet to ride in, most bicycle riders filed all the way over the left whether or not a bus was present.

– PBOT plans to extend this treatment one block west to SW 5th once the construction zone adjacent to the Portland Building is gone.

– There’s no protection on the block between 2nd and 1st because PBOT said bus operators would have had a hard time maneuvering around them to continue onto the Hawthorne Bridge.

– The plastic wands and curbs have the added impact of slowing down the turns of drivers as they enter Madison from 4th and 3rd. This is a good thing. The street feels narrower with the plastic material in the middle of it, so people make sharper, more cautious turns while driving.

More photos

The block between 2nd and 1st is where bus operators cross back over the bike lane.

The protection and size of the lane is wonderful when no buses are around.

I found it interesting how people rode all the way to the left even when no buses were present.

These riders were stopped at a red signal with the bus. As they gained speed (it’s slightly downhill), they moved over to the left to let the bus operator pass.

Somehow this driver missed the huge “BUS BIKE ONLY” sign on the pavement.

When the protection ends (at SW 2nd), PBOT has added green coloring to encourage riders to use it.

I didn’t talk to a lot of riders, but a few folks yelled out at me as they went by: “It’s wonderful,” said one. “Best thing ever!” said another. “So dumb!” said one guy, shaking his head.

Have you ridden it yet? If so, how did it go? What do you think?

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org

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Family Biking: We all fall down

Bike Portland - Tue, 05/21/2019 - 09:48

Staged photo of a bike crash.
(Photos: Madi Carlson)

Last week I took the corner into my backyard too slowly, caught my front wheel on a flagstone, and slowly tipped sideways against the side of my house. As time slowed down and/or my brain sped up in the heat of the moment, I thought about my crashes of years past.

Our Family Biking column is sponsored by Clever Cycles.

➤ Read past entries here.

I’ve read that the most common type of bicycle crash is a solo crash. I find this hard to believe, but I’ve had my share of solo mishaps. All but one* of these solo crashes left me unscathed so they are not reported in whatever data set declared solo bike crashes so common.

No kids nor dog were on my bike during this most-recent little crash, and my heavy groceries (including eggs!) were all fine. I didn’t event rip my thin flannel shirt or scrape my shoulder that slid along the rough siding of my house. But the impact of the impact was enough to make me realize I should talk about family biking crashes.

Timber! I was unable to walk my bike with two Christmas trees until I loaded them sideways across the deck.

Family bikes are heavy. And then you add the weight of kids to them. And then you add the weight of kid stuff (snacks, toys, extra clothing, precious new-found sticks and rocks, more snacks, favorite book, etc…) on top of that! Once they’re rolling, bikes are easy to keep upright, but at very slow speeds heavy bikes can be tricky. Other than two slips on black ice, my crashes have been on account of speed — too little of it. I’ve dropped my bike while walking it along and while maneuvering it to park, most notably in front of a crowd of toddlers and their families at our local fire station open house. I’ve also tipped over while moving too slowly — while trying to get started from a complete stop, while coming to a stop, and while climbing too steep a hill. These aforementioned crashes all happened while my two kids were on my cargo bike, by the way, and they were fine…as well as too young to be embarrassed by my clumsiness, phew.

I have good bike handling skills — oh, which reminds me of another crash, a rare one when the kids weren’t on my bike. They were two and four and pushing their balance bikes in intersecting S curves while I followed along on my cargo bike. They were having a terrific time on a Waterfront sidewalk, as was I, playing footdown and patting myself on the back at how following their chaotic progress at such slow speeds while dodging their little bikes was doing wonder for my bike handling skills. But then my front tire slipped off the concrete sidewalk into a tree planter and down I went.

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I’m not predicting all family bikers will have crashes like this, but you’re not alone if you do. In a closed Facebook group about family biking in my former city of Seattle, we sometimes shared these stories and took comfort in knowing we weren’t alone in our mishaps.

Eyes on the prize, I don’t think my kids realized they were horizontal mere seconds ago.

