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Traffic Division officers star in new PPB ‘Talking Beat’ podcast

Bike Portland - Wed, 05/08/2019 - 12:05

Traffic Division Sgt. Ty Engstrom is featured in the new podcast.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Everyone’s podcasting these days… including your local police officers.

The Portland Police Bureau launched a new podcast today. The ‘Talking Beat’ aims to provide, “Thoughtful conversations that… will inform and provide you with a small glimpse of the work performed by Portland police officers as well as issues affecting public safety in our city.” Among the first three episodes unveiled today included a discussion about transportation issues.

Traffic Division Sgt. Ty Engstrom and Ofc. Chris Johnson joined the host for a wide-ranging chat that included topics like distracted driving, visibility of walkers (or lack thereof), why people are allowed to speed without being cited, and more. (You might recall that Sgt. Engstrom was recently featured in our story about stop sign enforcement at Ladd Circle.)

Below are a few salient excerpts:

“Everybody’s driving over the speed limit. And so the majority of traffic officers give quite a bit of leeway when it comes to speeding.”

On people not being visible enough when outside of a car…

Host: I think people wear all black, they have the choice to wear all black, but then they dart across the street. And they may have the walk signal and they may have the right to wear all black, but the bottom line is, I can’t see you. So I guess you can be right, but you can also be dead right.

Ofc. Johnson:.. my feeling is pedestrians need to have a role of making themselves more visible because the driver as they’re driving, what they’re picking up on is going to be movement or some sort of visibility, being able to identify something out there in the road. And they’re scanning and sometimes the wipers are going, it’s raining, it’s dark. Sometimes the dash lights are there so they can’t see as well as a pedestrian often thinks they’re being seen.

On distracted driving…

Host: What’s the top worst behavior you see?

Sgt. Engstrom: I think there is quite a bit of distracted driving out there. Our current laws talk about electronic device use that is specifically prohibited. However, there’s a lot of other distractions out there. It’s not just those things. Maybe those are the ones that are specifically included in the laws… So I think distractions play a large role and then also speed. Many studies have gone to look at speed and that’s a high contributor to crashes. And if we reduce the speeds, the amount of safety that is a result of that is exponential.

Host: We focus on the texting and the talking on our phones, but I’ve seen people shaving, reading their paper, eating a hamburger. You can cite them for that too?

Sgt. Engstrom: Not under that particular law, but we have other laws that can take into account those types of behaviors. Careless driving is a pretty all-encompassing type of law where if they’re doing anything that can put other people in danger, then depending on the level of that danger and the level of their actions, it could either be a violation of careless driving or it can be a crime of reckless driving, which a crime they can actually go to jail for.

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On vulnerable road users…

Host: We focus a lot on driving behavior, but there’s also the vulnerable road users. There’s bicyclists, there’s scooters, there’s pedestrians. And last year we had a significant number that were either injured or killed. They play a role as well. What can they do to stay safe?

Sgt. Engstrom: So anybody that’s not in a car, they’re not protected by that steel and metal all wrapped around them, and airbags and such. So they’re pretty vulnerable. I’m not going to say that it’s all the car’s fault, all the bicyclist’s fault, all the pedestrian’s fault. It’s everybody together. Everyone needs to take an effort and take a step towards making our roads more safe, and everyone needs to take their safety into their hands as well.

On officers’ discretion on when to cite…

Host: How do you decide whether to give a citation versus a warning?

Sgt. Engstrom: I can’t speak for all officers, but I will say that the majority of traffic officers probably feel the same way as me, that we give a lot of leeway. If we wanted to go out and write tickets for a five miles an hour over the speed limit, we could do that all day long. Everybody’s driving over the speed limit. And so the majority of traffic officers give quite a bit of leeway when it comes to speeding. I’m not going to say a specific number because I don’t want to give a magic number out to everybody and say, “Oh, it’s okay to go this fast because you’re not going to get a ticket.” But we give a lot of leeway. So if we stop you, that means you’ve pushed it real far.

And same thing with a lot of violations. Running red lights or things like that, I have a certain guideline for myself when the light turns red, where the position of the car is kind of a thing, and we give people a lot of leeway.

