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BikeCraft vendor spotlights: Becky Morton, Hippy Thread, ANTHM Collective

Bike Portland - Wed, 12/05/2018 - 15:51

Welcome to the latest installment of our 2018 BikeCraft vendor spotlights thanks to our friend Elly Blue from Microcosm Publishing. Below are just a few of the folks and fineries you’ll get to meet at the big event. Don’t miss our other vendor spotlights here, here, and here. And save those pennies!

Becky Morton

Becky may be familiar to you as the former proprietor of Bikeasaurus, the charming and very BikeCrafty shop in Southeast Portland that brought together all manner of bike-themed novelties and city riding accessories. We’re excited she’ll be bringing her newest venture to this year’s event: Soap bedecked with bicycles!

Becky.
(Photo: Paul Glahn)

What are you bringing to BikeCraft? What’s the most important thing people should know about it?
I’m bringing handmade soap. It’s all natural, vegan, and made with no palm oil. The flavors I’m bringing this year are: Pink Grapefruit, Douglas Fir, Rosemary Spearmint, Sweetgrass with Oats, and Lavender Tea Tree.

Tell us about yourself—what events in your life led you to be doing this bikey craft?
I’ve always loved the smell and feel of good quality bar soap. About five years ago, I started making my own and discovered that I love handmade soap even more. Since I became a soap maker, I’ve really enjoyed having soap on hand to give as gifts to friends and family: a practical, but lovely gift!

What’s your favorite BikeCraft memory?
BikeCraft was my favorite event as a vendor, back when I had my retail store Bikeasaurus. It was always a bustling and heartwarming weekend for me. Great community, creative merchandise, and lots of fun. I’m excited to be back selling my own bikey craft this year!

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Anne Williams – Etsy / Instagram

I was secretly crossing my fingers that this year’s BikeCraft would yield me a waterproof seat cover that doesn’t advertise a local grocery chain. And thankfully, first-time vendor Anne Williams has come through! These look great and I’m planning to snag one early.

What are you bringing to BikeCraft? What’s the most important thing people should know about it?
I’m making waterproof bicycle seat covers out of laminate cotton. My design comes in 8 exciting patterns for everybody’s taste and in two different sizes.

Tell us about yourself—what events in your life led you to be doing this bikey craft?
I’m French; I was born in Normandie, France. I moved to the Pacific Northwest 2 years ago to hike the Pacific Crest Trail from Mexico to Canada and I end up staying on the west coast after that. I always try to find the solution to a problem and being a commuter in the PNW is getting your butt wet and damaging your beautiful leather seat. My solution is creating a waterproof cover for the seat that is removable and washable too.

What’s your favorite BikeCraft memory?
I discovered BikeCraft last year. I was really impressed how every vendor was so creative around the same theme in their own way .

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ANTHM Collective – website

Mmmmm, wool jerseys are one of the best things about winter. Wool keeps you warm even when it’s raining, breathes well, and is comfortable after you’re done riding, rather than needing to be immediately removed as far from your skin as possible. I’m excited to see what this new, local brand has to offer. Welcome to BikeCraft, Brian and team!

What are you bringing to BikeCraft? What’s the most important thing people should know about it?
The main focus will be on our Wool blend cycling jersey. The Saltzman Jersey (Men’s and Women’s, short sleeve and long sleeve) debuted last year as a partnership with River City Bicycles. Since then, it has become the cornerstone of ANTHM Collective as the brand continues to grow. It is sustainably sourced with a transparent supply chain using the finest materials out there. Sewn and finished right here in Portland! We’ll also bring some other product types like headwear and our 100% Organic Made in USA t-shirts.
Tell us about yourself—what events in your life led you to be doing this bikey craft?

My relationship with bikes followed a pretty standard trajectory. Fun bikes as a kid gave way to transportation bikes as an adult. I came to racing late, but bikes have been central to my life for about 15 years now. Mostly of the non-paved variety.

Professionally, I had the good fortune of working with some of the greatest alpinists and big mountain skiers of this generation. Building products to keep them alive in the most extreme conditions opened my eyes to what could be accomplished with textiles and exceptional manufacturing. When my career transitioned away from those product types, I still needed that outlet for building beautiful and technical apparel. The natural progression was to marry my personal passions of sustainability and cycling by creating apparel under my own label.

What’s your favorite BikeCraft memory?

First time for ANTHM, first time for me. But very excited to join the gang.

Learn more about BikeCraft at the official website.