I don’t want to imply my kids are so used to my dumping the bike that it doesn’t faze them, but when I loaned my kids to a friend at the 2013 Fiets of Parenthood and her bakfiets tipped over, they calmly sat horizontal, my little one motioning her to “Pass me the grocery bag from the obstacle stop already, the clock is ticking!” as she righted the bike. Oh, that reminds me of another crash at the 2010 Seattle Fiets of Parenthood when I started tipping over at the berry picking obstacle station, but a bunch of people ran over and righted us before we hit the ground. It takes a village! And kids are resilient and will be OK if you happen to drop your bike.

I deserved this fall for laughing at our neighbor’s wipe out moments prior. Snowboards, sled, and dog were unharmed.

E-bikes to the rescue?
I should point out that an e-assist can help avoid — and possibly even prevent — these common little crashes. Bikes like the Surly Big Easy I borrowed and reviewed that have a “walk assistance mode” provide a small boost at the push of a button while walking the bike. Useful for any heavy bike, and especially when walking uphill. E-bikes with a throttle or boost button (which is essentially the same thing as a throttle, but at the push of a button rather than a twisted grip) that provide assistance on demand without pedaling are incredibly helpful for getting started from complete stops and climbing steep hills.

I can appreciate that others might not want to share any mishaps in a public forum like this, but if you want a virtual hug or any advice post-crash, feel free to email me at madidotcom [at] gmail [dot] com. Thanks for reading!

*My one and only injury while bicycling was when I was a college freshman and biked too close to the edge of the road and caught my pedal on the curb which led to me sailing over my handlebars and very minorly fracturing my ulna or radius near the elbow. To add insult to injury, it was the last day of Bicycle Safety Awareness Week at UC Santa Barbara.

We’re looking for people to profile. I’d especially like to feature families of color so please get in touch or ask friends of color who bike with their kids if they’re interested in sharing their stories. And as always, feel free ask questions in the comments below or email me your story ideas and insights at madidotcom [at] gmail [dot] com.

— Madi Carlson, @familyride on Instagram and Twitter

Browse past Family Biking posts here.

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Cycle Oregon’s ‘Gravel’ goes east into wide open Wasco County

Bike Portland - Tue, 05/21/2019 - 06:24

Once home to the Molalla Tribe before white immigrants forced them out, this area east of Dufur is now dotted by large farms and ranches — and perfectly groomed gravel roads. This view is from Roberts Market Road looking northwest toward the Columbia Hills that rise above the Columbia River in Washington.
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Dufur City Park was our host.

With its second year in the books, it feels like the Gravel event has found a home with Cycle Oregon. After three decades of their signature, 7-day “Classic” event, the nonprofit has found a sweet spot around one of cycling biggest trends: riding unpaved backroads, a.k.a. gravel grinding.

The tiny eastern Oregon town of Dufur (est. 1893, pop. 604) was home base for two full days of riding. The routes traversed land where the Molalla Tribe lived for generations before being banished to a reservation by the U.S. government in 1851. Today the land around Dufur is wide open country dotted by farms that raise livestock, wheat, and other crops.

After riding the Sasquatch Duro in Oakridge on Saturday, I opted to come home via Dufur so I could check out day two of the Gravel event. I showed up Saturday night just when the excellent band Greater Kind (brought in from Portland) fired up their instruments.

The vibe was classic Cycle Oregon, only on a much smaller, more intimate scale. The week-long ride is like a small city with about 2,500 people buzzing around in every direction. You could know someone on that ride and not see them for the entire week. But at Gravel, the crowd is much smaller. You could almost see everyone with a quick glance around.

When I got there, the free beer and wine were flowing and a big crowd had formed around the “Whiskey Wagon,” a booze cart wheeled in from north Portland. This mobile bar was serving two very popular items: distilled beverages and a live feed of the Portland Trail Blazers playoff game.

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While tempted to party all night, tired legs from day one (everyone talked about how tough it was) encouraged most campers to their tents at a sensible hour. There was another big day of riding just a few hours away.

The land between Highway 197 and the Deschutes River was made for cycling on. The roads, paved or unpaved, follow the organic undulations of the round hills and valleys. And the views go for miles. When it comes to the gravel rating, this area falls squarely into the luxury category. But on Sunday, a smattering of rain showers downgraded that rating — or upgraded it if you like getting dirty.

