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Updated: 7 weeks 2 days ago

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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What does Patrick Cashman have against the World Naked Bike Ride?

Wed, 05/29/2019 - 09:37

A man named Patrick Cashman has a bone to pick with Portland’s World Naked Bike Ride, the 9,000-rider strong annual event which will embark from Laurelhurst Park on June 29th.

Cashman has been on a personal crusade since late last year to hold ride organizers accountable to the letter of the law and to force the City of Portland to reveal the ride’s route.

“This information was developed in coordination with a small group of private citizens who are allowed to know this information while other private citizens are denied it.”
— Patrick Cashman

Back in November, Cashman penned an op-ed in The Oregonian urging others to join his demands to know the route of the popular ride. Cashman has also posted his concerns on Nextdoor. Between January and April of this year, he filed six separate public records requests with the City of Portland.

So far, he’s been denied each time.

The City has acknowledged that they’ve worked with Naked Bike Ride organizers, but they say a desire for public safety makes details of the route exempt from public records laws.

In the past five years the ride has averaged about 9,000 riders. It’s a massive undertaking that has long outgrown its spontaneous, unsanctioned beginnings (the first time BikePortland covered the ride in 2005 there were only 170 riders). For years now, ride organizers have worked in partnership with the City of Portland (including the Portland Police Bureau) to make sure the ride is as smooth and safe as possible. That collaboration has led to what Cashman feels is unfair treatment.

Cashman has a history of this type of activism. While living in Vermont in February 2018 he took issue with a public high school that flew a Black Lives Matter flag. Now in Portland, Cashman has accused our city government of playing favorites. In a letter (PDF) dated April 26th, 2019, in response to the City of Portland’s denials to his public records requests, Cashman wrote, “I contend that as this information was developed in coordination with a small group of private citizens who are allowed to know this information while other private citizens are denied it, the city is also engaged in selective disclosure.”

After a few people told me about Cashman, I contacted him to learn more about his concerns. Here’s our email exchange:

5/17/19

Hi Mr. Cashman,

I’ve heard about your inquiries to the DA’s office about the World Naked Bike Ride route.

I’ve covered the event for many years and I’m curious to know more about your feelings about it. Can you help me understand what your concern is? Are you simply curious about the route and don’t like that it’s kept a secret?

Thanks for your time.


Jonathan

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5/17/19

Mr. Maus,

Good afternoon.

I’m not a fan of the event (I think it’s rude to one’s neighbors) but that just my personal opinion and has no bearing on the rights of participants to do it. My major concern is with how the city handles it. There are three problems:

1. It’s an equal protection problem. The city must treat an individual in the same manner as others in similar conditions and circumstances. For this event the city is choosing to waive their administrative rules and notification requirements for a moving event permit for this particular applicant and event. I don’t know their motivation to provide this special treatment, but such low level corruption to favor preferred groups or people over others degrades trust in our democratic institutions and further encourages such corruption.

2. It’s a public records problem. The state public records laws are very clear; public documents belong to the public, the default condition is they are to be released on request unless a specific exemption is claimed and justified. The city has not claimed any exemption. Instead they have employees brazenly coordinating how to evade public records requirements because, (back to point 1), for some reason this group is getting very special treatment. That not only degrades trust and violates public records law, but it sets a precedent and is a giant warning sign that the city does not take its obligation to its citizens seriously. Additionally, one has to wonder; if they are going through this much effort over this minor event, what else are they up to to keep actual consequential documents out of the public’s hands?

3. The event, based on what I read on the WNBR page, will also be a violation of the judgment against the City in Gathright v. City of Portland*. The WNBR page states they will have event security enforcing a “no photography” rule and removing anyone who makes people feel unsafe. As ordered by the judge in Gathright the organizers had to sign a statement of understanding to affirm they understand the only rules in public parks are those imposed by lawful ordinance, event organizers don’t get to make their own rules. And park rules fully support non-commercial photography by whoever wants to do it. [*Note: Cashman pasted the relevant portion of the judgment in his email; but I’ve left it out for brevity’s sake.]

Let me know if you have any further questions. Thanks for asking

Patrick

5/17/19

Thank you for the responses Patrick.

I’m in an interesting position because I’m a participant, colleague/friend of many of the organizers over the years, and a journalist who prefers to keep a healthy distance when reporting about these events. That’s why your perspective on the event and actions around the route being made public are interesting to me.