— Elly Blue/Microcosm Publishing

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After WA won #1 for a decade, Bike League changes its state-by-state report cards

Seattle Bike Blog - Wed, 12/05/2018 - 13:41

From the League of American Bicyclists’ 2018 WA State Report Card (PDF).

Perhaps tired of handing the top honors to a barely-deserving Washington State year after year, the League of American Bicyclists changed its annual state-by-state rankings into a set of 50 individual report cards that track each state’s progress. And by this new measure, Washington State isn’t doing so hot.

Washington had won the top spot in the League’s rankings an absurd ten years in a row. On one hand, this was an impressive feat by our state. But after years of winning the honor even without any tangible progress, it also started to feel a bit sad. Were other states even trying? Was Washington winning “best” or “least bad?”

So while it might take a positive headline away from Washington, it probably makes sense to stop ranking our state number one every year. Instead, the League is issuing each state a report card that tracks its own progress compared to the previous year. And their report isn’t as rosy:

Washington state, the only state to be ranked #1 in the ten years of our Bicycle Friendly State ranking, shows some weakness in its federal data indicators.

While the state’s federal data indicators are consistently above the national average and each one is in the top 10 over the last decade, both the rate of bicycling to work and the rate of bicyclist traffic fatalities are headed in the wrong direction.

The state certainly has the tools to reverse these trends in both
its advocacy organizations and the Washington Department of Transportation & Public Facilities, but the state is in danger of losing its long-time #1 ranking.

In a weird way, though, WSDOT seems to be doing better work on biking in recent years than it has throughout its history. Biking and walking elements rarely feel like afterthoughts anymore. Compare the quality of the 520 Bridge Trail to the I-90 Bridge Trail, for example. And while the department is still carrying out a lot of backwards freeway projects (often due to state legislature funding earmarks), top leadership takes biking and walking seriously. Remember when WSDOT Secretary Roger Millar said traffic congestion is due to a lack of affordable housing with access to better transportation options? That was awesome.

So, Washington, we have a lot more work to do. And maybe benchmarking our progress against ourselves (or bike-friendly nations around the world) would be more useful than comparing ourselves to the other 49 states.

More data from the report card (PDF):

Tour of California bike race host cities announced for 2019

Biking Bis - Wed, 12/05/2018 - 12:35

It’s hard to believe the Tour of California is celebrating its 14th year in 2019.

I remember anxiously awaiting the pre-race announcements for the event that was scheduled to start in February 2006. What was the route? What were the teams? Who would be the top riders (George Hincapie, Floyd Landis, and Levi Leipheimer competed)?

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Watershed Mckenzie Zipdry Bag for Rainy Season

Bike Hugger - Wed, 12/05/2018 - 12:29

The Watershed Mckenzie Zipdry Bag is a great example of a new product that came to market because of the gravel category. While the niche didn’t move the needle in bike sales as much as anticipated, it sure has inspired designers to make products cyclists can benefit from.

Inside Mckenzie Zipdry bag, I’m carrying cameras, lens, a shell, and some snacks. A drone on occasion too. You can stuff whatever you want in it, of course. The company was born in the Carolinas but their made-in-the USA bags are widely used all over the world.

Rainy Season

With rainy season upon us in Seattle, I need to keep my electronics dry and also move bags between bikes. I don’t like to carry stuff on my back. That’s the reason I use a fanny pack and for a compact camera use the ATM as seen on the Trek Boone I rode for a summer.

Watershed’s McKenzie Handlebar Bike Bag pairs their ZipDry patented technology for even the wettest ride. With its quick, easy and super secure bar mounting system, this 15oz bag that holds 900 CU.IN, prevents any unwanted movement to your items while keeping them 100% dry – even while on the trickiest singletrack. The bag also works in conjunction with their Ocoee padded liner and divider sets for cameras and lenses.

I have enough liners from other camera bags to stuff my own into the dry bag. Though, Drybag’s liners are made from a 200 denier nylon exterior and velcro receivable fleece interior surrounding 1/2″ closed-cell foam and with a handle to pull out of the drybag quickly.

It isn’t on Amazon at this time, but you can find other very nicely made bags from them like duffels. I have’t spent much time with the Mckenzie Zipdry bag yet but will even in the pouring rain.

The post Watershed Mckenzie Zipdry Bag for Rainy Season appeared first on Bike Hugger.

Portland ponders pilot of powerful transportation data tool

Bike Portland - Wed, 12/05/2018 - 12:07

Screenshot of Replica showing origin of streetcar trips.