About half way through the 63-mile long course, Roberts Market Road turned into a mix of wet sand and slick peanut-butter mud. It lasted for only a mile or two, just long enough to completely cover the bottom half of bodies and bikes (unless you had fenders of course). But no one was looking down because the sun eventually punched through the clouds and the views were magnificent. Crop colors popped as the wide and empty roads unfolded in front of us.


This rider said he came to Gravel because he was just curious what it would be like. He had this old Surly he’d bought for commuting and figured it’d work out. He was having a great time!

It was a great day in the saddle. With their gentle grades, rewarding vistas, and nearly carfree solitude, the roads around Dufur offer quintessential Oregon conditions, whether you’re a gravel connoisseur or just trying it for the first time. And many Gravel participants were doing just that. Several people I talked to were yet to buy a “gravel bike”, they simply grabbed something with tough tires and decided to see what all the fuss was about. I’m pretty sure they’re hooked.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org

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Move All Seattle Sustainably coalition hosts Council candidate forums, D6 is Tuesday

Seattle Bike Blog - Mon, 05/20/2019 - 14:00

Screenshot from the first forum: District 6.

Seattle’s City Council is facing its biggest shakeup since, well, the last time the seven district-based seats were up for a vote.

An unprecedented 56 candidates are running for the City Council seats, and only three incumbents are seeking another term (Crosscut put together a handy candidate guide). So we are guaranteed at least four new members on the Council, one seat away from a voting majority (the two at-large Council seats, held by Teresa Mosqueda and Lorena Gonzáles, are not up for election until 2021 along with the mayor).

You can hear candidates talk about transportation, housing and sustainability at a series of forums over the next couple weeks that members of the Move All Seattle Sustainably coalition have organized:

If you don’t know your district, enter your address on this page to find out. The primary is not until August 6, but don’t wait to register. If you are new to King County, we vote by mail here, which is wonderful. Register now to avoid any hassles getting your ballot. Since primary votes happen in the middle of summer, it’s easy to get distracted or busy and miss deadlines. Voter turnout is much lower in the August primary than in the November general election, which means your vote is especially important.

The MASS coalition is not currently planning primary forums for Districts 1 or 5. Only three people are running in District 1 including incumbent Lisa Herbold, and two of them will make it through the primary. So West Seattle has the easiest job for the next couple months. Six people are running in District 5, the same number as District 3. But neither of those has as many candidates as the open seats in 2, 4, 6 and 7. District 6 takes the cake with a stunning 14 candidates for Mike O’Brien’s spot.

The big business lobby has said they will spend big this year to try to win a majority they see as favorable to their interests. Meanwhile, the democracy voucher system has empowered more grassroots-level candidates than ever before. Sprinkle some candidates with disturbing and dehumanizing ideas about homeless people into the mix, and we have the makings for one of the toughest Council campaigns in recent memory. It will be a true test of the city’s values.

There are few major transportation measures in the near future (the Transportation Benefit District will need to be renewed in some form, but there are no votes on the scale of Move Seattle or Sound Transit 3). Instead, Councilmembers will be tasked with fulfilling the will of the voters and enacting the plans developed and funded over the past decade.

In some ways, this is harder than passing grand measures because it requires getting dirty and working through the finer details of compromise and change that our city needs if we are going to continue shifting more and more trips to biking, walking and transit. Neighborhood streets need to change. The amount of housing, especially near frequent transit service, needs to grow. Economic, racial and disability barriers need to be torn down. None of this work will be easy, and we will need a Council that is ready to hold the mayor accountable for completing this work.

Below is the event description for the District 6 forum tomorrow (Tuesday):

Join us for a City Council candidate forum focusing on making Seattle a more affordable and sustainable community. We will be hearing from candidates for City Council in District 6 as they answer questions about housing, mass transit, ensuring everyone is able to use our streets safely and achieving Vision Zero, reducing carbon emissions, and centering racial equity in all of this work.

This forum will be moderated by Heidi Groover (reporter for the Seattle Times and formerly for The Stranger).

District 6 includes Crown Hill, Greenwood, Ballard, Phinney Ridge, Greenlake, Tangletown, and Fremont.

