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Updated: 4 hours 38 min ago

Cottage Grove rolls out welcome for Oregon Gran Fondo

Fri, 06/07/2019 - 09:57

Rolling out on the start of the 130-mile Sherman route. (I’m the happy guy in red jersey with #14 plate).
(Ride photos by Harry Apelbaum/Apelbaum Studios)


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Ever had a ride that started with terribly bad luck that quickly changed to good luck? That was my experience at the Oregon Gran Fondo last weekend.

The event was the final round of the Oregon Triple Crown series (read my recaps of round one in Waldport and round two in Oakridge) and I started the day hopeful of becoming a finisher of all three. It was a fun goal I made for myself at the start of the year; a way to force myself to stay in good shape and learn more about three of Oregon’s intriguing small towns.

Brewstation Pub is attached to a farm and feed store.

(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

On that note, I was very impressed with Cottage Grove. It happened to be Friday Art Walk and Main Street was abuzz: The many independent stores and restaurants were full of people; musicians busked on corners; and locals came out in droves to meet up with friends, buy and spy local art, and take advantage of free food and drinks served in nearly every establishment.

For such a small town, Cottage Grove has a wealth of good food and shops. Beyond several solid-looking food carts, there’s Axe & Fiddle Public House on Main Street. With its low ceilings, woodsy interior and bar full of smiling staff and regulars up front, it has the ambiance of a wild west saloon. The beer and cider list is sublime and the menu features many thoughtful and modern choices. Across the street is Jack Sprats, which was so busy I opted for quick baked treats from the counter: a house-made marionberry bar and a peanut butter cookie.

I felt welcomed in Cottage Grove because it seemed like every shop had a “Welcome Oregon Gran Fondo” sign in the window and encouraged us to show our race badges for discounts and freebies (event entry came with a $10 food voucher redeemable at any local restaurant). I also noticed a flyer for the “Mayor’s Bike Ride,” a good sign that cycling is respected.

Opal Whiteley mural on E 7th and Main.

Shared with pride by bookstore owner.

If you love used bookstores that reflect local culture, Cottage Grove doesn’t disappoint. I recommend Kalapuya Books and Bookmine. It was inside both of these shops I got my first hint that a woman known as Opal Whiteley was a big deal. My hunch was confirmed when I saw the massive mural devoted to her in the main public square. I had to learn more.

Whiteley was a mysterious figure who gained national fame for a diary she wrote about her life growing up in the woods of Cottage Grove. Despite her story becoming a national bestseller in 1920, there were as many questions about its authenticity as there were about the authenticity of Whiteley herself. As I payed for a copy of The Fantastic Tale of Opal Whiteley, (a historic look at her life published by The Lane Historical Society) the owner of Bookmine was thrilled to see I’d taken an interest. She beamed as showed me one of the original copies of Whiteley’s book and gave me flyers with copies of her poems and a walking map of where she lived.

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After soaking up history and the vibe of downtown Cottage Grove on Friday, I was up at sunrise on Saturday for the 6:30 am start of the 130-mile “Sherman” route. I chose this route mostly because it was the toughest course offered, but also because it was the only one with sections of unpaved, gravel roads. There were only about 20 of us who lined up on East Main Street. The Sherman route was new this year, and the classic, 117-mile Gran Fondo route still gets all the attention.

About six miles into the Sherman route, four miles before disaster struck.
(Ride photos by Harry Apelbaum/Apelbaum Studios)

I had my Co-Motion Klatch set up as a pavement machine, since I heard there was only about 30 miles of gravel roads and I figured I could manage them on relatively narrow tires. I opted for slick, 32mm wide Sector tubeless tires from Hutchinson.

For us Sherman riders, the adventure began just a few miles out of town when we hit the dirt of Gowdyville Road for a 1,000 feet of climbing along the South Fork of the Siuslaw River. It was a beautiful start to the day. On the descent down to Territorial Hwy, I started to think I was a bit under-tired for the day as I had to ride much slower over the rocks then I prefer.

When we retured to the pavement, something weird happened. There were about three of us on the empty road. I was in the front and suddenly another rider came up from behind me on my right and tried to pass. Before I could avoid him his rear wheel became lodged in my front. “SHHHH! BANG BANG BANG! POP!” was what I heard as I struggled to stay upright and watched his rear wheel skewer decimate my front rim and tire. When I finally stopped I knew it was bad. The wheel was done. Spokes bent and broken. The tire flat. Ugh.

Luke DeMoe of Velofix Eugene working on my bike.

A few minutes later, after the guy made a quick apology and then rode away, I was by myself on the side of the road with no cell service. I was dejected that my weekend had been wasted for just 10 miles of riding. I figured I would hitchhike back to Cottage Grove; if I could find a ride.

I could smile at this point because I knew it would all work out.

Then the first sign of changing luck came into view. A truck driven by a race volunteer pulled up and offered a floor pump. Within minutes we realized he could just drive me back to the start line. The Gran Fondo didn’t start until 8:30 am and I’d still have time to find a loaner wheel if we hurried. Flustered but hopeful as we got back to Cottage Grove, I made a bee line to the big red VeloFix Eugene van. Owner/operator Luke DeMoe didn’t hesitate to help. He had a loaner wheel and swapped my parts and tire over. 15 minutes later I was rolling again — with just a few minutes to spare before the start of the Gran Fondo.

It wasn’t the ride I wanted to do, but it wasn’t too shabby. It’s been years since I spent the day in roadie-mode, gliding along in the draft of a big peloton and taking pulls in a paceline. I connected with a strong group of 7-8 riders and spent most of the day with them. We ticked off the miles and averaged about 20 mph or the first 100 miles as we rolled along rivers, on empty backroads, and up on high ridges.

My second start of the day (I’m in the baby blue jersey just right of center. Yes, I changed jerseys because it had warmed up so much.) (Harry Apelbaum/Apelbaum Studios)

(Harry Apelbaum/Apelbaum Studios)

At the end of the day I finished in 32nd place, about 40 minutes behind the winners. 117 miles in six hours and nine minutes; not bad at all! And a testament to the versatility of my bike, which also handles singletrack and bumpy gravel roads with aplomb (with wider tires of course).

It was a great day on the bike and I was grateful to be out there, especially given my bad luck at the start.

If you’re looking for a memorable event with top-notch support based in a town well worth visiting, put the 2020 Oregon Gran Fondo on your calendar. If you’re curious about riding in the area, check out the routes on RideWithGPS.

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

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Jobs of the Week: Go By Bike, Cycle Portland

Fri, 06/07/2019 - 06:54

Three fresh job opportunities posted this week.

Learn more about each one via the links below…

–> Go By Bike Afternoon Mechanic – Go By Bike

–> Bike Valet Sub – Go By Bike

–> Bike Tour Guide/ Shop Staff – Cycle Portland

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For a complete list of available jobs, click here.

Be the first to know about new job opportunities by signing up for our daily Job Listings email or by following @BikePortland on Twitter.