Not sure if anyone has explained this to you yet, but the route is kept secret out of respect for the organizers who have spent years forging a productive working relationship with the Portland Police Bureau in order to keep this ride welcoming and safe for as many people as possible. The ride itself is unique: It’s free and put on by grassroots volunteers, it’s massive (and a major traffic consideration, hence the relationship with the PPB), and of course many of the people are naked.

While I understand your points about the letter of the law, many things our city and citizens do are in a grey area. That is, people come together to figure out a way to do something that might not fit perfectly inside the law, but that allows people to do what they want to do and gives the Police a feeling that public safety is assured. Take speeding in cars as an example. Police have a policy of not ticketing people until they go about 9-11 mph over the posted speed limit. That’s just one example.

Organizers of the Naked Bike Ride do not want people to target the participants in any way. They want to limit the amount of people who show up just to catcall, leer, and take photographs of nude strangers. While you may have no interest in doing any of those things, many people do. And because of that it seems reasonable to keep the location and route secret and to discourage photography at the start venue.

We can agree to disagree about this of course. I’m just trying to give you more context for why this event is treated like it is. Now keep in mind, I’m not on the inside. I have never played a role in organizing the event. If you’re interested, I could introduce you to one of the organizers.

Thanks again for your time. Have a nice weekend.

— Jonathan

5/18/19

Jonathan,

We’re going to have to agree to disagree. For me it is a matter of priority and from my perspective open, equitable, and accountable government comes before most anything else. Have a great weekend.

Patrick.

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

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The Monday Roundup: Cheap gas, expensive life lessons, ‘woonerf’ life and more

Tue, 05/28/2019 - 10:02


Welcome to the week. Yes, I realize it’s Tuesday; but that doesn’t diminish our need to share the best stories from the past week. We cull the web and social medias so you don’t have you. Thanks to all the readers who flag stories for us.

Here’s what you need to know…

This week’s Roundup brought to you by Treo Bike Tours. Check out their all-inclusive bike vacations in eastern Oregon.

Bikes in flight: This is big: As of May 21st, American Airlines no longer charges a $150 oversized baggage fee for bicycles. Check Bicycling for an updated roundup of airline bike baggage fees.

Mending a bike and a human spirit: Street Roots’ executive director shared the story of her partly-stolen bike, the person who apologized for the deed, and the people who helped get it rolling again.

Encouraging fossil fuel use: Oregon State Senator Brian Boquist has floated the idea of cutting the gas tax from 34 to 18 cents as a way to offset increased energy costs that might result from the legislature’s “Clean Energy Jobs Bill”.

Quick demos work: Oh look, a bike lane project in a downtown area is non-controversial and will now be expanded because Seattle’s DOT approached with the tried-and-true ‘Better Block’ method.

Power to cite: Fascinated by this Washington D.C. bill that would allow people to issue parking tickets for some violations.

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State of the scooters: OPB delved into concerns from disability rights advocates about how PBOT is handling complaints about scooters and their users in pilot 2.0.

Right turn on red is evil: A San Francisco city councilperson has moved forward the possibility of banning right turns on red, citing the need to do something to move the needle on their march toward Vision Zero.

Law breakers: Latest episode of The War on Cars podcast takes on the heated topic of traffic laws and the behavior of bicycle riders (and includes a shout-out to our story on Idaho Stop).

Value of life lessons: Lance Armstrong says the lessons he’s learned going “from hero to zero” are so valuable he wouldn’t change a thing about the gargantuan doping scandal that now defines him.

Pack my bags: I want to visit New York City just to check out this exhibit about bicycling’s cultural impact currently on display at the Museum of the City of New York.

Video of the Week: Dream a little dream and learn what life is like on a Dutch “woonerf” street thanks to Streetfilms’ Clarence Eckerson who just returned from The Netherlands

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

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In front, in back, or at your side? Where should kids ride?

Tue, 05/28/2019 - 08:46

Other than getting confused by Fortnite references, I love riding side by side.
(Photos: Madi Carlson)

Front, back, side by side — these are all good ways to ride with kids! Different circumstances might call for different positioning during each ride, but I’m curious which configuration is your favorite and why. Non-family bikers, you can play, too, and share your preference(s) for riding with another adult.

Our Family Biking column is sponsored by Clever Cycles.

➤ Read past entries here.