Transit Riders Union and our partners at the MASS Coalition (including Sierra Club, Cascade Bicycle Club, Seattle Subway, Seattle Neighborhood Greenways, 350 Seattle, Disability Rights Washington, Rooted in Rights, The Urbanist), and the Housing Development Consortium are coming together to host this forum.

The forum will be held at the Phinney Neighborhood Association (lower building), which can be reached via transit on Metro route 5. Bike parking is available on the west side of the building. This event is wheelchair accessible and CART services will be provided.

Doors open at 5:15, forum starts promptly at 5:30pm. We hope to see you there!

Weird but true: His bike commute inspired a series of album cover parodies

Bike Portland - Mon, 05/20/2019 - 13:03

Hillsboro resident Aaron Harrison (he goes by Rambo) has a commuting style all his own. Rambo has worked in Portland bike shops for decades and he’s also a decorated track racer.

I’ve known about him for years now (I can recall he and his Orange bike flying past me with whooosh during Cycle Oregon years ago); but I had no idea about his love for music and artistic flair on Instagram. Let me explain…

I follow many of Instagram accounts. It’s one way I keep track of what’s going on in our community and I like to offer support and encouragement from the @BikePortland account when people do good things. At some point I started to follow Harrison’s @RamboBikeMan account. It’s pretty fun: Goofy selfies of him flying down suburban arterials; Gloves full of things he finds on the road (he has an uncanny ability to find coins); nothing earth-shattering. Then about six weeks ago, things got weird.

Rambo started posting parodies of him bike commuting in the style of music album covers.

The first one was Phil Collins’ No Jacket Required. Rambo changed it to Rain Jacket Required.

He’s posted over 60 more of them since then. They always make me smile. Here are my favorites:

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Rambo told me he does this simply to keep himself amused. He commutes from the Reedville/Hillsboro area into downtown Portland (West End Bikes) on a heavy commuter bike. “It’s a long time in the saddle, so I look for ways to make it fun,” he shared with me in a recent email.

“It’s a long time in the saddle, so I look for ways to make it fun.”

The first ones he made were basic and used only the Instagram editing tools. Now he uses a basic editing app. After his friends liked them, he was hooked and now does them whenever the whim strikes. He even takes requests!

“I’ve been having a ton of fun making these album cover parodies, and will likely continue making them as long as I can find album covers I can duplicate (getting more suggestions from friends has helped),” he said.

Follow him at @RamboBikeMan for more album cover parodies, photos of a spoon he planted in the landscaping of a new development, portraits of his rain-bike mascot named “Koffee Kat”, and more.

Happy Bike Month everyone!

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org

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Bontrager Kovee Wheelset Announced

Bike Hugger - Mon, 05/20/2019 - 11:05

The Bontrager Kovee wheelset weighs in under 1300g and offers more speed and stability to cross country mountain bikers. The Kovee is an all-new wheel set and an upgrade for those who want to go faster with more stability.

Bontrager Kovee Wheelset Announced

Like any gear in the bike business, if you haven’t upgraded in the past 5 years, it’s worth considering. These carbon hoops weigh only 1290g, and they feature a wide, 29mm inner rim width that delivers improved tire support so you can run lower pressure for better traction, cornering, and a smoother, faster ride.

We started with the team in mind, to give them every advantage with a light, fast wheel

said Bontrager’s Wheel Product Director Graham Wilhelm.

Tubeless and crazy light haven’t always gone together, but they do now. On my hardtail, I’m running ENVEs, which are light, but not that light. Trek Factory Racing XC riders Emily Batty and Jolanda Neff are racing the Kovee on the World Cup XC circuit now.

Emily Batty and Jolanda Neff are racing the Kovee’s Bontrager Kovee Wheelset Specs

The wheels can be setup tubeless using either rim tape or Bontrager’s proprietary rim strip system, both of which are included. Rim tape saves a little weight, while the Bontrager rim strips provide a solid bead lock with the tire for easy setup and improved performance, especially at lower pressures.

Available in 29 with center lock disc compatibility, DT Swiss 240s hub internals, and Boost 110/148 spacing the Kovee retail for $2399. They deliver the performance of a wider rim without the weight penalty.