These are paid listings. And they work! If you’d like to post a job on the Portland region’s “Best Local Blog” two years running, you can purchase a listing online for just $75. Learn more at our Job Listings page.

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

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Weekend Event Guide: Ripplebrook, Fanno Creek, murals, Sunrise Movement, and more

Fri, 06/07/2019 - 06:10

The Sprockettes will host their last kids camp this weekend.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Remember how I said last week’s relative quiet was the calm before the storm? Well the storm is here. Pedalpalooza is in full swing and we’ve got a tantalizing selection of rides for you to choose from this weekend.

Whether you’re looking for adventure, activism, pure free fun, or all of the above — check out what’s in store. And remember to peruse the full Pedalpalooza calendar for even more rides.

Saturday, June 8th

Ripplebrook Backroads – 9:00 am from Ripplebrook Store in Estacada
If you want to delve deeper into the unpaved roads and trails around Timothy Lake and Clackamas River, this is the ride for you. Let Our Mother the Mountain’s route masterminds take you on an unforgettable adventure. More info here.

Fanno Creek Family Bike Ride – 9:30 am at Garden Home Rec Center (SW)
A very short (two-mile loop) and very sweet ride aimed at being doable for even the newest and smallest riders among your troop. Stops at a playground for extra fun. Come out and discover the great Fanno Creek Trail! More info here.

Sprockettes Girls Day Camp (Sat-Sun) – 10:00 am at Irving Park (NE)
The Sprockettes are a Portland-based mini-bike dance team. They’re hanging up the pink and black or good at the end of this year so this is your final chance to indoctrinate your kids to their wonderful ways. Camp will teach them basic bike dance/stunt skills in a supportive environment. Sliding scale price is $60-$100. More info here.

Beyond Portlandia Radical History Bike Tour – 12:00 pm at Everybody’s Bike Rentals (NE)
Ecology, geology, history and culture! Discover a different side of north/northeast Portland on this 10-mile ride led by knowledgable locals. More info here.

Brooklyn Scavenger Hunt – 1:00 pm at Brooklyn Park (SE)
Have fun while demonstrating your knowledge of the Brooklyn neighborhood as you fulfill interesting objectives and post proof of completion to Twitter. Prizes await the winners and everyone gets to imbibe and eat with new friends at the end. More info here.

Teenage Dirtbag Ride & Party – 8:00 pm at Laurelhurst Park (NE)
What’s Pedalpalooza without big dance party ride? Roll up and rock out with tunes from the likes of Blink, Lit, Len, Green Day, Weezer and all the other “dirtbag classics”. More info here.

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Ghosts of Northeast’s Past: A History Ride – 10:00 am at McMenamins Kennedy School (NE)
Led by historian Doug Decker, this 8-mile ride will regale you with stories of northeast Portland neighborhoods known by only a few and mostly invisible to the untrained eye. More info here.

Mural Ride – 11:00 am at Clay Creative parking lot (SE)
Public art on walls is endlessly fascinating and usually beautiful. If you agree with that statement, get ready to ride your heart out with two fellow mural lovers. More info here.

Sunrise PDX Pedalpalooza Climate Ride! – 11:00 am at PSU Plaza (SW)
Come and join the growing movement that is connecting climate change and transportation reform activists into an unstoppable force. This ride will include a rally with speakers at the Zenith oil terminal just a few short miles from downtown Portland. More info here.

Pregnant AF – 12:00 pm at Normandale Park (NE)
Baby on board? Come join others in the same situation. Bike with your bump on this flat ride that will end in a picnic. More info here.

Get Lost! – 1:00 pm at Velo Cult parking lot (NE)
A Pedalpalooza mainstay, this ride takes the form of whatever the dice say. Seriously. Leader will roll two dice to determine how many blocks left or right to ride. Where you stop and go, nobody knows! More info here.

Stay plugged into all the bike and transportation-related events around the region via our comprehensive event calendar. Pedalpalooza is the entire month of June. Check out the full list of events on the official calendar.

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

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New bikeway signage to ‘encourage people to get out of their automobiles’ coming to South Waterfront

Thu, 06/06/2019 - 09:43

Riders on SW Bond in South Waterfront area.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Sign mock-up from City of Portland.

20 new wayfinding signs are coming to South Waterfront. This week the Portland City Council accepted a $13,460 grant from Metro that was awarded through their Regional Transportation Options program in 2016.

“Simple bike wayfinding signs displaying distance and time to key destinations will help current and would-be riders to understand bicycle accessibility to and from the South Waterfront,” reads a project description. “The signs will be strategically placed at intersections throughout the district , with the southernmost signs encouraging riders to venture to Willamette Park along the rail trail, and the northernmost sign displaying information to ride to Downtown and the Pearl District. Additional signs will direct travelers to the Hooley Bridge, Lair Hill access, and the Tilikum Crossing and access to the Central Eastside.”

Check out a map of where the signs will go below the jump…

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(Map provided by PBOT)

Metro hopes the project will encourage people to get out of their cars and onto their bicycles, resulting in better air quality and less auto parking demand.

A map of sign locations provided by PBOT shows that about half of the 20 new signs will be installed south of the Marquam Bridge, and the other half north of it. The signs will stretch from Waterfront Park at Pine Street in the north to SW Moody and Bancroft in the south.

PBOT says they expect to have all the signs installed by the end of June.

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

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First Look: Halsey-Weidler couplet in Gateway updated with protected bikeways and more

Wed, 06/05/2019 - 13:30

Look what PBOT did!
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Southeast Foster Road fans are rejoicing today as their beloved retail strip now has dedicated bike lanes. But that’s not the only east Portland commercial area to get new bike access this month. The Portland Bureau of Transportation says they’re about 99% finished with the much-anticipated Halsey-Weidler Streetscape project.

This $5.5 million project is a partnership between PBOT and Prosper Portland that (similar to Foster), aims to use street design changes to improve safety and boost economic development. The city has made significant updates to Halsey and Weidler between 102nd and 112th. Changes include: curb extensions on every corner, new pavement on Halsey, improved street lighting, median refuge islands, three new crossings with rapid flash beacons, parking protected bicycle lanes, transit stop upgrades, new street trees, a “festival street”, a new public plaza, and more.

I spent about an hour so on the couplet yesterday to talk with folks and watch how the street is being used.

“People hate it,” said the manager of a liquor store near 103rd. “95% of our customers have asked me about it… Mostly they’re upset about the loss of parking. This is the main thoroughfare and they took out like 14 spots.” Upon further discussion, the man said he thinks the changes are, “A good idea,” but that’s just been implemented poorly. He didn’t elaborate on how he thinks it should have been designed; but he said he’s heard of two people (drivers) who have been hit as they stepped out of their cars in the new “floating” parking zone (which puts them in much closer proximity to passing drivers than parking at the curb).

Two people waiting for the bus were thrilled with the changes. I watched one man with a cast on his foot cross where PBOT just installed a curb extension and a median refuge island — essentially reducing the distance across by about 15 feet or so. “I wouldn’t have tried that before with my foot like this,” he said with a smile. “I’m not very fast these days.”