A powerful new data collection tool has local transportation agencies salivating.

Replica by Sidewalk Labs (owned by Alphabet, the company that owns Google) bills itself as a “next-generation urban planning tool.” Using location data gleaned from cell phones and other sources, Replica creates a “synthetic population” based on aggregate U.S. Census data. The promise of this tool is that it can give planners and engineers unprecedented insights into the traffic patterns and mobility behaviors of urban residents.

From regional trends to fine-grain analysis of travel to-and-from specific destinations, this data has vast potential. But it also requires trust from a wary public fearful of privacy breaches and government/corporate overreach.

At this morning’s Portland City Council meeting, the Portland Bureau of Transportation urged Mayor Ted Wheeler and his colleagues to approve an intergovernmental agreement (PDF) between PBOT, Metro and TriMet that would enable the agencies to enter into a 12-month pilot with Sidewalk Labs. Here’s more from the official city ordinance under consideration:

“The more information we have about how, when, and why our streets being used, the better we are able to plan for and accommodate those demands and make our city work better for everyone.”
— Chloe Eudaly, city commissioner

“Sidewalk Labs is seeking metropolitan regions to pilot test Replica, a data tool developed by Sidewalk Labs, a subsidiary of Alphabet, Google’s parent company, that provides a high-fidelity, synthetic representation of how people travel during a typical week… As designed, Replica is capable of providing the City of Portland with rich data pertaining to transportation supply (the configuration of the roadway network, transit service, bicycle routes, and footpaths), transportation demand (representations of all personal travel that takes place in the region), land use (estimates of how land is used, for example, estimates of spatially-specific employment and school enrollment estimates as well as spatially and temporally-specific estimates of other activities, e.g., shop, eat, recreate), and demographics (including income, race, and household size). This data is not currently available to PBOT at the volume, depth, or frequency that the Replica tool is able to provide; and, access to this data, once validated, has the potential to greatly enhance PBOT’s ability to understand how people are moving through our transportation system as well as if and how investments in this system ultimately impact mobility and motivate transportation choices.”

PBOT Commissioner Chloe Eudaly said she’s “very excited” about the project. “The more information we have about how, when, and why our streets being used, the better we are able to plan for and accommodate those demands and make our city work better for everyone.”

Eudaly addressed the privacy issue by saying all the information (before it even reaches Sidewalk Labs) would be “de-identified.” “This is not about tracking individuals,” she assured council prior to the staff presentation.

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Replica promo video by Sidewalk Labs

“This tool can fundamentally change the game for us.”
— PBOT

The PBOT staffer who pitched the concept to City Council said the data provided by Replica would be “core to the work we do.” The idea is being sold as a way to measure whether current transportation investments are working, or whether or not future investments would result in desired outcomes. If Sidewalk Labs can meet the City’s privacy regulations, the PBOT staffer said Replica could be, “game-changing.” “Today we do it via surveys and hand-counts. It’s expensive and labor intensive,” he shared. “This tool can fundamentally change the game for us.”

The 12-month pilot would cost $457,300 (based on total population if the Portland metro area at a cost of 20 cents person), which would be split three ways by PBOT, Metro and TriMet.

It might seem like a slam-dunk decision for Council, but privacy concerns are sure to take center stage. Three members of the public testified at this morning’s hearing with strong opposition to the idea. Between now and the second reading of the ordinance where a vote could happen, Mayor Wheeler and others might look to Toronto where Sidwalks Labs is in the middle of a major debate over how their Replica tool will be used to plan an entire neighborhood.

Portland isn’t new to the big data/urban planning space. PBOT already has a contract with local firm Ride Report that offers a data dashboard showing bike counts and bike/scooter share locations. And in 2016, PBOT pitched then US DOT Secretary Anthony Foxx on their “Ubiquitous Mobility” concept that was a finalist for a major “smart city” prize (which we ultimately lost to Columbus, Ohio).

Margi Bradway, a former staffer at the Oregon Department of Transportation who brokered a deal to use GPS data from Strava, a popular cycling app, brought her love of data to PBOT when she was hired to lead their Active Transportation Division in 2014. Bradway now works at Metro where she’s deputy director of transportation planning. Metro will be the lead agency on the Replica project if and when it’s approved by Portland City Council.

Learn more about Replica here and stay tuned for its next hearing.