  • Lightweight and durable OCLV construction
  • 29mm inner rim width better supports wider tires
  • Ultra-light 1290g / wheelset
  • DT Swiss 240s internals, 24 hole front/rear
  • Center Lock Disc
  • DT Aerolite bladed spokes
  • Carbon Care Loyalty Program
  • Tubeless Ready for easy TLR setup
  • Approved for rim tape or rim strip use

The post Bontrager Kovee Wheelset Announced appeared first on Bike Hugger.

Photo gallery and recap: Oakridge and Westfir host ‘Sasquatch Duro’ gravel event

Bike Portland - Mon, 05/20/2019 - 10:19

Click for captions. (Photos: Harry Apelbaum/Apelbaum Studios)

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After kicking off two weekends ago at the coast, the Oregon Triple Crown series moved about 85 miles inland to the “Mountain Biking Capital of the Northwest” (that’s the official motto). There were only a few riders at the Sasquatch Duro on mountain bikes Saturday, but that didn’t stop them from riding off-road into the mountains.

A few hundred people — a mix of racers looking for fast times and ramblers looking for good times — lined up on East 1st Street in uptown Oakridge to tackle the “Big Squatch” or “Little Squatch”. The courses (43 and 30 miles respectively) offered paved roads through high prairies and a river, and dirt roads through forested timber lands that were once the lifeblood of surrounding communities.

With about equal parts pavement and dirt, nearly everyone was on a drop-bar road bike with tires ranging from about 35-45 mm in size (for reference, most Tour de France racers ride 25 mm tires).

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The weather was moody in the days leading up to the event with showers and dark skies. (I arrived early and stayed in Westfir, a few miles outside Oakridge. Stay tuned for a story about that tiny town and its up-and-coming lodge). The sky gods smiled on the Sasquatch Duro and it turned out to be sunny and dry all day.

I did the Big Squatch course and enjoyed almost every minute. I say “almost” because I didn’t feel great on the big climb at the start and once I recovered it was too late to catch back onto the lead groups. Thankfully the rest of the day was darn near perfect. Once we got off-road (at mile 7) I started to find my legs and had a solid riding partner to the peak of the first climb which topped out at about 2,800 feet (we started at 1,200). As you can see on the route map above, the course took us over a series of creeks with the most boring names ever: We pedaled over First, Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, Eighth, and Ninth creeks.

Click for captions. (Photos: Harry Apelbaum/Apelbaum Studios)

After the peak, the day’s real fun began. We careened down National Forest Road 1928 and hung a sharp left on the legendary Aufderheide Scenic Byway. Ripping along the pavement with the majestic Willamette over my shoulder was a treat. I couldn’t savor it fully though, because I knew what was coming. I’d done some reconnaissance Thursday night on the route’s big climb, NF 1912.

Once we left Aufderheide, we crossed the river and headed (what felt like) straight up for six grueling miles. We punched out over 2,600 feet of climbing to get to Windy Pass, before an eight mile descent took us back down to the river. I felt like I flew down that descent (there’s some photo evidence here)! The corners seemed to melt away as I held onto my bars and carved the damp dirt with full trust that my brain, body, and bike would do the right things.

The last two miles were paved and flat on the Aufderheide Byway. It was a remote finish in Westfir, meaning the after-party and free food were about four miles away in Oakridge. As luck would have it however, I was staying in Westfir, so my day was done. And the patio-dwellers at Westfir Lodge welcomed me back with smiles and congratulatory toasts of great Oregon beer.

Racers contemplate a drink stop on Westfir Lodge patio before riding back to Oakridge.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org

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The Monday Roundup: Behind the lines, say “pannier”, climate crisis framing, and more

Bike Portland - Mon, 05/20/2019 - 08:03

Welcome to the week. Lots to get to. But first: We must know our history.

This week’s edition is sponsored by Rack Attack, where you go to figure out what bike rack is right for your car.

Behind the lines: Don’t miss the latest War on Cars episode where co-host Aaron Naparstek infiltrates the New York Auto Show to bring you all the absurdities and ironies of peak car culture.