A woman behind the counter of Namaste Indian Market (which is wonderful by the way) had some concerns about parking loss. Her store is adjacent NE 103rd, the street PBOT converted from a parking lot/alleyway into a “festival street”. The idea is to make it more of a public plaza with one-way driving access that could be prohibited (via bollards) during events like farmer’s markets. She wasn’t sure what the plan was and didn’t understand the new bike lane and other changes to the street. Once I explained everything, she agreed it seemed like an improvement that would encourage people to visit the Gateway district and make the streets safer.

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Here are a few of my observations and images to illustrate:

– The transit island just west of 102nd is a marvel: It makes transit service and biking more efficient, there’s plenty of space for bus riders to get on-and-off, and makes for a nice, low-stress welcome to the couplet.

– From what I could see, the changes are working relatively well. People are still getting used to the new striping and lane configuration. And yes, there were several folks who parked in the new bike lane. Hopefully that subsides.

– PBOT really needs to do more to protect these new biking spaces. Whether it’s plastic wands, concrete curbs or both. And maybe “BIKES ONLY” pavement markings, more signage, and a few enforcement actions to drive awareness. If we’re going to call these “protected” bikeways, let’s be honest about it and give people what they deserve.

– Fortunately speeds on the couplet are relatively low, and the median islands and other changes will only make them slower. People on foot now feel more empowered to cross in more locations, which makes people in cars more cautious.

– Now that we have this great bike facility, we need places to park! I had to park to a sign pole because there were no staples in sight. That should never happen!

– One serious problem is how many drivers coming onto the couplet from a sidestreet block the new bike lane as they wait for a gap in traffic (see below). This is a tricky situation and I’m not sure what the solution is, other than signage and pavement markings. Of course if people were more competent and courteous in general — and if cars weren’t such large and awkward vehicles — this wouldn’t be a problem.

– The new Gateway Discovery Park at 106th and Halsey is fantastic! It’s a modern facility with wifi, places to hang out, and lots of cool amenities. And one of the best crossing treatments is right on the corner so it’s very welcoming.

Here’s a video of me riding the entire couplet (has been sped up 2X to save you time)…

But wait, there’s more…

Bike only signal on 102nd is a welcome touch…

Here’s the current status of the festival street/plaza at 103rd…

The problem with parking protected bike lanes is that you feel kind of scrunched between the cars and the curb. Also not wide enough for side-by-side, social cycling…

Another view of the crossing treatment at 106th/Gateway Park…

This is a median-protected crossing enhancement at the off-set intersection of Halsey and 108th…

Beyond the project boundary, we still have some work to do…

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

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Bicycle rider killed in collision with driver on 99W in Tigard

Wed, 06/05/2019 - 11:31

(Photo: Tigard Police)

A man riding a bicycle on SW Pacific Highway (99W) in Tigard was killed last night after a collision with a driver.

Top star shows where the man’s body came to rest (approximately). The lower star is location of car and bike in lead photo. Click for Google Map.

Tigard Police say the bicycle user was going southbound when he and the driver of a white Mazda Miata collided. It happened just before 8:30 pm. This section of 99W has seven lanes, including two bicycle only lanes and a center turn lane.

Based on a photo from the scene, the bicycle and car came to rest about 560 feet north of the SW Gaarde Street intersection. The victim’s body is about 150 feet away from where the driver finally stopped. Here’s the statement released by Tigard Police:

Based on witness statements and the investigation, the driver of a white, convertible Mazda Miata was traveling southbound on SW Pacific Hwy in the right travel lane. A bicyclist was also traveling southbound on SW Pacific Highway in the bike lane and then entered the right lane. The Miata struck the bicyclist, causing the individual to hit the pavement. By the time officers arrived, the adult-male bicyclist was deceased.

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The driver stayed at the scene and was fully cooperative with investigators. At this time, it has been determined that alcohol was not a factor in the crash.

A Tigard Police Traffic Safety Officer, who is a member of a multi-agency Crash Analysis Reconstruction Team, is leading the investigation to determine the causation of this crash, including whether speed or other factors contributed to this incident.

The victim’s name is being withheld while police work to contact next of kin. If anyone witnessed this crash or the driving of the white Mazda Miata, please contact Officer Rod
Morse at 503-718-2753 or Rod.Morse@tigard-or.gov.

It’s important to note that Oregon Law (ORS 814.420) allows bicycle riders to leave the bicycle lane to make a left turn or to avoid hazardous debris. I will also point out that speed is always a factor in fatal collisions like this because if the driver was going zero miles per hour, the bicycle rider would still be alive.

A woman interviewed by KATU news said the highway is dangerous and people regularly drive 50 mph. Nearby resident and BikePortland reader Ramtin Rahmani rides by this intersection frequently. He told us, “Pretty much no one rides on 99W because it’s a death trap.”

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

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There are bike lanes on SE Foster Road

Wed, 06/05/2019 - 09:56

Pretty sure the “BS” stands for bicycle symbol. PBOT still adding some finishing touches to the new lanes.
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

It’s been about 78 months since we first covered the possibility of dedicated cycling facilities on Southeast Foster Road, a major arterial coined the “Foster Freeway” by former mayor Sam Adams when he launched an attempt to make it safer in 2010.

A few nights ago it finally happened. PBOT striped bike lanes as part of the finishing touches on their $9 million Foster Transportation and Streetscape project.

Fresh pavement in the western section of the project between 82nd and 90th.

The stated goal of the project is to, “Transform Foster Road [between 50th and 90th] from a high speed, auto-oriented corridor into a more balanced streetscape that is safer and more accessible for people walking, biking, taking transit and driving,” and to, “support and enhance the growing mix of businesses and residences in the neighborhood.”

My initial impression is that — despite being outdated, narrow, and unprotected — the bike lanes have helped PBOT reach that goal. The presence of bicycle riders in the street on their own right-of-way dramatically changes how the street feels for everyone. The new lanes also make Foster a more feasible place to ride a bike in general, which will increase customers to businesses, encourage window-shopping by bike, and add vibrancy and humanity to the street.

In addition to the cycling-only space, the $9 million project repaved the street between 82nd and 90th and included: upgrades two traffic signals; wider sidewalks in some sections; new median islands and flashing beacons at six intersections; new street trees and ornamental street lighting; and upgraded ADA curb ramps at 69 locations.

While these bike lanes are clearly lacking from a design standpoint, it is no small thing for PBOT to add cycling space to such a major arterial.

Below are more photos and a video to give you a better sense of how it turned out.

PBOT did that thing where they drop the bike lane right before a big intersection (82nd) to create a shared lane.

Some sections have a buffer, like this one just west of 82nd Ave.

Curbside going westbound. It’s definitely not low-stress and it’s definitely not for everyone; but it’s better than nothing.

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PBOT retained 94% of the on-street parking in this project, so much of the new bike lane is sandwiched between parked cars and drivers.

With one lane for drivers, the back-up was pretty severe yesterday. It will be interesting to see how people respond and how/if diverted drivers impact adjacent residential streets (I saw many people bail off Foster out of frustration at being stopped).