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

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Now you can donate Biketown credits to people in need (and other bike share news)

Bike Portland - Wed, 12/05/2018 - 10:02

Biketown for all!
(Photo: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

A new program offered by Portland’s bike share system gives members and account holders an opportunity to play Santa this holiday season.

Biketown’s “Pay it Forward” program gives riders with surplus credits on their account the ability to donate them to others. Specifically, the account credits can be given to the system’s Biketown For All program that helps people cover the cost of their first month of membership.

Biketown for All was launched two years ago and currently has 440 members, all of whom receive reduced fares ($3 per month). The Portland Bureau of Transportation says Biketown for All members are the most active users of the system, with seven of them in the top ten for overall mileage.

Biketown account holders can receive $1 credits on their account when they return an undocked bicycle to specially-marked “Bonus” stations, or for retrieving bikes that are outside the service area. The average Biketown member has five credits on their account at any given time.

“After signing up, many Biketown users quickly generate more positive credits on their balance than they need,” PBOT said in a statement about the new program last week. “Leading to a surplus that could easily be reallocated to users who could use some financial support.”

Here’s more from PBOT:

All new Biketown for All members will receive the $3 Pay-it-Forward credit and, as part of their membership, agree that when they generate enough credit to pay for their next 6 months, $3 will be donated from their account back into the Pay-it-Forward program. The “Pay it Forward” opportunity will be available for general Biketown members this season, to give all Biketown members, not just Biketown for All members, an opportunity to contribute and support the program.

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To check your balance and participate in this program, just log into your Biketown account and fill out a form.

In other bike share news…

Lyft’s new bike.

– Lyft recently finalized its deal to acquire Motivate (something we reported back in July). Motivate is the company that operates Biketown and many other large bike share systems across the U.S. Lyft says 80 percent of all bike share rides in the country were made on Motivate systems last year.

In a show of strength and well-timed PR, Lyft also announced a $100 million upgrade to New York City’s bike share program that will add 40,000 new bikes and triple the size of its fleet.

My hunch is Lyft is a very strong contender to do something similar in Portland once our current contract with Nike is up this summer. Biketown is desperate for a cash infusion and Lyft is well-positioned to provide it. The company doesn’t have the political baggage of Uber (who owns a competing bike share/scooter brand Jump), and Lyft’s head of scooter and bike policy, Caroline Samponaro, is a big fan of Portland. Samponaro attended the recent Alice Awards fundraiser for The Street Trust and the company was a major sponsor of the event.

Scooters didn’t hurt bike share use in Portland. The Willamette Week reported late last month that Biketown ridership increased during the four-month e-scooter pilot. “The popularity of e-scooters,” they wrote, “in combination with the increased use of bike share paint an encouraging picture of a less car-dependent city.”

It’s not hard to close your eyes and fast-forward to fall 2019 when we’ve got: major protected bikeways projects underway (thanks to Central City in Motion), a vastly upgraded bike share system, and phase two of our e-scooter pilot humming along. A guy can dream, can’t he?

Learn more about the program here.

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

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Calendars feature Washington bicycle trails on covers

Biking Bis - Wed, 12/05/2018 - 08:39

If you’re looking for a bicycling themed calendar to help keep track of your busy days as your roll through 2019, consider two that feature Washington rail-trails on their covers.

The calendar I’m most excited about is published by Rails to Trails Conservancy, featuring a photo I took last fall on the Snoqualmie Valley Regional …

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Portland Wheelmen Touring Club to consider name change

Bike Portland - Tue, 12/04/2018 - 13:28

Club members Ann Morrow (left) and Kathleen Hellem at a recent Sunday Parkways event.
(Photo: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

What do you think of when you hear the name Portland Wheelmen Touring Club?

Established in 1971, this is the oldest riding club in the area with a proud legacy of leading (daily!) group rides, raising funds for non-profits, and putting on great events like the Pioneer Century.

As they approach their 50th anniversary, PWTC is doing some soul-searching and club leaders say a name-change is a very real possibility.

In a note to members in their November newsletter, the club’s Board President Chip Kyle wrote, “The board believes that — with great trepidation – we need to reexamine our club name and how it represents who we are, what we do and how we want to grow.” The reason? The current crop of members is getting older and the club isn’t attracting new, younger riders. “We have seen that participation in our club rides comprises predominantly retired males,” he wrote.

Kyle also says, despite having many active women members, they’re frequently asked if women are allowed to participate.

After a recent club survey showed a majority of people think a new name is needed, the group plans to discuss the possibility at their monthly meeting Thursday night.