Dirty tricks: The Oregonian reported that the University of Oregon and Oregon Health & Science University help bankroll a group that is trying to kill Governor Kate Brown’s climate change bill.

Language matters: Excellent decision from The Guardian to start using more direct and accurate language on vital environmental topics.

Dooring prevention: Uber is trying decrease the amount of dooring incidents their drivers and passengers cause with in-app notifications and driver training.

Ride of Silence: There was no such ride in Portland this year, but that didn’t stop Vancouverites from hosting the memorial ride that aims to raise awareness of riders who have been killed.

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Tesla mess: Not sure what’s more galling to me about these NTSB findings: the fact that Tesla uses humans as guinea pigs; there’s seems to be no federal safety oversight of this shit; or that the “autopilot” mode allowed the car to go over the posted speed limit.

Self police: Leader of a free-market think tank — and 50-year bicycle commuter — penned an editorial in The New York Daily News saying that bicycle riders should welcome more enforcement of cycling traffic laws.

MTBs and trail damage: This piece from Adventure Journal explains how bicycles have less impact on properly built singletrack trails than you might think (required reading for many Portlanders who don’t understand this simple concept).

Cross-country low-stress: What if you could ride cross-country on carfree rail-trails? That’s the vision behind the Great America Rail Trail, a 3,700 vision launched by the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy last week.

Slow cars, fast food: Burger King says they will roll out delivery to hungry people stuck in traffic jams.

Video of the Week: Check out Path Less Pedaled’s latest video about the roots and correct pronunciation of the word “pannier”:

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org

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With the paint barely dry on bike-lane-free 35th Ave NE, person driving strikes and injures someone on a bike

Seattle Bike Blog - Fri, 05/17/2019 - 16:23

Just hours after a video of dangerous conditions for people biking on the new 35th Ave NE gained a lot of traction on social media, someone driving struck and injured a person biking on the street near the intersection with NE 70th Street.

News about the injury was posted to the Safe 35th Ave NE facebook page this afternoon, and Seattle Bike Blog confirmed the details with Seattle Police.

Around 11:30 p.m. Thursday night, someone driving collided with someone on a bike. The person biking was transported to the hospital by ambulance with a knee injury, according to SPD. The person driving was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence.

As is typical for traffic incidents, the details of the collision are not yet available pending investigation. As such, it’s not clear whether the scrapped bike lanes would have prevented it.

Sending my best wishes to the person injured.

But news of the collision certainly adds to growing concerns about the safety of the newly redesigned 35th Ave NE. The street was planned, designed and contracted to include bike lanes, but Mayor Jenny Durkan removed them at the last minute due to opposition from some project neighbors.

Design concepts for this stretch of 35th Ave NE from SDOT.

Her decision to remove the bike lanes drew strong criticism from people concerned about bike safety and the mayor’s commitment to its bicycle, Vision Zero and climate plans. People also voiced serious concerns about the city’s planned street design, which includes problems like wide travel lanes known to encourage speeding.

The decision to remove the bike lanes was due to politics, not best practices for designing safe streets. It went against the city’s Bicycle Master Plan and against the original design created and approved by SDOT traffic engineers after years of planning and public outreach. I hope nobody else is injured here, but hope alone is not enough to stop traffic injuries.

Here’s the video posted about 12 hours before the collision that called attention to how unsafe the new street design feels to someone on a bike:

First morning riding 35th since the redesign, already seeing dangerous passes. First car passing while a bike was turning left ahead. When there is a car waiting to turn left after, a car also tried to pass me, then backed off. Of course I catch up to them all at the light pic.twitter.com/Nr75tKeEQD

— Mitch (@mitchellplease) May 16, 2019

UPDATE 5/20: A reader who did not wish to be identified reached out to say that they were waiting at the light at 35th Ave NE and NE 70th Street on a bike Sunday afternoon when someone driving sidewiped them while trying to make a right turn on red. The reader was not injured, but read this story and wanted to share:

Hey Tom – I just wanted to let you know that I was also hit by a car at 35th NE and 70th, while standing at a red light; the car attempted a right on red around me and bumped/hit me with its mirror. I wasn’t hurt, but still not ideal. The driver stopped and was apologetic, so i chose not to pursue it further. For a variety of reasons I don’t want to post this on twitter publicly, but please feel free to mention it in any articles.