With frequent bus service, leapfrogging will be an issue as bus operators cross over the bike lane to service stops. Really wish they would stop in the lane instead.

A look at the new cross-section.

A buffered section.

This is the section just before 52nd (outside Devil’s Point).

And of course it didn’t take long for people to take advantage of the new space…

Striped just in time for a Pedalpalooza ride last night!
(Photo by Matchu Williams)

PBOT says there will be a ribbon-cutting event next Thursday (6/13) at Portland Mercado.

Get out there, ride these new bike lanes, and let us know what you think.

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

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Bikes, Bridges and Bullet Trains: Riding Japan’s Shimanami Kaido route

Tue, 06/04/2019 - 10:27

Dedicated bike path that connects to the Kurushima Kaikyo bridge.
(Photos: Robert Pickett)

Robert Pickett, a former (and future!) Portland resident and member of the Portland Police Bureau Bicycle Patrol Unit, is currently serving as a U.S. diplomat stationed with his wife and two daughters in Sapporo, Japan.

“Its the best ride in Japan—let me know if you end up doing it and want some company.” High praise from my boss — a taciturn triathlete with an eye for art and nature, and many years living in Japan. I figured I’d better ride the Shimanami Kaido sometime before the end of my time here.

The route hops over several islands.

The Shimanami Kaido is a 45-mile bicycle route across Japan’s Seto Naikai (Inland Sea) from the City of Onomichi on Japan’s main island of Honshu to the City of Imabari on Shikoku, the smallest of Japan’s four main islands. Well marked, its mostly country roads skip across six smaller islands via one ferry and six soaring bridges, all with dedicated bicycle facilities.

Last May, during Japan’s Golden Week of consecutive holidays, my boss and I spent three days and three nights surrounded by amazing culture and unforgettable scenery in an out-and-back trip starting in Yokohama.

Our bikes, tucked away on the train.

It says, “Let’s follow the traffic rules and enjoy cycling!”

In Japan, if your bike is covered by something, anything, you can bring it on most trains for free. This lovely policy his has led to the birth of a relatively small, but active rinko (bike travel) culture. Most bicycle shops sell thin plastic rinko bags shaped to encase a bicycle with one or both wheels removed. It isn’t exactly putting your bike in a plastic trash bag, but close. My boss and I bagged our bikes and hopped on the bullet train, stashing them in the space behind the last row of seats. Arriving in Onomichi about two hours and 400 miles later, we reassembled our bikes and rode to a hostel for the first night.

The next morning started with a ferry across a narrow waterway to the first island stepping-stone. Originally designed for a couple of cars, the boat now hauls cyclists and pedestrians for a minimal charge. At the opposite terminal we started following the special blue-colored fog lines that guide cyclists along the Shimanami cycle route to the first of six major bridge leaps to the next island. The bicycle approaches to most of these bridges are completely separated from the motor vehicle approaches, and the first one was a ten foot ribbon of asphalt winding through trees and flowers on a climb up to the cycle/ped crossing suspended below the main automobile deck.

Satisfied grin of a biker on a bike/ped only ferry.

Follow the blue painted line.

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One of many lovely bridge approaches.

Cars above, bike riders and walkers below.

The day continued with bridge crossings and blue road traverses along emerald-edged coastline, through citrus and fig fields, and narrow village streets.

Traffic was relatively light, and featured plenty of other cyclists. Some were clearly serious with lots of spandex. Others were families with younger kids, out to ride just a bridge or two. Another nice thing about Japan is the frequency of convenience stores and their relatively fresh, healthy fuel options.

The last bridge of the day was the longest, tallest with the most breathtaking views. The Kurushima Kaikyo span is actually three contiguous suspension bridges, resulting in 2.5 miles of road suspended 200 feet in the air by six, six-hundred foot towers. Imagine the St. Johns Bridge, but six times longer and two-hundred-foot taller towers. The bicycle-only approaches spiral up into the air, first through, then above the trees to reach the road deck.

Oh the political will needed to pour that kind of money into a bicycle facility!

Sea level.

Climbing up.

Made it!

That night we spent at an Airbnb that featured bike parking in the bedroom. We also explored the local castle.

You know you’re on a well-worn bike path when…

We began the next day with a soaring, tailwind-powered flight back over the Kaikyo Bridge. Instead of repeating the exact ride back to Onomichi, we diverted to a few of the less-pedaled islands, enjoying the even quieter roads and blue-water vistas, slowly making our way to an intriguing guest house I’d found online.

Entrance to Shiomi Guesthouse.

Japanese family-style dinner.

The Shiomi Guesthouse was cheap, off the beaten path, featured communal eating and sleeping on Japanese tatami rooms, as well as a wood-fired hot tub. But the hook was set when I clicked “history” and found a multi-part account of Robert Shiomi, born in the house in 1904, and immigrated to Portland when he was 13. He attended Failing Elementary, Benson Polytechnic, U of Oregon Medical School, and became a doctor! Interned to Minidoka in Idaho with his wife and six-month-old daughter during WWII, he returned to Portland with his family after the war where he lived his life as a respected doctor and unceasing advocate for better relations between Japan and the U.S. It was an unexpectedly sassive Japan-Portland connection… And the guy’s name was Robert! My high expectations were met by a kind, gracious hostess, interesting guests from various parts of Japan (including a gentleman who had already accomplished his retirement mission of visiting all 6,800 or so of Japan’s islands), great local cuisine, and a hot soak. A great finale to a fun trip.

The next morning we made our way back to Onomichi, bagged our bikes back up, and bulleted back home to reality.

And of course I Strava’d my ride home on the bullet train, just so I could see the 249 mph average speed.

I highly recommend this route if you’re looking for a fun bike tour in Japan. For more info, check out this PDF for excellent maps and information in English.

— Robert Pickett

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Family Biking: How to Pedalpalooza with the little ones

Tue, 06/04/2019 - 09:01

My kids on the Pedalpalooza Kickoff Ride.
(Photos: Madi Carlson)

Happy Pedalpalooza! My kids and I joined over a thousand others on the Pedalpalooza Kickoff Ride on Saturday and we’re excited for more bike fun! Hundreds of rides with all sorts of themes for all sorts of people will take place this month and a lot of them are kid friendly.

Our Family Biking column is sponsored by Clever Cycles.

➤ Read past entries here.

As I suspected would be the case, the Kickoff Ride was too much for one of my kids. But we went because I wanted to get this year’s Pedalpalooza poster (wolves riding a tandem bike!) for his wolf-loving brother, and I thought it’d be fun for them to experience such a massive ride. I figured we’d only stay for a bit of the ride before peeling off, but once it got headed in our homeward direction it seemed like our best bet was go with the flow. Fortunately the flow was pretty slow so when my overwhelmed kid decided he was done riding it was easy for me to scoot us to the edge of the street and load him onto my bike, barely losing our place in the mass. And despite one overwhelmed kid I had a brilliant time and got to chat with a lot of friends as we wound our way through downtown Portland, and my 12-year old happily pedaled near me and gleefully counted many dogs on bikes.