Kids in the front
I think my kids got a good handle on traffic rules during their years as passengers on my bike thanks to my narration of our rides…even though it was just for the purpose of keeping them distracted from fighting with one another. But no matter the reason this made them smart road users right from the get go. Even so, when they first started riding their own bikes, I had them ride in front of me so I could keep an eye on them and shout reminders to stay out of the door zone — car doors can swing open four feet — and to check for cross traffic at intersections. Despite my very frequent reminders, they loved the independence of riding in front of me. We’ve always lived close to multi-use paths and having the kids in front of me for long stretches with no intersections to worry about is marvelous — especially if one kid wants to ride a lot faster than the other.

No shenanigans when the kids are in front.

At first I saw no reason to tinker with our working system, but as they got bigger and I started reading about bike trains I realized I should put myself in the conductor position. This was a harder adjustment for me than for them because I was so used to keeping an eye on them at all times.

Kids in the back

Leading our bike train to school, choo choo.

Once the kids became practiced solo riders and I got more comfortable being out with them on their own bikes, I started leading the way. The main thing I like about having the kids behind me is that I present a much bigger shape and people driving will be more likely to notice me than a small child. I also like being the one to declare an intersection safe to enter and putting myself into it first.

“As they got bigger and I started reading about bike trains I realized I should put myself in the conductor position.”

Of course there are the expected detriments to not knowing everything going on behind oneself. I didn’t realize until riding with a friend and hearing his giggles that my younger son had been practicing riding without hands on his handlebars. I’ve even seen parents leading capering kiddos (often riding no-handed but doing other silly stuff, too), but I never thought that’d be me! I guess this is the version of flexing that independence muscle for biking kids once they don’t get to ride in front anymore.

Even after we swapped from kids-in-the-front to kids-in-the-back they still rode in front of me quite a bit. This mostly took place on multi-use paths and neighborhood greenways, and they always waited for me to catch up and lead the way through intersections. We’d start our days with me leading the way for several blocks of bike lane before they zoomed ahead on the multi-use path by our house, and then ceded the lead back to me once we left the path.

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Now that the novelty of being on their own wheels has worn off (they’re 12 and nine) they stay behind me (doing know knows what) all the time. But they’re fine to ride off ahead and even completely alone if they want to.

Riding side by side with kids

“If I’m not quick enough with my announcement one of them will say, ‘Car back, single file!'”

It’s legal to ride two abreast so long as you don’t impede traffic. This is how we ride most the time these days. This is solely because they attend different schools so I commute with them one at a time and they’re stuck chatting with me rather than doing their who-knows-what behind me. I have my variety of routes and still opt for the fastest route when I’m alone, which usually means lots of unbuffered bike lanes on busy streets, but with the kids we stick to quiet streets which are conducive to riding side by side. Note: people ride side by side in bike lanes, but even though I have fairly good bike handling skills I find this feels cramped and uncomfortable so I consider bike lanes to be single-file routes.

On weekends, or if I bring one kid along on the other’s school commute, we revert to mom-in-front formation, though they tend to ride side by side with one another behind me. However, their bikes are so small with handlebars so narrow that they don’t take up much more room than my big bike and me.

We’re all conscientious about impeding traffic and shift to single file for any people driving cars approaching from behind, as well as for any approaching from the front on narrow roads. It’s been fun to learn that despite their incessant chatter about school, dogs, memes, and video games, they know the drill because if I’m not quick enough with my announcement one of them will say, “Car back, single file!”

On SE Clinton, the most bike-friendly street we take with its many “Bicycles May Use Full Lane” signs, I don’t worry about rushing into a single file as people in cars approach since there’s room for them to pass around us. There’s room for passing on streets without the “Bicycles May Use Full Lane” signs, but I don’t like getting honked or yelled at and expect that to happen when riding two abreast on any other street. Today, uncharacteristically, we stayed two abreast after the Clinton greeway wiggled south one block to Woodward (still greenway, but no full lane signage) and a man griped, “Single file!” at us as he passed with plenty of room.

So what about you? Front? Back? Two abreast? Three abreast (we did quite a bit of that today on wide quiet streets)? I’d love to hear which and why. Thanks for reading!

Remember, we’re always looking for people to profile. Get in touch if it sounds like fun to you. 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

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TriMet wants to build protected intersections at three locations in east Portland

Fri, 05/24/2019 - 11:12

Graphic of proposed design for SE Division and 162nd shown by TriMet this week.

Staff working on TriMet’s Division Transit Project dropped a bit of a bombshell at the end of an advisory committee meeting earlier this week: They plan to build protected intersections at SE 122nd, 148th, and 162nd.