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“Women flat out tell us they won’t join with ‘Wheelmen’ in the club name.”
— Ann Morrow

Former club President (and member since 1992) Ann Morrow said the “Wheelmen” name made sense back when the club was founded (the national advocacy group League of American Bicyclists was the League of American Wheelmen until 1994). But these days Morrow acknowledges that word is a problem. “Women flat out tell us they won’t join with ‘Wheelmen’ in the club name,” she shared with me via email yesterday. “We are an inclusive club and women are very involved as ride leaders, board members and in various positions of power and responsibility. I personally do not know any Wheelperson who cares about gender identification as related to being a member of our club,” Morrow continued. “They are supportive and welcoming. But the name might suggest otherwise.”

Then there’s the “touring” part. That can be intimidating to some riders, she says, and it doesn’t even reflect the type of rides the club leads.

Morrow shared that the name change topic has come up for the club in the past, including in 2001 when it failed by a couple votes and the debate left many with hurt feelings. “We may have a more sympathetic membership now to get to a change,” Morrow says. “We do care about the misconceptions.”

But what should it be? At this point, all suggestions are welcome.

Learn more about the club at PWTC.com.

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

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ODOT needs your input on Oregon Coast Bike Route Plan update

Bike Portland - Tue, 12/04/2018 - 10:59

Riding in a narrow shoulder just south of Waldport.
(Photo: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

What iconic Oregon bikeway is 370 miles long, connects 38 campgrounds, supports 670 full-time jobs and spurs $56.3 million in tourism spending? The Oregon Coast Bicycle Route (OCBR).

And it does all that despite a lack of strategic planning or updates since it was established in the early 1980s. Now that will finally change thanks to an effort by the Oregon Department of Transportation that has taken a significant step forward.

As we reported back in January, ODOT has been working on a major update to the OCBR. This morning they launched an online open house and they want your feedback on how to improve the route and to make sure the plan is headed in the right direction.

Here’s more from ODOT:

The public has a chance to provide input and share ideas about improving the OCBR by visiting an Online Open House through Jan. 31, 2019. The public input and ideas will help ODOT to better understand where the issues and gaps are along the route.

While ODOT does not currently have funding identified for improvements, the Oregon Coast Bike Route Plan will set the stage for future investments. The plan will identify needs and prioritize improvements to the route to increase safety, accessibility and enjoyment for residents, visitors and all users.

It has been over a decade since the OCBR was evaluated and no comprehensive planning work has ever been completed. With the changes in bicycle infrastructure standards, and the growth of bike tourism destinations and travel options both nationally and along U.S. 101, ODOT believes it’s the right time to do this work.

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Screenshot from online open house.

Once complete, the new Oregon Coast Bike Route Plan will define the route, identify ways ODOT and local agencies can make it better, and create a list of high-priority projects.

The online open house features an interactive map of specific locations where ODOT is considering improvements. You can learn more about the background of this project, view potential changes, see what the critical needs are, and view next steps via the online open house.

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

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Under Mayor Durkan, Seattle has only built about 4% of its 2018 bike lane goal

Seattle Bike Blog - Tue, 12/04/2018 - 10:50

Even many of the claimed mileage is misleading, since they are delayed from 2017. From an update to the Move Seattle Levy Oversight Committee (PDF).

Under Mayor Jenny Durkan, Seattle has nearly stopped building bike lanes. With the need to build more than ten miles of protected bike lanes in order to reach the Move Seattle Levy’s bike lane goals, SDOT says it will have constructed 1.88 miles in 2018. That is a pitiful 18 percent.

But the truth is even worse. That 18 percent is an inflated number. 1.49 of those 1.88 miles of bike lane were actually delayed 2017 projects that opened at the start of the year. They were accounted for in last year’s Move Seattle performance update as the excuse for why SDOT would miss its 2017 bike lane goals. So if you subtract those projects, SDOT has so far only constructed 0.39 of the 10.43 miles of protected bike lanes needed to meet the 2018 goal set by Seattle voters. That’s 3.7 percent.

There is no term for this other than failure.

But rather than apologizing for so wildly underdelivering on a goal set by the voters, Mayor Durkan had the gall to highlight it as though it were some kind of success. As though we can’t see that 1.4 or 1.88 or 0.39 are all numbers far lower than the goal of 10.43. In her self-congratulating document “One Year of Urgent Action (PDF),” she lists building bike lanes as an example that she is “delivering essential services and meeting the needs of our growing city”:

The NE 65th Street bike lanes currently under construction thanks to the tireless work of Councilmember Rob Johnson are pretty much the only bike lanes in active construction right now. Nearly everything else has been delayed. A highly-compromised neighborhood greenway in Rainier Valley, which will do some good but will fail at truly connecting the neighborhood, will make up the bulk of the 2018 mileage.