Our formation/mood for the majority of the Pedalpalooza Kickoff Ride.

I’ve learned a couple things about Pedalpalooza rides since my Pedalpalooza column last year. The “Family Friendly” designation on the Pedalpalooza calendar means:
➤ Under six miles
➤ 10 mph or slower
➤ Few or no hills
➤ No 21+ activities

These are all the makings of a family-friendly ride. For the sake of comparison, a typical Kidical Mass PDX ride is usually:
➤ About two miles
➤ 5 mph
➤ Ideally absolutely flat

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Family-friendly rides are designated with a heart icon in the Portland Mercury’s print calendar and with a green “Family Friendly” box on the left in the online calendar. From the Shift home page click to expand the Calendar menu and choose Events for a calendar starting with the current day or choose Pedalpalooza Calendar to see rides going back to June 1st. The online calendar has longer descriptions making it easier to tell if a ride might be kid friendly. Both sources often have contact information for the ride leader if you want to get in touch to ask about details like distance, speed, and hilliness. Always check the online calendar for any changes or cancellations, as well as to find Facebook event links when they exist.

One of many dogs on the Pedalpalooza Kickoff Ride.

Here are some events I think would be great for kids (note that rides usually roll out about 30 minutes after posted time):

Fanno Creek Family Bike Ride
Sat, Jun 8, 2019, Meet at 9:30 am
Garden Home Recreation Center, 7475 SW Oleson Rd, Portland, OR 97223
Meet in the back of the Garden Home Recreation Center on the basketball court by the pavilion.
Host: Garden Home Recreation Center
Join us for a family bike ride along the Fanno Creek Trail! Grab your bike and your family and friends! Meet at Garden Home at 9:30 am, where the ride begins. As you prepare for the start, enjoy our community partners, music, prizes, fun, and so much more! The guided ride will start at 10 am and will follow the flat, paved trail for one mile to Vista Brook Park. There will be a quick stop at the park before the ride returns back to Garden Home. The guided ride will be two miles total. If riders want to continue independently, they’re welcome to follow the trail further.
Madi’s note: We’ve MAXed to the Beaverton Transit Center and biked to the Fanno Creek Trail. We stuck to sidewalks some of the time, but it worked fine!

7th Ave Slow Roll
Sun, Jun 9, 2019 at 4:00 pm from NE 7th and Going
Host: Captain Kiel
Join us for a casual community ride through NE Portland. Bring music if you have some. Will start and end at same location where we will have grills for grilling your food.

Light Brigade – The Slow Glow!
Sat, Jun 15 at 8:00 pm from Salmon Street Springs
Host: Bike Fun Library & Scott Batchelar
Join the Bike Fun Library and Scott Batchelar for the Family Friendly version of the Light Brigade Rides. The Slow Glow is an easygoing circuit of Portland’s Waterfront and Esplanade. Grab your kid’s, light up your bikes and join us as we light up Portland’s Waterfront

Storytime Ride
Sun, Jun 16, at 11:00 am from Woodlawn Elementary School
Meet on the blacktop.
Host: Cat Odell
Gather the kiddos for a picture book reading and a little fun on wheels – bikes! trikes! scooters! skateboards! Local author/Illustrator Catherine Odell will share her debut picture book Pepper & Frannie, and will host a parking lot session for everyone to get comfortable on their wheels, play some games, or maybe try something new! Then the ride will leave the school lot and ride down the block to circle the paved paths through Woodlawn Park (Wheels in the Woods!). We plan to end by 1pm, but you’re welcome to peel off at any time as attention, hunger, and patience allow.

Ride in northwest? Tell PBOT what you think about latest bikeway designs

Mon, 06/03/2019 - 12:33

PBOT is inching closer to finalizing these 12 projects.

It’s time to help the Portland Bureau of Transportation make northwest neighborhoods as bike-friendly as possible.

PBOT has just opened an online open house and shared latest project concepts for their Northwest in Motion project. This is an effort to identify and prioritize about a dozen projects that aim to encourage biking, walking, and transit use in and around the Pearl District .

The future?

The online open house is presented in the form of an interactive map that features the design concepts for each project. You can click on a street to see the concept, then scroll down to tell PBOT if they’re on the right track (or not) and to share feedback.

We last shared the draft designs at the end of April and there appear to be several compromises made since then.

The NW Johnson neighborhood greenway is slated for updates, and the design at 15th (adjacent the REI store) has changed significantly since we last checked. The initial concept (shown below) was to eliminate eastbound driving space to make a two-way cycling-only lane:

Now the design shows only sharrows in both directions:

PBOT Project Manager Zef Wagner (via a comment below) said they heard some concerns from the community and business owners about driving access; but, “We changed it because we realized that to address the problem of both freeway traffic and east-west traffic, we didn’t really have to do a diverter on that block. Instead, we could solve the problem through alternating one-way streets (with contraflow bike lanes) between 11th and 12th, 13th and 14th, 15th and 16th, and 17th and 18th. This new design is simpler and easier to implement, with less impact on circulation, and is arguably a stronger approach to diversion than the previous concept.”

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Back in April, PBOT showed-off a beautiful diagonal diverter on the NW Pettygrove neighborhood greenway at 20th:

Now that appears to be an enhanced crossing:

Wagner says the diagonal diverter was removed from the plans at the request of “bike advocates” who felt it wasn’t a good idea to move drivers from one neighborhood greenway to another. “As staff, we agreed with this assessment on further reflection. So instead, we are proposing diverters at 18th and 15th to achieve the same goal in a different way.”

As you can see, these designs are still not finalized. As PBOT cements their Tier 1 project list, it’s imperative they hear from people who want these streets to be as safe as possible for bicycle riders. Here’s that link to the online open house one more time. You have until June 30th to leave comments.

And if you just can’t get enough of northwest neighborhood transportation planning, the Pearl District Neighborhood Association’s Planning and Transportation Committee will host a presentation on the projects from PBOT at their meeting tomorrow (Tuesday, June 4th). It will be held at Pacific Northwest College of Art (511 NW Broadway, Room 237) from 6:00 to 8:00 pm. There’s also an open house tomorrow night for the related Broadway Corridor project (which we covered late last month).

If a Pedalpalooza ride is more your way of learning, join PBOT and friends for the NW In Motion Bike Ride tonight (6/3). It leaves from Lucky Lab NW (1945 NW Quimby) at 6:00 pm.

UPDATE and CORRECTION, 3:50 pm: This post initially said changes on Pettygrove and Johnson were made due to pushback from drivers and business owners. I’ve edited it to reflect comments from PBOT project manager that further explain the context for the changes. I regret any confusion.

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

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Here’s what the Pedalpalooza Kickoff Ride looked like

Mon, 06/03/2019 - 09:31

Fremont Bridge in the background as hundreds of Kickoff riders made their way on the route through northwest Portland.
(Photos by Eric Thornburg/no.lens.cap)

Pedalpalooza is off and running. And from the amount of smiles at Saturday’s Kickoff Ride, y’all are ready for it!