My goal is not to punish people and impact their lives and their livelihood with a bunch of fines and things like that.

What do you think? Full episode below:

You can learn more about the podcast on their website. If you have feedback or suggestions for future shows, call and leave a message at (971) 339-8868 or email talkingbeat@portlandoregon.gov.

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

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PBOT opts for new signal, crosswalks at notorious Multnomah/Garden Home intersection

Bike Portland - Wed, 05/08/2019 - 08:48

Future design of SW Multnomah at Garden Home. View is looking northeast. (Graphic: PBOT)

A notoriously high-stress intersection in southwest Portland with a dubious crash history will get a $2.1 million update that will include new traffic signals, crosswalks, bike lanes and medians.

As we reported back in December, the Portland Bureau of Transportation had two options on the table at SW Multnomah and Garden Home: a roundabout or traffic signals. The intersection sees 17,000 drivers a day and had 33 reported crashes between 2006 and 2015 — including one that killed 77-year-old bicycle rider Andrzej Kurkowski PBOT’s aim for the project was to reduce crashes by improving sight lines, “address queuing issues” (which I assume means to reduce congestion), and create safer spaces for walking and biking.

Here’s another shot of the design:

Based on comments to our previous stories on this project (see in related posts below), readers were split between the roundabout and signal. Both options seemed to have advantages and drawbacks. PBOT asked for users feedback and received over 900 responses to an online survey. In the end, PBOT said the higher cost and longer construction time of the roundabout made the signal a better option.

Here’s how they explained their decision:

“While more members of the community supported the roundabout option, there were concerns about the design not creating a clear separation for people walking and biking. There was also overwhelming consensus for PBOT to build this important safety improvement in a timely manner. With a significant cost difference between the roundabout design and a traffic signal – estimates for a roundabout were approximately $6M versus $4M for a signalized intersection – the bureau determined the best course of action was to proceed with the traffic signal option as securing additional funding for the roundabout design could put the project on hold indefinitely.”

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(Existing conditions)

Also based on feedback, PBOT says they’ll maintain vehicle access to SW 69th Avenue and The Old Market Pub by moving the intersection slightly to the east.

While the project is designed and engineered, PBOT says they’ve already changed the speed limit signs on this section of SW Multnomah from 35 to 30 mph.

Southwest Portland resident Eric Wilhelm told us he’s happy for the immediate speed limit reductions, but it’s not enough. “Just changing the speed limit doesn’t bring the street up to standards for bike lane separation given vehicle speeds,” he said. And with construction of the new signal and bike lanes not scheduled to begin until 2021 (after what PBOT says will be a one year design phase), Wilhelm adds, “In the meantime, this intersection should be an all-way stop and that stretch of Multnomah should have a 25mph speed zone.”

Wilhelm (like many others in our community) is tired of waiting years for fixes to intersections that are well-known to pose imminent hazards for bicycle users. “It’s been nearly three years since Kurkowski was killed here, with no changes. The recent fatal hit-and-run on 45th just south of Multnomah is yet another instance of unrestricted cut-through traffic on incomplete streets which shouldn’t be posted for such high speeds or striped like highways,” he says. “We continue to prioritize moving cars over people or safety and this design is no exception. We need PBOT to take swift and bold actions to connect and complete the networks for people instead of maintaining redundant connectivity for high-speed, high-volume car traffic.”

Funding for this project will come from Washington County ($1 million) and City of Portland Transportation System Development Charges ($1.15 million). Construction is estimated to begin in summer 2021. Sign up for project updates and learn more on PBOT’s website.

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

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Shimano GRX Gravel Adventure Launches

Bike Hugger - Tue, 05/07/2019 - 18:49

Shimano GRX Gravel Adventure components can be mixed and matched at three tiers in 1x or 2x configurations. The best part: now I can have top-mount auxiliary brake levers with hydraulic disc brakes.

It’s been SIX LONG YEARS since I had Runkels on my bike. Up until disc brakes, CX, gravel, and now adventure categories of bikes, I had Runkels.

What are Runkels? Here’s a post I wrote from 6 years ago.