Below is the project list Mayor Durkan inherited when she took office, based on the voter-approved goals in the Move Seattle Levy and the Council-approved Bicycle Master Plan:

It’s hard to say whether Mayor Durkan is actively undermining SDOT’s efforts to grow biking as a viable transportation mode or if the department is floundering due to the leadership vacuum she has created at the top of the department. I want to believe it is the latter, and that Mayor Durkan is on the verge of appointing a good permanent SDOT Director she will entrust with the political backing needed to enact our city’s transportation plans and policies with urgency in 2019.

The coming traffic crunch downtown is only getting closer, and the mayor just wasted an entire year that she could have spent making planned street changes to provide more people with more options to get around without a car. Her bike route progress is grim, but her transit progress may be even worse.

The big test for Mayor Durkan is here. Decisions need to be made. Bike lane projects need to get a green light and her political backing. So many bus lanes need to be painted. We also need effective education and encouragement campaigns to help people change their transportation habits. All this needs to happen quickly if we want these options to be available to people when the traffic crunch begins.

As we wrote last week, the combination of bike share and more comfortable bike routes is working. We can see this in the Fremont Bridge bike counter data, which shattered records by a huge margin this year. And Seattle now has a huge backlog of projects ready to go in 2019. They just need the mayor’s backing.

All the time for waiting and delaying has been used up in 2018. I’ve already seen people referring to the upcoming transportation mess as the “Jenny Jam” because she has had chances to get ahead of the problem and has so far squandered them through delays and inaction. I don’t think that’s a moniker she wants to stick.

Mayor Nickels lost his political career because he didn't plan for a snowstorm. How are voters going to feel when we've had years to avoid the #JennyJam but did nothing? https://t.co/vygWzH6DFv

— Queen Anne Greenways (@QAGreenways) November 19, 2018

 

Family biking: Our annual tree-by-bike tradition

Bike Portland - Tue, 12/04/2018 - 10:22

An annual tradition.
(Photos: Madi Carlson)



This weekly column follows the adventures of Madi Carlson, a carfree mom of two who lives in southeast Portland.

Our Family Biking column is sponsored by Clever Cycles.

➤ Read past entries here.

I don’t celebrate Christmas, but having interfaith children and a love of carrying big things on my bike means we still get a tree every winter. My Chanukah candles are part of a regular grocery run so that doesn’t pack much punch in terms of biking excitement and tree fetching has become a tradition I really look forward to.

Back when I carried my kids on my bike I’d have to carefully wrap the tree in string or netting so it would fit down in my cargo bag. But now that they’re primarily on their own bikes I can just toss a tree up on my cargo deck at full fluff. I do this out of laziness, but it also looks most impressive like so. Not to mention the excess pine needles shake off en route so I can skip the line at the tree shaker.

OK boys, go find a tree!


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Over the years we’ve bought trees near and far. Our closest was five blocks from home, all uphill to get to the tree lot and all downhill to get home. Now we have access to a tree lot one flat mile from home, but we found the most exciting option to date: U-cut Christmas trees accessible by bike! It’s five miles to get there from Woodstock, but seven back so I can take a flatter route and not need to stop and rest on the way home. (I don’t know the name of the farm, but it’s at SE Lake Rd & SE Freeman Rd in Milwaukie.)

Do you have an annual tree-by-bike tradition? Where do you find your tree and how do you carry it?

Family portrait with hewn tree.

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

Browse past Family Biking posts here.

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This 1896 map shows the depth of Portland’s cycling culture

Bike Portland - Tue, 12/04/2018 - 08:13

The 1896 Cyclists Road Map of Portland is an absolute gem.
(Photos of map published by Cunningham & Banks)

In 1896 Portland had a thriving cycling culture complete with bike-specific fashion purveyors, bike-friendly restaurants, bike shops, and local businesses hoping to cater to our many “wheelmen” and women.

For years now I’ve let my mind wander 122 years into history thanks to the Cyclist’s Road Map of Portland District that hangs from the wall in my kitchen. The Vintage Portland blog posted an image of the map this morning and it reminded me that I’m overdue in giving this map its due here on the BikePortland Front Page. I’ve mentioned it a few times over the years, but it warrants a closer look.