The annual month of free bike fun for everyone technically started Saturday morning with a big breakfast and coffee gathering on the Skidmore Bluffs; but the official kickoff came via a massive ride that set off from The Fields Park later that afternoon.

Our Pedalpalooza photographer Eric Thornburg was there to capture the vibe. Check out more of his images below…

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There’s so much more fun to be had! Check out the calendar for today’s lineup. And make sure to grab the current issue of the Portland Mercury where you’ll find a convenient printed copy of the calendar in the centerfold.

Happy Pedalpalooza one and all!

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

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The Monday Roundup: Gravel’s big year, highway industrial complex, killer ads, and more

Mon, 06/03/2019 - 08:19

Welcome to the week. Here are the most noteworthy items we came across in the past seven days…

Double duh: A major study found that protected bike lanes work. And if that wasn’t obvious enough for you, they found that paint-only bike lanes are actually worse than nothing at all.

Flower power: Continental is set to launch a line of tires derived from “dandelion rubber”, which the company says are much easier on the planet than using rubber trees.

Highway industrial complex: The US DOT Secretary holds stock in one of the largest road paving companies in America — even though she promised to get rid of it.

SF bike share bloom: San Francisco plans to quadruple its bike share fleet to 11,000 despite a legal threat from Lyft, which says it has exclusive rights and doesn’t want competitors entering the fray.

*Sponsored* Mark your calendar for the inaugural Takelma Gravel Grinder, which departs from inside the Seven Feathers Casino on June 29th.

Gravel’s big year: VeloNews takes a look at why 2019 is such a banner year for gravel cycling.

Killer ads: Car ads in the U.S. promote the type violent, aggressive, illegal driving behaviors that contribute to thousands of injuries and deaths on our roads every year. Hell yes we should regulate them.

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Just ban the damn things: “Making increasingly crowded cities more livable has to become an urgent public-policy goal,” says this opinion piece from Bloomberg News, which makes the case for banning (non-electric) cars.

True traffic relief: In Portland some think the cure for congestion in the Rose Quarter is to add freeway lanes. In Paris, they think the opposite makes more sense.

Rah-rah Rapha: Love this new initiative from cycling apparel company Rapha to help boost bike racing in the U.S.

Sigh: The U.S. government is trolling us by referring to fossil fuels as “molecules of freedom” and “freedom gas.” Seriously.

Buy used: The Guardian took a deep dive into the carbon footprint of making a new car and found, on average, it equals more emissions than what comes out of the tailpipe over a car’s average lifespan.

Tweet of the Week: An excellent example of bias in media coverage of traffic crashes from Paul Supawanich (who happens to be transportation policy advisor to the mayor of San Francisco)

Do you see a difference here? pic.twitter.com/kaajVuVfs4

— Paul Supawanich

Opinion: Our candid commissioner

Fri, 05/31/2019 - 14:25

Pretty safe to say the commissioner won’t be at the World Naked Bike Ride.

It’s been many years since we’ve had a transportation commissioner as willing to voice progressive ideas and positions as Chloe Eudaly.

I’m not sure if it’s because Commissioner Eudaly is simply more comfortable on social media than any other council member, or because she sees the communication channel as a strategic tool to shift the conversation her way. Whatever the reason(s), I like it. And if you care about smashing the transportation status quo, you should too.

Two recent Facebook comments from the Commissioner stand out. One was lighthearted, the other more meaty.

Last week she jokingly posted a “Hard Pass!” graphic in response to our story about the upcoming World Naked Bike Ride. Then, in response to a constituent who felt the new bus/bike lane on SW Madison unfairly “forced him out” of his car (as if!), the Commissioner wrote in all caps “YOU ARE THE CONGESTION!”  The exchange was worth a screenshot:

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Eudaly speaking at the Lori Woodard memorial rally. (Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

It’s one thing for a leader to have these opinions, it’s another thing to express them candidly in a public forum like Facebook. And they have added resonance because people tend to tune out politicians who can only speak in glittering generalities and who fear direct communication via social media. 

While PBOT remains too timid, they agency has shown promising signs of progress recently. Now with Chris Warner being firmly seated as director — and with Eudaly gaining more confidence on transportation issues with each passing week — I’m optimistic about what lies ahead.

If PBOT is ever going to start riding faster, they need someone like Commissioner Eudaly out front to provide a draft. We are nowhere near the finish, but at least we have someone on city council not afraid to engage and speak truth to naysayers.

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

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City lowers speed limits in latest effort to control the insanity on Marine Drive

Fri, 05/31/2019 - 09:43

PBOT crews installed the new signs this morning.
(Photo: City of Portland)

Marine Drive has been a problem child for the Portland Bureau of Transportation for years and the city hopes recent disciplinary actions help set it straight.

The road’s design encourages dangerous driving and the city has tried all types of tricks to slow people down and prevent them from running into each other, or from running off the road and into the Columbia River — something that happens more often than you think.

In one week last month, two drivers failed to control their vehicles and ended up in the river. One of them didn’t make it out alive.

The latest move is a speed limit reduction from 45 to 40 mph on an 8.5 mile segment between NE 33rd and 185th (Portland city limits). Last year PBOT lowered the speed limit west of this segment (from 40 to 35) and installed speed cameras at two locations (33rd and 138th).

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It’s really a two-lane freeway.

Why the fuss? Consider these stats: Between 2012 and 2016, there were 189 total crashes on Marine Drive between 33rd and 185th. Those crashes included four fatalities and 144 injuries. Since 2017, six people have died while driving on that segment. Turns out streets that have no guardrails (it’s built on a federally protected levee), are adjacent to industrial/rural zoning, have straight and clear sightlines and relatively few stop signs and traffic signals, are a petri dish for dangerous decisions.

And of course Marine Drive isn’t just an arterial for driving on, it happens to be a vital part of the very popular 40-Mile Loop bike route and serves as a gateway to many popular areas.

PBOT says this is just part of their ongoing war on speeders and dangerous drivers on Marine Drive. The construction schedule for this summer also includes: a new traffic signal at NE 122nd, gaps filled in the existing path from NE 112th to NE 185th, flashing beacons at NE 112th and NE 138th), buffered bike lanes from NE 112th to NE 122nd, and centerline rumble strips from 33rd to 185th.

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

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Better Block’s ‘Project Pathway’ program now formally integrated into PSU curriculum

Fri, 05/31/2019 - 05:54

The plaza on SW 3rd (left) and Better Naito are Better Block’s biggest successes. (Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

This story was written by Malia Knapp-Rossi, a Master of Urban and Regional Planning candidate at Portland State University and intern with Better Block PDX.

Better Block PDX is excited to announce that Portland State University’s Transportation Research and Education Center (TREC) has adopted the Project Pathway program.

A total of fifteen projects have been shepherded through the Pathway since 2015, including four that will be built in the first phase of the City of Portland’s Central City in Motion plan.