Hydraulic Disc Brakes: Runkels No More

With a hydraulic disc-brake bike in the stable this year, I realized a setup I’ve ran forever would change. No more auxiliary brakes because you can’t interrupt the hydraulic lines. The brake levers on CX bars, in addition to the ones on the hoods, have many names. They include cheater, interrupter, top mount, auxiliary, and Runkel.

They are the best way to avoid hand fatigue on long rides over rough and dirt roads. That’s because I move my hands around changing positions; especially, on a long climb.

Shimano GRX Gravel Adventure

Updated ergonomics are what you need to know most about Shimano GRX Gravel Adventure groups and the crankset and levers are the most interesting aspects. In some ways they represent a continuation of trends started 35 years ago: bigger jumps between the chainrings and the levers evolve even more to make the hoods the default hand position. 

Kristen Legan and Parker Bloom Gravel Road biking in Kamloops, British Columbia Kristen Legan and Parker Bloom Gravel Road biking in Kamloops, British Columbia

The groups for gravel and adventure set can be broken down like this now:

  • SRAM: “We’ve simplified our top road groups. It’s the same levers and rear derailleur for 1x or 2x, it’s all eTap, and you can tune it with a free app on your smartphone.”
  • Shimano: “People like choices, so we created 4-5 dozen additional sku#s, most of them functionally redundant to existing product. But we finally introduced subcompact cranks, and you’ll be happy to hear that they use yet another new BCD pattern.”

When it comes to bikes and components, I’m brand agnostic. I get what work works for me and super excited about the return of more flexibility in how Mark builds up my bikes.

Shimano GRX Gravel Adventure Launches and brings with it the return of Runkels!

As per the usual, my personal bikes are always hacked together from various parts. The Modal, is just that a rolling testbed for whatever we’re into and testing. It’s running a combo SRAM/Shimano drivetrain.

Once we get a GRX group in, expect another post about it. For now, Shimano explains what they launched very well at their site.

The post Shimano GRX Gravel Adventure Launches appeared first on Bike Hugger.

You have until Thursday to comment on ODOT Director job description

Bike Portland - Tue, 05/07/2019 - 12:46

What would you like to see in the leader of ODOT?
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

The Oregon Department of Transportation is in desperate need of new leadership. Thankfully, the Oregon Transportation Commission is moving full steam ahead in their search for a new director.

The OTC’s search committee — led by Vice Chair Bob Van Brocklin, a lawyer with Stoel Rives LLP — has published a draft version of the job description and will accept public comment on it until this Thursday, May 9th. Below are a few salient excerpts from the description:

The OTC seeks a new chief executive that will manage ODOT through significant change…

The next Director will work effectively with a wide range of people, interests, and viewpoints to achieve an agenda that promotes a stronger economy, a cleaner environment, and a safer network of transportation facilities to serve all of Oregon…

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The selected candidate will support increasing the availability throughout the state of accessible, convenient,
and affordable mass transit, continuing to invest in existing and new facilities that strengthen Oregon’s diverse economies, and advocate for and take actions that result in reduced greenhouse gas emissions from vehicle emissions.

Oregon Transportation Commission Vice-Chair Bob Van Brocklin leads the search committee.
(Photo courtesy Stoel Rives)

Qualifications will include:

– A track record of solving access and mobility needs with holistic, equitable, multimodal investments.

– Demonstrated ability to align transportation investments with environmental, environmental justice, and public health objectives, including but not limited to meeting the state’s greenhouse gas reduction goals.

To offer feedback on the job description, fill out this form on ODOT’s website.

According to their published timeline, the OTC plans to confirm the new director via the Senate in September.

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

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Momentum builds as Portland preps bid for UCI Road World Championships

Bike Portland - Tue, 05/07/2019 - 11:44

(Graphic: Kevin Hyland)

For the past 12 months Portland resident Kevin Hyland has worked 40 hours a week on a big dream: He wants to bring the UCI Road World Championships to Portland in 2026.

Big crowds lined streets around the North Park Blocks for the 2011 Twilight Criterium race.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

This major event is a jewel in professional cycling’s “Triple Crown” along with the Tour de France and the Giro d’Italia. It has been held every year since 1921 (except for a pause during World War II) and has only been on United States soil twice: in Colorado Springs, Colorado in 1986 and in Richmond, Virginia in 2015.