The map, which cost 50 cents in its day, was published in May 1896 by Cunningham & Banks based on data compiled by civil engineer J.H. Cunningham. To give it more credibility, the map was adopted by the Multnomah Wheelmen, a riding club with a cool logo that featured an “M” with wings.

The boundaries were St. Helens to the north, the Sandy River to the east, Forest Grove to the West, and Oregon City to the south. In an effort to help riders gauge distance, concentric circles were drawn at one-mile increments from downtown Portland. There’s also an inset map (at right) of the Vancouver Ferry which promised rides (for five cents) between Oregon and Washington every 40 minutes most weekdays.

A quick look at the map and you’ll notice many of the streets we still use today. Keep in mind this was 1896. Most of the roads in the region were still unpaved and our streetcar network was in the middle of its lifespan. One thing I love about this map is that pre-dates automobiles. The first car dealership in America didn’t open until 1898 and my cursory research tells me Portland didn’t get one until the early teens of the next century.

This is great proof that — as our friend and award-winning journalist Carlton Reid has so exhaustively documented — roads were not built for cars.

Beyond lines on a map, one value of this artifact is the window it provides into the cycling culture of the time. The map’s legend, the information and “pointers”, and advertisements are a ton of fun.

The legend offered three levels of roadway conditions: good, fair and poor. The only thing deemed important enough to have its own symbol on the map was the location of taverns.

On the right side are two boxes of text titled, “Information for Wheelmen” and “Pointers.”


They offered route advice:

Allowance will have to be made, of course, for mud and dust, the roads east and north of the city being in better at riding condition more months in the year then those south and west.

Recent newspaper articles give the Foster Road the “black eye,” claiming it the poorest road in the county. This we consider erroneous, as the west end of this road is as good as it neighbors…

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One of the easiest and most picturesque runs out of Portland is the 3 mile run to St. Helens. After leaving Linton the road is all that could be desired, and the grades comparatively easy. Later in the year it is quite dusty in places. For ladies and those not wishing to make the round-trip by wheel, a delightful day maybe had by taking the O. R. & N Steamers from Ash Street at 7:00 a.m., arriving at Saint Helens around 9. You then have nearly the whole day in which to enjoy the beautiful scenery along the road, and a lunch you have taken may be daintily served at one of the numerous sparkling streams to be found… This run should be made when the wind is from the north. Fare to St. Helens, 50 cents, wheels free.

The easiest grade leaving west from the city is probably by way of the Canyon Road. Returning, we should say the Cornell Road offered the best grade. It is not safe to ride the Cornell Road without a good break, as the sharp angles and steep grades near the summit have caused many accidents.

Technical advice:

In lieu of graphite, soap makes a good lubricant for the chain.

A soft tire will not puncture as easily as one that is fully inflated, but is more liable to produce a cracked rim.

A few basic points on riding etiquette and style:

In approaching another rider from the rear, ring your bell and pass to the left.

Experienced riders often walk hills that amateurs try to ride.

A call-to-action for advocacy:

Every writer should get his support for the effort now been made to build a cinder path on the beautiful Riverside Drive.

And we even see that the bike-transit connection was alive and well back then:

In case of an accident near the city, the street railway companies will carry your wheel for an additional 25 cents.

The advertisements illustrate that Portland business owners saw an opportunity to cash in on the cycling craze. A pharmacy on SW 4th and Morrison touted a product called Dr. Barker’s Celery Kola that, for 75 cents a bottle, would, “restore lost vitality” if you were “exhausted or fatigued from hard riding.”

The White House, a restaurant on Riverside Drive promised “Special rates to bicycle parties.”

A cigar shop at 267 SW Morrison encouraged riders to drop in for a pre-ride smoke.

Meier & Frank sold women’s and men’s sweaters, “bicycle hose,” shoes, and caps.

The Overman Wheel Co. (which had two Portland locations) promoted their Victor brand of bicycles that came with “non-puncturable” tires, cotterless cranks and a hollow crank axle.

I wish I had a bunch of copies to sell; but I’m not even sure where you can one get these days. Years ago you could get one from the Oregon Historical Society store; but I haven’t seen it on there for a long time. The Street Trust also used to sell copies.

I love so much about this map. It proves our roads were not built for cars and that there’s been a strong cycling community in Portland for well over 100 years.