Protected intersections are a big deal. They are considered the safest way to handle bicycle traffic at what’s typically considered the weakest link in a safe facility. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 43% of urban cycling fatalities occur at intersections.

“This design can reduce the likelihood of high-speed vehicle turns, improve sight lines, and dramatically reduce the distance and time during which people on bikes are exposed to conflicts.”
— National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) on protected intersections

TriMet has spent five years planning the $175 million Division Transit Project and is now just six months away from the start of construction. The main goal is to speed up and boost capacity of buses to help more people reap the benefits of reliable, affordable, carfree transportation. TriMet says the 15 miles of “enhanced service” between downtown Portland and Gresham will speed up travel times an average of 15-20%.

We’ve recently focused on how bicycle users would interact with the new station designs; but we hadn’t heard anything about protected intersections until Tuesday night.

The plans were shared during a presentation (PDF) to the joint meeting of the Portland Bureau of Transportation’s bicycle and pedestrian advisory committees. TriMet says the designs are still in development and they’re working with PBOT to further vet them and make changes if necessary.

Protected intersections were first fleshed out by Portland planner Nick Falbo (who now works for PBOT) in 2014. Since then, over a dozen U.S. have installed them; but Portland hasn’t. We hoped to see one on the West Burnside project (currently under construction), but because of the off-set nature of the intersection and other compromises made during the design process, it’s not a perfect example.

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(Before-and-after of a protected intersection in San Jose, CA. GIF made from images taken from NACTO website).

In their just-released design guide, the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) writes that protected intersections are, “Physically separated crossings that provide a high degree of comfort and safety for people of all ages and abilities. This design can reduce the likelihood of high-speed vehicle turns, improve sight lines, and dramatically reduce the distance and time during which people on bikes are exposed to conflicts.”

TriMet Project Manager Jesse Stemmler told us they intend to use the treatment on Division because the typical way to handle left turns for bicycle riders — a “two-stage turn” with green queue boxes — won’t work given the traffic volumes and other operational issues at these intersections. “We instead needed to create a protected space that would still allow for right turns and bus through movement, while allowing for refuge space for people bicycling and walking, with signal phasing protection from right turning traffic (no right turn on red) for both.”

Here’s more from TriMet on their rationale for the design:

The protected intersection design would narrow roadway crossing distances and exposure time for people walking, and provide physical protection between the bike lane and the intersection. It would provide space for left-turning bicycles to queue outside of the motor vehicle travel lanes while making a two-stage turn. This will allow the signal to be operated with concurrent left and right turn phasing for motor vehicles, which will reduce delay for buses on Division by keeping them in the travel lane and allowing for queue jumps.

This would be a huge upgrade to these intersections. Let’s hope (and do what we can to make sure) they don’t get value-engineered or compromised out of the project.

Construction of the Division Transit Project is expected to start in November with service to begin in 2022. Learn more in our archives or at TriMet.org/Division

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

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Route advisory: River View Cemetery closed to bicycle riders this weekend

Fri, 05/24/2019 - 08:04

Stay out please.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

In case you forgot (we mentioned it back in March), the annual Memorial Day closure of River View Cemetery starts tomorrow (5/25) and runs through Monday (5/27).

This closure is done to maintain calm and order on the streets through the cemetery on their busiest weekend of the year.

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Please respect this closure. The cemetery is a private enterprise that graciously allows bicycle riders through its property because the optional routes are dangerous and highly stressful. Let’s not abuse this privilege and/or give the River View board of directors any reason to change their current policy.

Spread the word to friends and feel free to use the roads again starting on Tuesday (5/28). Thanks.

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

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Jobs of the Week: Otto’s Ski and MTB, Velotech, RecumbentPDX, Bike Clark County

Fri, 05/24/2019 - 06:29

Looking for a new place to spread you cycling wings? We’ve had four new job opportunities posted this week.

Learn more about each one via the links below…

–> Mountain Bike Mechanic – Otto’s Ski and Mountain Bike

–> E-Commerce Category Manager – Velotech

–> Full-time Mechanic Position – RecumbentPDX

–> Bike 101 Summer Camp Counselor – Bike Clark County

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For a complete list of available jobs, click here.

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

Thu, 05/23/2019 - 12:42

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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(Photo: BiketownTours.com)

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

Thu, 05/23/2019 - 11:27

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

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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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Please consider a $10/month subscription or a one-time payment
to help maintain and expand this vital community resource.
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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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