“I’m not a racer, I’m just a guy who loves riding his bike,” Hyland shared with me during a recent conversation. He said he was inspired to embark on this quest during a ride with a friend who recently moved here from The Netherlands. “We live in such a beautiful place and we’re lucky to be able to ride,” Hyland recalls his friend saying. “I’m surprised we don’t have a major international bike race.”

Since that light bulb went off, Hyland has met with dozens of people. He has shared his vision with advocacy and nonprofit leaders, elected officials, government agency and tourism staffers, business owners, investors, and more. He’s gotten a long list of endorsements from notable Oregonians and bike racers. He’s assembled a team and has put together a 501c3 nonprofit organization that will run the event — and dole out proceeds to grassroots cycling programs statewide.

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“I’m convinced that the greater Portland area has the resources, know-how and passion for cycling, to successfully host the Cycling World Championships.”

While new to race organizing Hyland is a seasoned professional who knows his way around our city. A 50-year Portland resident, Hyland spent 35 years in sporting goods sales for companies like Nike, Gatorade, and Adidas.

Here’s his pitch: “I’m convinced that the greater Portland area has the resources, know-how and passion for cycling, to successfully host the Cycling World Championships. I also believe that this amazing event will bring the community together, re-energize the bike movement in the region, provide a lasting economic boost, and create global exposure for Portland and Oregon tourism, business development, and future athletic events.”

Hyland points to the success in Richmond. When they hosted the event in 2015, over 642,000 spectators from 29 countries took part in the 10 days of events and competitions and the event pumped $161 million into the regional economy.

It all sounds promising; but there’s still a lot of work to do. Hyland estimates he’d need thousands of volunteers to pull off the event. And then there’s the Local Organizing Committee (LOC), a group of experts that can handle the finances, legal issues, media relations, IT, and so on.

If Portland is chosen as host, the event would consist of 12 competitive races: Six road races and six individual time trials (where racers go against the clock). Course routes and start locations are still being ironed out (Hyland has met with leaders of the Portland police, transportation and and fire bureaus); but we know the road race would be about 80-140 miles long and would include the West Hills. Time trials would be on the east side and could be held on a major arterial. All events would finish on NW Naito Parkway.

In addition to the races, there would be ancillary events like live entertainment, festivals, and expos. The largest pro cycling teams from around the world would bring their team vehicles, superstar riders and devoted fans — all of which would add to the excitement.

Suffice it to say, Hyland and his team have a lot of work ahead of them.

Right now they’re putting together an initial bid that’s due January of next year. If the UCI accepts that, they’ll visit Portland to meet the Local Organizing Committee to see if we’re World Championship material. If they like what they see, a formal bid is due in July. The UCI will decide on the 2026 host city at their annual conference in September 2020.

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

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Grab the kiddos and get ready for the Gorge Pedal

Bike Portland - Tue, 05/07/2019 - 07:11

Biking with kids in the Columbia River Gorge.
(Photos: Madi Carlson)

As much as I love Portland proper and could happily spend all my days right here, I adore visiting the Columbia River Gorge — the waterfalls, the mighty Columbia, the trees, the flowers, the expansive views!

Our Family Biking column is sponsored by Clever Cycles.

➤ Read past entries here.

My next visit to this gorgeous region will be on July 20th for the Gorge Pedal 11-mile Family Ride. On that note, I want to give you a heads-up an informational session for Gorge-curious family bikers that’s happening this weekend:

Doing the Gorge with Kids on Bikes
Clever Cycles (900 SE Hawthorne Blvd)
Saturday, May 11, 2019
11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
BikePortland Calendar listing

The views are beautiful, including those of the areas bouncing back from the 2017 Eagle Creek Fire.

There will be cookies and juice! And answers to any and all questions you might have about biking with kids for an event of this length in the Gorge. Gorge Pedal organizer A J Zelada will answer all your questions about the event (route, parking, safety, post-ride celebration) and I’ll answer family-biking-specific questions (gear, supplies, snacks, kid corralling).

Our previous trips to the Gorge have been via tour van with Cordilleran Tours.