As BikePortland shared back in February, the Pathway program empowers PSU students and the greater Portland community to collaborate on low cost, transportation projects to serve neighborhood needs. These D.I.Y urbanism projects are fully integrated into the academic curriculum. The next generation of engineers and planners develop detailed traffic plans, public participation events, and transportation performance measures in order to create a safe and effective implementation path.

Founded in 2006, the nationally-funded, interdisciplinary TREC seeks to elevate “collaborative research and education that provide a unique lens on transportation insight for vibrant communities.” The PSU Project Pathway curriculum and goals align closely with center’s mission. This partnership will help institutionalize, streamline, and increase the capacity of the program. For the past two years, this collaboration and the Better Block PDX intern position has been supported by PSU’s Institute for Sustainable Solutions (ISS). Under the wing of the sustainability-focused center, the Pathway matured into a formal program with greater capacity to support more projects, students, and classes.

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Better Block announced the PSU partnership at an event last week.
(Photo: Better Block PDX)

Better Block PDX, a public spaces advocacy nonprofit, has spent the last four years working with Portland State University (PSU) students to develop design and implementation plans for community-driven transportation projects. In collaboration with PSU faculty, PSU’s ISS, graduate-level urban planning and engineering students, the City of Portland’s Bureau of Transportation, and community organizations—Better Block PDX created the annual PSU Project Pathway program.

The Pathway program provides a practicum experience for PSU students, increases capacity for community organizations, and has been successful at influencing policy and leading to permanent changes in Portland’s streetscape — most notably the Better Naito project. A total of fifteen projects have been shepherded through the Pathway since 2015, including four that will be built in the first phase of the City of Portland’s Central City in Motion plan that kicked off this past weekend.

Better Block has had an indelible mark on Portland’s most innovative transportation projects in recent years. Learn more about the history of the organization in their Project Milestones report below:

AllReportsFinalAGAIN

— Malia Knapp

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Where We Ride: You’ve probably ridden in Vanport, the former city wiped out by a flood 71 years ago today

Thu, 05/30/2019 - 15:38

Ever raced cyclocross, mountain, or road bikes at Portland International Raceway? Ever biked on the Columbia River Slough northwest of Kenton? Or maybe you’ve enjoyed the annual Winter Wonderland Light Show?

If you answered yes to any of those, you’ve ridden on the streets, across the yards, and around the borders of Vanport.

This bustling, working-class town was once Oregon’s second largest city. It was also a place where 40% of the residents were black. Tragically, Vanport was obliterated 71 years ago today when dikes that surrounded it gave way. 15 people died.

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What happened at Vanport is a painful part of Oregon’s racist history — and it remains relevant today as we continue to struggle with complicated web of race, housing, and sweeping demographic shifts. I still have a lot to learn about Vanport; but I can no longer ride there without thinking about its history. That land is so much more than just a cool place to ride bikes.

Here’s that map again:

(Oregon Historical Society)

Those two yellow dots mark where the images below were taken:

(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

And here’s a shot of the flood damage, with the yellow dots showing where I snapped those photos:

(Oregon Historical Society)

If you want to learn more Vanport, just Google it and start your journey. Also, check out the Vanport Mosaic Festival, going on now through June 5th.

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

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City of Portland wants to make side guards mandatory on all garbage and recycling trucks by 2022

Thu, 05/30/2019 - 10:50

Side guards installed on a garbage truck during a City of Portland pilot project.

It’s been a long time coming, but Portland is finally about to take a big step forward in road safety. The Bureau of Planning & Sustainability (BPS) announced today they’ll propose a change to the City’s administrative rules that would require all garbage and recycling contractors to fill gaps in the sides of their trucks by 2022. The new mandate would apply to about 195 vehicles that currently don’t meet federal safety standards.

Commonly referred to as side guards, the goal is to close the gaps on the side of trucks between the front and rear axles where vulnerable road users often end up in collisions. US Department of Transportation research has found that nearly half of bicycle riders killed by large trucks first come in contact with its side. With side guards in place, people and their vehicles are pushed away from the truck’s undercarriage and wheels.

Portland first pushed for side guards in 2007 following the deaths of Tracey Sparling and Brett Jarolimek. But progress has been painfully slow. Our Vision Zero Action Plan, passed in 2016, lists the installation of side guards as one of its five-year actions. In February 2017, after yet another Portlander died in a right-hook collision with a truck operator, the Portland Bureau of Transportation said there was simply no funding for side guard installations.

But Portland Planning and Sustainability Commissioner Chris Smith never stopped pushing for them. As we reported in October 2017, Smith brought the issue to the table at every opportunity. The PSC advises Portland City Council on annual garbage and recycling rates, so Smith used that as a lever to keep the issue alive.

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The Portland Water Bureau has had side guards on some of their trucks since 2008.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Last month BPS published a report on their Side Guard Pilot Project (PDF). The agency installed side guards on 18 garbage and recycling trucks and worked with 11 different contractors. Based on their findings, BPS Solid Waste and Recycling Program Coordinator Pete Chism-Winfield says they will propose that side guards be mandatory on all garbage and recycling trucks by January 2022

Here’s the official language of the proposed amendment to the city’s administrative rule:

c. Side Guards and Safety Equipment. Side guards are safety equipment designed to protect vulnerable road users from the hazards of open spaces on the sides of large trucks. The following schedule will result in the implementation of side guards on all collection trucks with side gaps between wheels greater than two feet. All side guards shall meet the Volpe specifications according to the following schedule:

I. All new collection vehicle purchases after January 1, 2020. (A/I)

II. All collection vehicles newer than 2010 and older than 2019 by January 1, 2022. (A/I)

III. All collection vehicles must have decals placed on the side guards or body that indicate to vulnerable road users that they are in a blind spot. (A/I)

Based on current truck inventories, BPS estimates that 195 trucks will need to be retrofitted before January 1, 2022. Based on the costs of the pilot retrofitting the 2010 to 2019 trucks ($2,623 per truck) would cost approximately $432,795 across all garbage and recycling companies. BPS will subsidize retrofit costs up to $1,000 per truck.

Asked if BPS has contacted Metro to implement a similar mandate on a regional level, Chism-Winfield said they (and other regional partners) have expressed interest but have made no commitments. BPS is also looking at other equipment requirements like cab design and mirrors but says they want to carry out the side guard project before moving onto other efforts.

A public hearing on the administrative rule change is set for June 3rd from 4:00 to 6:00 pm.

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

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Chris Warner named Director of PBOT

Thu, 05/30/2019 - 09:51

PBOT Director Chris Warner.
(Photo: City of Portland)

City Commissioner Chloe Eudaly announced today that Chris Warner has accepted her offer to be the new Director of the Portland Bureau of Transportation.

Warner had served as the agency’s interim director since July 2018 after previous director Leah Treat left for a job in the private sector.

“Director Warner brings over twenty years of public sector management and transportation policy expertise to his position,” Eudaly said in a statement. “As a policy and technical expert, he has worked at the local, state, and federal levels for Governor Ted Kulongoski, Senator Ron Wyden, Representative Peter DeFazio and City Commissioner Steve Novick.”