Tour de Pints 2019 is Saturday

Seattle Bike Blog - Fri, 05/17/2019 - 14:56

You know what would be a great way to wash down all those donuts tomorrow (Saturday)? Beer.

The annual Tour de Pints starts 11 a.m. at Peddler Brewing. The Beer Week event is a casual tide to five north Seattle breweries throughout the afternoon. And it’s free to join (obviously, the beer costs money).

Details from the event page:

For the 11th Year in a row Tour de Pints will be visiting some of the best breweries and pubs around town in celebration of Seattle Beer Week! TdP is a free, open-to-everyone and ride-at-your-own-risk event. Enter or exit the ride at any point you like. We’ll be posting online and in person when making the last departure out of each stop.

The Tour begins at Peddler
Peddler 11:30AM – Extra long stop here to gather people to start the ride. We leave at 1pm!
Ride 20 min -Up the only major hill on the route
Flying Bike Coop ~1:15PM
Ride 30 min – Nice ride down past the lake and through Ravenna
Burke Gilman ~2:30PM
Ride 15 min to Floating Bridge, 30 to Rooftop
Floating Bridge ~3:15PM – Optional detour. Leave BG early to do The Feat of Strength, up a hill for an extra beer then get to Rooftop late
Ride 15 min – Across the Fremont Bridge and down the Ship canal trail!
Rooftop – ~3:45PM our final stop! Though I can’t stop you from going further! Maybe… Dirty Couch Brewing??

PBOT will install a bus/bike only lane on SW Madison this weekend

Bike Portland - Fri, 05/17/2019 - 12:51

Coming soon to SW Madison!

The Portland Bureau of Transportation announced the construction of its first Central City in Motion (CCIM) project today: SW Madison – one of the busiest bikeways in Portland — will get a dedicated bus operation and bicycling lane that will be separated from other traffic. The project aims to speed up bus trips, make it safer to ride a bike, and lower the the stress of drivers by giving them clear separation from other road users.

Portland City Council passed the CCIM plan back in November and this will be the first project from the plan to be implemented.

PBOT says the project should be completed over the weekend at a cost of just $160,000.

In addition to the new lane configuration, PBOT says the project includes, “a passing zone to help people on bikes bypass buses at stops and prohibits right turns onto SW 3rd Avenue to remove the risk of right hooks for people walking and biking.”

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(TriMet video)

That last part is a very big deal. Almost seven years ago today, 28-year-old Kathryn Rickson was bicycling down Madison when a truck operator turned right at SW 3rd. The two collided and Rickson was killed.

Looking east on SW Madison at 3rd. Note the right turn (which will no longer be allowed) and the cars parked in upper center (which will no longer be allowed).
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Another significant aspect of this project is that space for the new bus/bike only lane was made available because PBOT was able to use space currently used as on-street parking for Portland Police Bureau and other City of Portland vehicles.

Madison is not only a major bikeway, it handles more than 23,000 bus trips each day. Enhanced bus lanes are part of nine out of the 18 total CCIM projects.

When CCIM passed, there was broad skepticism about how long it would take to actually implement the projects. “We were serious when we promised a quick implementation of Central City in Motion,” said Transportation Commissioner Chloe Eudaly in an official statement released by PBOT.

In their announcement today, PBOT included a quote from Business for a Better Portland Executive Director Ashley Henry. “While employment in the Central City continues to grow, our streets aren’t getting any wider. This project is an excellent example of a rapid, thoughtful infrastructure improvement that can produce real benefits for area businesses by providing safer and more reliable trips through downtown for employees and customers.”

It’s notable that PBOT included a statement from BBPDX and not from the Portland Business Alliance.

This is great news! We are very excited to see progress and to see PBOT, Commissioner Eudaly, Portland Bus Lane project (a grassroots advocacy group that has worked on this project for years) and Business for a Better Portland come together and make this happen.

Onward!

Bonus: PBOT has also released details on the next two CCIM projects that will be built within 2019-2020: The Burnside Bus/Bike Lane Project and the NW Everett Bus Lane Project (which will be built this fall).

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org

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