If you’re at all interested in the July event, come to the informational session, no need to have registered — kids 14 and under are free and adults are $29 for the Family Ride (and $40 for the 40-mile Gorge Climb Ride).

Traveling through the Gorge on bikes is simply the best!

The 11-mile ride is a 5.5-mile out and back along the car-free portion of the Historic Columbia River Trail starting at Cascade Locks with turn-around stop at Bonneville Dam and Herman the Sturgeon! There are additional educational stops along the way and a big after-party at Cascade Locks at the end.

Check out the Ride Advice and FAQ for even more information.

Thanks for reading and I hope to see you on Saturday!

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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No paint, no problem: Oregon passes bike lane clarification bill

Bike Portland - Mon, 05/06/2019 - 15:28

This language will now exist in Oregon law.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

“The rules of the road just got clearer today.”

That’s the statement from The Street Trust Executive Director Jillian Detweiler upon hearing House Bill 2682 passed the Senate today by a vote of 20-0 (with 8 absent and 2 excused), clearing its last hurdle before being signed into law by Governor Kate Brown.

The bill adds language to Oregon’s definition of a bicycle lane (ORS 801.155) to clarify that a lane still legally exists in an intersection even when the paint striping does not. It sounds like a no-brainer right? After all, no one would assume intersections are a legal free-for-all for other road users just because there’s no lane striping.

“When I read that a cyclist was killed and the driver citation was thrown out under this ridiculous line of reasoning, I knew something had to be done.”
— Ted Light, member of The Street Trust

Unfortunately, when bicycle users are involved, people often lose their minds. That’s what happened with two Oregon judges who ruled in separate cases that a motor vehicle driver could not be guilty of failure-to-yield to a rider in a bicycle lane (ORS 811.050) because the rider was in an intersection and there was no lane striping (thus no bicycle lane, thus no right-of-way).

To stop this madness, The Street Trust and Portland-based lawyer Ray Thomas put forward a bill to make it crystal clear: “A bicycle lane exists in an intersection if the bicycle lane is marked on opposite sides of the intersection in the same direction of travel,” reads the text of the new language that will be added to Oregon’s definition of a bike lane.

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Despite what seems like a common sense housekeeping bill, Detweiler says she faced opposition from lawmakers in Salem. “13 state representatives voted against the bill,” Detweiler shared in a statement today. To make sure it passed, Detweiler and The Street Trust Advocacy Director Richa Poudyal testified before a House committee and met with electeds to explain the bill and build support. “The effort demonstrates the need to build elected leadership who support alternative transportation and to have dedicated advocates like The Street Trust to protect the rights of cyclists, pedestrians and transit riders.”

The bill’s chief sponsor was House Rep. Rob Nosse, a democrat who represents southeast Portland. Impetus for the bill came from Ted Light, a Street Trust member who lives in Rep. Nosse’s district.

“When I read that a cyclist was killed and the driver citation was thrown out under this ridiculous line of reasoning, I knew something had to be done,” Light said. “It was great that Representative Nosse and The Street Trust put their shoulder to the wheel to make this bill happen.”

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

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Cascade’s annual Bike Everywhere Breakfast is Tuesday

Seattle Bike Blog - Mon, 05/06/2019 - 12:01

Hey, did you know May is Bike Month? I know, I know, every month is bike month in Seattle. I hear you.

May is filled with events and organizational efforts to help get more people on bikes heading into summer. As we see from Seattle’s bike counter data, bike trips spike in the summer as expected. But higher summer use turns into higher winter use as a lot of people who take up biking when it’s nice out get in the habit and continue year-round. That’s why many people find WA Bikes’ annual May Bike Everywhere Challenge effective: It keeps them honest for a month, helping them to build a habit. We may be a week in, but you can still sign up.

Cascade Bicycle Club’s annual Bike Everywhere Breakfast is tomorrow (Tuesday) morning at the Bell Harbor International Conference Center on the downtown waterfront. It’s free, but there’s a fairly spicy $175 suggested minimum donation.