Commissioner Eudaly said she chose Warner after a national search (in part) because, “He understands how difficult it will be to reorient our transportation system to meet the challenges of the future… he knows PBOT, and he has the skills and experience necessary to turn ideas into actions.”

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Warner (left) with his former boss Steve Novick in 2013.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Warner’s style is much different than his predecessor. He doesn’t seek publicity and doesn’t seem to be interested in building a national profile. Even Eudaly referred to his “reputation for quiet competence and hard work.”

Warner was former City Commissioner Steve Novick’s Chief of Staff when Novick was in charge of PBOT and was named assistant director of PBOT in 2016. In 2015 Warner attended a week-long study tour of Copenhagen with a group of PBOT staff and downtown business leaders.

In her statement today, Eudaly credited Warner for implementing PBOT’s new crash response protocol and for his work in speeding up implementation of the new bus/bike lane on SW Madison, the first Central City in Motion project to hit the ground.

Warner assumes this position amid heightened scrutiny of one of the bureau’s marquee initiatives. Yesterday the City Auditor released a report that found PBOT’s Fixing Our Streets program has had “ineffective monitoring and oversight” and that many of the promised projects are overdue. PBOT is also facing pressure to meet its Vision Zero goals amid a rising traffic death toll

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

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Weekend Event Guide: Pedalpalooza begins, a swap meet, adaptive bike clinic, and more

Thu, 05/30/2019 - 08:14

Mood.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

The time has come for Portlanders of all ages, shapes, and colors to ride together in the streets in the name of pure, unadulterated fun. That’s right, Pedalpalooza is here. Starting Saturday and lasting through the entire month of June, there are hundreds of free rides to choose from. They’ll help you learn more about our city, about yourself, and about the people you share it with.

But this is Portland, and when it comes to biking, there are always options. If Pedapalooza doesn’t pique your interest, perhaps you’d prefer to race or do a big ride, or to expand your cycling horizons in some other way? As always, check the BikePortland Calendar where we list a wide variety of rides and events.

Have a great weekend no matter what you decide to do.

Saturday, June 1st

Oregon Gran Fondo – All day in Cottage Grove
The finale of the Oregon Triple Crown series takes riders to the friendly town of Cottage Grove. The classic Gran Fondo course is a 117 mile, mass-start event. There are shorter routes and a longer, 130-mile route that contains several sections of gravel. More info here.

Breakfast on the Bluffs – 9:00 am at Skidmore Bluffs (N)
Jump start your body and your Pedalpalooza by meeting up with friends old and new on the beautiful bluffs. Bring coffee or sample the wares of Portland Roasting Company. More info here.

Swap Meet – 9:00 am to 3:00 pm at Portland Community College Cascade Campus (N)
Organized by Norther Cycles and the PCC Bike Shed, this is the place to sell your used bike stuff and find that extra special part/frame/bike/item you’ve been dreaming about. Just $10 for a booth, free to shop and hang out! More info here.

Pedalpalooza Kickoff Ride – 3:00 pm at The Fields Park (NW)
This is the big one that officially begins 2019 Pedalpalooza. Get there at 3:00 to give yourself plenty of time to hang out, buy official PP merch, decorate your bike, socialize, and soak in the bike fun vibe. More info here.

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Adaptive Bike Clinic – 9:00 am to 1:00 pm at Eastbank Esplanade (SE)
Come and try bikes built for people with disabilities and get your questions answered from the experts at Adaptive Sports Northwest and Portland Parks & Recreation. Free clinic (at 12:00 pm) and a group ride too. More info here.

Bike Touring Workshop – 10:00 am to 1:00 pm at Rivelo Bike Shop (SE)
Get the skills and insights you need to live off your bike. Taught by the ever-interesting and experienced Shawn Granton. $15 per person. More info here.

NE 7th Avenue Slow Roll – 4:00 pm to 5:00 pm at NE 7th and Wygant
Build community through a social and fun bike ride meant to bring neighbors together. Hosted by Friends of 7th Avenue. More info here.

East Portland Bike Train Pedalpalooza Launch Ride – 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm at PCC Southeast Campus Quad (82nd & Division)
BikeLoudPDX and PCC have joined together to give you free pizza. Oh, and they will share info and debut the route for their new bike train. 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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Company responds to YouTuber who (once again) cuts through bicycle lock

Wed, 05/29/2019 - 12:09

(Photo: Ottolock)

Back in December a YouTuber named LockPickingLawyer who specializes in defeating security products caused a stir when he posted a video that showed an Ottolock being easily cut with snips in just two seconds.

Ottolock is a Portland company that has found a strong niche with its relatively small and lightweight lock. The company has always acknowledged that it’s not meant as a primary theft deterrent and that it should only be used either in combination with a strong U-lock or for very short durations in low-crime areas.

Two months after that video (which got 1.2 million views) came out, Ottolock launched a new model with thicker construction. The Hexband was designed with “increased cut resistance” versus the original model, according to the company’s marketing materials. “Featuring added resistance to shearing tools such as snips and cable cutters,” they continued. “Getting through Ottolock Hexband requires serious effort or powered devices, making it a stronger quick-stop lock for bicyclists and other users with higher security requirements.”

Last Friday Lock Picking Lawyer released a video that tested the Hexband (watch it below). In the video — which has already received over one million views — it takes him a bit more strength and two hands, but he’s able to cut through it with relative ease.

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Ottolock responded to the video yesterday. Here’s what they posted via Instagram:

Ottolock use guidelines.

We wish to thank the many supporters of OTTOLOCK. As you may be aware, there are critics who may not understand the product’s intended use. We’ve been consistent in message, transparent in our learning, and we stand by our product design intent and use guidelines.

We take our responsibility to customers and product quality very seriously. We make premium compact locks for quick stops and we do not claim they are invincible. We’ve always recommended redundant locking with a quality U-lock for higher crime areas or long duration lock-ups.

We have spent a tremendous amount of our resources developing and testing this product to ensure that we meet the design intent and optimize trade-offs. OTTOLOCK HEXBAND is highly resistant to many modes of cutting or shimming, but can be vulnerable to specific forms of attack. We also strive to stand behind our product with exceptional customer service as many customers will confirm.

We’ve created a great product to fill the unmet need of a lightweight, portable solution for bicycle quick stops and other outdoor uses (registering for events, going to the restroom, grabbing a coffee or snack, bundling two or three bikes together on a group ride, and more). There is not a better compact and portable lock for these applications.

We appreciate the many thousands of customers and retailers who share this belief in our product and brand.

Thank you,
OTTO DesignWorks

So far (at least on Instagram), many of Ottolock’s fans say they’ll continue to support product. Fans of LockPickingLawyer are not being so kind.

Bicycle product expert and designer James Buckroyd (a contributor to BikePortland) tried to cut through the new Hexband lock and posted his review on May 11th. The verdict? “With a manual tool you need at 30mins and a lot of energy to get this one off… There is no doubt that adding one of these to you bike either wrapped around your saddle bag or using the holder will benefit you.”

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

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