And don’t you just pine for the days when Highway 30 to St. Helens was nice and peaceful and you could hop on a “steamer” ship to get back to downtown after lunch next to a stream?!

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

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PBOT to request $6 million in state funds for Safe Routes to School projects

Bike Portland - Mon, 12/03/2018 - 11:16

This street on SE 174th near Alder School along Portland’s eastern city limits will get sidewalks if a PBOT grant application is successful.

At city council on Wednesday the Portland Bureau of Transportation will request support for a grant to the Oregon Department of Transportation to fund three Safe Routes to School projects in east Portland.

The three projects total $7.6 million and include sidewalks and crossing upgrades near schools around SE 174th, SE Holgate, and NE Shaver.

PBOT plans to ask ODOT for $6 million from the new Safe Routes to School Fund created with the $5.3 billion transportation funding package passed in 2017. As we reported back in August, ODOT has about $16 million available in this first two-year cycle of the new program. The fund requires a 20 percent local match and PBOT intends to cover the additional $1.6 million via the Fixing Our Streets program and Transportation System Plan allocations.

Here are the three projects they’ll seek funding for, as outlined in the ordinance that will be in front of city council this week:

Red lines are approximate project locations.

The SE 174th Ave project will address the lack of sidewalks along SE 174th Ave, SE Stark to SE Main, westside; and SE Division to SE Powell, westside. SE 174th Ave has a 35-mph speed limit and serves three elementary schools in the Centennial and Reynolds School Districts: Powell Butte, Patrick Lynch and Alder. Total project: $2,522,000

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The SE Holgate project will address the lack of sidewalks and crossings along SE Holgate, SE 102nd – SE 134th. SE Holgate is part of PBOT’s High Crash Network and serves three schools in the David Douglas School District: Earl Boyles and Gilbert Heights Elementary Schools and Ron Russell Middle School. Total project: $2,627,000

The NE Shaver project will address the lack of sidewalks and crossings along NE Shaver, NE 102nd – NE 115th. NE Shaver has a bus line and serves three schools in the Parkrose School District: Prescott Elementary, Parkrose Middle School and Parkrose High School. Total project: $2,500,000

PBOT has already completed much of the legwork needed to build Safe Routes projects and they are very well-positioned to break ground. A year-long public outreach process led to the identification of dozens of projects citywide, all of which you can view in this interactive map.

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

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The Monday Roundup: Oprah’s e-bike, California’s driving problem, e-scooter fatality, and more

Bike Portland - Mon, 12/03/2018 - 09:48

This week’s Monday Roundup is sponsored by the Ruckus Warehouse Sale, this Saturday December 8th.

Here are the most noteworthy items we came across in the past week…

You get an e-bike! And you get an e-bike! One of “Oprah’s Favorite Things” this year is an electric bike that she loves because it allows her to pedal up to 20 mph.

William Shatner likes them too: The entertainer credits his “magic” e-bike for helping him stay fit and creative well into his 80s.

Guerrilla bus stop benches: An anonymous artist and transit activist in Los Angeles is giving people a place to sit by installing unsanctioned wooden benches at bus stops.

Seattle bike share: Deeming dockless bike share a big success, the City of Seattle is expanding their program and expects to have up to 20,000 bikes on the street by this coming spring.

Too much driving: California’s climate change regulator released a new report saying the state isn’t meeting its goals because of the, “state’s inability to curb the amount of driving.”

Bike to fly: The venerable NY Times reported on how biking to the airport is a thing people actually do. The article featured a tidbit about Portland via a quote from yours truly.

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The men/women ‘cross chasm: The cyclocross world is aflutter because the men’s races are losing viewers (because the same guy wins every time) while the women’s races have never been more popular or exciting.

U-Dub goes cargo: The University of Washington uses a fleet of five electric cargo bikes to deliver all inter-campus mail and packages. The move has made the campus safer, cleaner, quieter, and more efficient.

Be an e-scooter tycoon: Think you can manage an electric scooter fleet better than a public agency? Bird will now sell any small business operator a fleet of scooters and all they pay is a 20 percent licensing fee.

Death by scooter rider: An elderly woman in Spain was hit and killed by a man riding a scooter.

Tweet of the Week: Our friend Steven Mitchell (who got harassed by a truck driver a few weeks ago), shared this great footage of a very common occurrence in Portland…

Those bikes, hogging the road. Probably one of those stupid bikes causing all this traffic. pic.twitter.com/SDm7Uc8oTR

— Steven Mitchell (@stevenrmitch) November 27, 2018

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

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