Peter Walker, author of How Cycling Can Save the World, is the keynote speaker this year. Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda will also speak. You can register online or just show up and register at the door. Doors open at 7, program starts at 7:30. Will be done by 9. More details from Cascade:

“Around the globe this most benign of swarms is here. On their own, each cyclist is just flesh, blood and a machine of such beguiling simplicity and perfection that its fundamentals have stayed roughly the same for 140 years. But together, like the fireflies, they are a powerful indicator of the vitality and livability of the city’s streets. Together they can save the world.” Peter Walker, How Cycling Can Save the World

Throughout the morning you will also hear from our 2019 Doug Walker Award recipient, Barb Chamberlain, Director, Active Transportation Division, WSDOT and Seattle City Council member, Teresa Mosqueda.

New diverters aim to rescue Arbor Lodge residents from cut-through drivers

Bike Portland - Mon, 05/06/2019 - 12:01

*New diverters on North Jessup and Willamette (right). Click to enlarge. (Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

There was a mix of chaos and contentment in the neighborhoods around the bluffs of North Willamette Blvd this morning. Residents seemed thrilled that the City of Portland had finally done something significant to end the scourge of cut-through drivers; while many drivers were befuddled and beside themselves at their newfound inability to use small neighborhood streets as shortcuts on their way to work.

(Graphic: PBOT)

Over the weekend the City of Portland began installing diverters at two intersections as part of their North Willamette Neighborhood Greenway project. In an attempt to create low-stress conditions for walkers and rollers and encourage drivers to stay off residential streets, PBOT has prohibited some turning movements from drivers at N Villard and Willamette and N Jessup and Atlantic. Both diverters are meant to keep drivers on Rosa Parks Way and Greeley.

When I rolled up on the new Villard diverter this morning crews were still putting on the finishing touches.

For the steady stream of drivers coming southbound from Rosa Parks, the inability to turn left (eastbound) at Willamette threw some for a loop. People tried to turn around on the narrow street as soon as they realized they couldn’t go left (because driving around the block would have been too hard?). Others sped away angrily. One man rolled down his window and shouted at me: “This is just going to make people mad! We’re just trying to get to work!”

Chaos!

It’s very tight when both lanes are being used by drivers.

The morning march of cut-through drivers on Villard about to discover the diverter.

Outside the cars however, it was a nice morning and neighbors were out talking to one another and walking their dogs. I met Hazel (a dog) and her owner Dave. We stood in the street (you can do that when drivers aren’t allowed to have their way) and he was clearly happy about the change.

“It’s just so irritating how people use this street to fly through. We call it the ‘flyway’ because drivers have no regard for people with kids or pets,” Dave shared. “Yes, it will affect us too, but we’re willing to make the quote-unquote ‘sacrifice,'” he added.

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PBOT rendering of N Willamette at Villard.

PBOT rendering of N Atlantic and Jessup.

I also overheard two women on the sidewalk: “I just hope they [the drivers] all find a different way to get to work,” one said. “They will, eventually,” replied the other.

As you can see in the final design rendering, the new diverter on Willamette prohibits left turns from Villard. It also forces drivers going east on Willamette from continuing south toward Jessup or Killingsworth. Bicycling access is maintained in all directions and there will be a bike-only lane striped for southbound Willamette.

One design issue PBOT might need to address is that people turning left from Willamette (northbound) onto Villard don’t have much room when someone is also turning right onto Willamette (westbound). It’s very tight. Perhaps forthcoming lane striping will help. Or perhaps it’s fine because

PBOT took this step after a traffic analysis showed unacceptable volumes and speeds of drivers. Two blocks north of the new diverter at Willamette and Villard, 69% of drivers were going over the posted 20 mph speed limit. You might recall Villard was the street where someone ripped down and defaced “20 is Plenty” signs one year ago.

Another diverter has been installed just a few blocks away at N Atlantic and Jessup. Drivers try to avoid congestion on Greeley Avenue by taking Atlantic to Killingsworth. A couple who lives near that corner today was eager to share their approval of the diverter. “This would usually be all backed up by now,” said a man walking his dog as he pointed to Atlantic.

Instead of people in cars idling bumper-to-bumper on small, residential streets, people were out on foot enjoying the sunny morning.

Signs, education, and threats of enforcement can only do so much. Concrete and physical barriers are what it takes to force behavior changes and reduce the harmful impacts of driving.

Let’s do more of this! And when our larger, collector streets become too crowded maybe we’ll finally get the political and public will necessary to dedicate more space to cycling and transit.

UPDATE, 5/7: PBOT has completed the installation. Here’s what it looks like as of today:

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

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Trail to span USA nearing completion

Biking Bis - Mon, 05/06/2019 - 10:08

Live celebration for Great American Rail-Trail is Wednesday

Rails to Trails Conservancy is promoting a live event this Wednesday to reveal the preferred route for the Great American Rail-Trail — an off-road trail route that will stretch 3,700 miles from Washington DC to Washington state and fulfill the dream for off-road bicycle travelers.

The …

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The Monday Roundup: Law-breaking philosophy, WePark, Baltimore blues, and more

Bike Portland - Mon, 05/06/2019 - 10:04

This week’s Monday Roundup is brought to you by the Community Cycling Center, who invites you to their 25th anniversary Momentum Gathering this Friday May 10th!

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

Safely breaking the law: This excellent piece from David Alpert at Greater Greater Washington says that not all traffic laws are equal and pretending it’s safer for bicycle users to follow them is spurious.

Car storage is too cheap: WePark is a new initiative that aims to highlight the value of curbside real estate (a.k.a. on-street parking) and how absurd it is to give it away so cheaply to private car storage.

Bad Baltimore: When a politician says bicycling infrastructure must “work for all,” you know you’re about to get shafted. RIP Baltimore protected bike lane.

Welcome, scooter comrades: Chicago’s Active Transportation Alliance is welcoming e-scooters with open arms in hopes the new two-wheelers can join their fight against auto users for more dedicated roadway space.

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L.A.’s new bikeway: Los Angeles has opened up a two-way protected bike lane on a major downtown street.

Mode shift goals are no longer enough: The world’s most iconic cycling city has announced plans to completely ban diesel and gas-powered vehicles by 2030.

Racing’s “Unicorn Prince”: Noted sportswriter Jason Gay has written a profile of the greatest bicycle racer of the current era: The incomparable Mathieu van der Poel.

Traffic injustice: A methodology that connected police data on traffic crashes to hospital records showed that older, lower-income, and people with black/brown skin are more often victims of traffic violence in San Francisco.

Protection matters: Not sure if we’ve shared this yet; but it bears repeating: New research shows the importance of physical protection (not parked cars, not paint) when it comes to bikeways.

Typical selfishness: Authorities in Germany have seized 120 high-end supercars that were allegedly racing on open roads at speeds up to 155 mph.

E-bikes for the win: I would love to see what would happen on our streets if we had access to high-performance, dockless electric bikes that could go 30 mph. How about a pilot of these PBOT?

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

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Bike share parking still an accessibility issue, but it’s getting better

Seattle Bike Blog - Fri, 05/03/2019 - 14:58

New Alki bike parking. Photo from SDOT.

In June 2018, 4% of bike share bikes were parked in a way that impeded a walkway or curb ramp. Today, that figure is fewer than 2%, according to the latest SDOT bike share audit, the Seattle Times reports.

Bikes impeding on the safety and accessibility of our sidewalks is a problem. Yes, people do far worse with cars all the time (and cars are a lot harder to move out of the way than bikes), but that doesn’t mean it’s OK for bikes to also block sidewalks or cause tripping hazards or obstructions for our neighbors with disabilities.

But in recent reporting, I feel like it is important to note that not only are there solutions in the works, but bike parking habits are improving fairly significantly. The improvement is likely due to a variety of factors:

  • There is more bike parking now, including some SDOT experiments with lower-cost painted bike parking spaces in congested areas.
  • Users are likely much better educated about parking rules now, since the companies and the city have been spreading the word for nearly two years now.
  • The bikes have better kickstands now. First generation LimeBikes and Spin bikes had faulty or unreliable kickstands that were prone to break, making them nearly impossible to park correctly. Those have all been replaced at this point.
  • ofo left town (and the continent). Though I don’t have data to back this up, ofo seemed to be less concerned with maintaining order with their bike fleet.

Annotations by Seattle Bike Blog. Base image from SDOT’s draft update for their Right of Way Improvement Manual.

In fact, the city has responded to the low non-compliance rates by (rightfully) moving the goal post to make the standard for bike parking more stringent. By their new metric, 14% of bikes are causing problems. This is important, because now there is a new goal to work toward.

And it is important that companies and SDOT work together to increase compliance through further public education and by providing more designated bike parking space. Much of the bike share permit fees, which are significant, have been earmarked for bike parking installation, which will be an ongoing effort to continue improving the bike parking supply over time.

And you all can help out by moving any bikes you see improperly parked as a favor to your neighbors.

A larger percentage of bikes are technically parking incorrectly, but aren’t in a place where they would cause an issue.

Designated bike parking is still grossly inadequate for the demand in most parts of the city. And the city needs to especially focus on on-street bike parking, since installing bike racks is more difficult on crowded sidewalks. The parking lane on a street is public space intended for the parking of vehicles so that they don’t impede space for people, so that’s exactly where our bike parking belongs. If there were a bike corral at every business district intersection, for example, that would take a lot of stress off limited sidewalk space. And if a bike falls over in an on-street bike corral, it likely won’t impede anyone’s walking path.

Bike share continues to serve a huge role in increasing the number of trips people are making in our city by bike. Thanks in largely part to these services, more people are biking in Seattle than ever before. And the numbers continue to grow. Along with this growth, though, comes the need to continue getting better about bike share parking. And I also hope people keep some perspective here, since cars remain the biggest impediment to safe walking in our city by a long, long shot.

Friday opinion: Tough love on a tough subject

Bike Portland - Fri, 05/03/2019 - 10:18

Charles Brown speaking at the Oregon Active Transportation Summit held at the Oregon Zoo last week.
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

“How can you call yourself a bike-friendly town if you have people of color who are afraid to leave their house? How do you even accept these awards? It’s a moral question.”

Those comments are why Charles Brown (@CTBrown1911) is a name that won’t soon be forgotten by the hundreds of people in attendance at his keynote speech during the Oregon Active Transportation Conference last week.

Brown, a researcher and transportation justice activist, delivered some very real talk to the policymakers, advocates, and agency staffers in the room — several of whom audibly gasped when he questioned our bike-friendly status viewed through a lens of racial justice.

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Slide from Brown’s presentation.

Brown’s presentation — which was equal parts funny, endearing, and searing — touched on many facets of how racial discrimination and mobility are linked. His comments had even more resonance in a place with as many white people as Portland where race-related missteps are still too common.

The comments came during a Q & A session when someone asked about a slide in Brown’s presentation that read, “Transportation has been weaponized as a tool of oppression.” A woman in the crowd (who was white) asked if the “weaponization” was assumed to come with malintent.

Many people at the summit were moved by Brown’s speech, especially this group of high school students who mobbed him afterward.

“Yes,” Brown answered without hesitation. “Because history shows it was intentional.” 

It’s a history that is all too present for some. Brown’s provocative comments about our “bike-friendly” reputation were inspired by an experience he had during a focus group session in Portland. He said he met a black muslim woman who said the only way she’d ride a bike in Portland is if, “Someone put a gun to my head.”

Brown said he was taken aback. “I have no training on how respond to something like that,” he said.

Brown’s keynote was just one of many threads throughout the summit that wove between transportation and racial justice. It’s a credit to event organizers at The Street Trust that many of the breakout sessions featured topics and conversations that put equity, inclusion, and race front-and-center.

We talk about these things a lot in Portland. I think it takes someone like Charles Brown for us to actually hear it.

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

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Oregon’s ‘Idaho Stop’ bill faces headwinds in Senate

Bike Portland - Fri, 05/03/2019 - 06:20

(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

We knew it wouldn’t be easy.

Senate Bill 998 — affectionately known as the Idaho Stop bill because it would allow bicycle riders to treat stop signs (and flashing red signals) as yields — is floundering.

Even though it sailed through the Senate Judiciary Committee on April 9th, the bill has stalled out and is currently in the Senate Rules Committee. Asked for a status update on the bill, its chief sponsor, Senator Floyd Prozanski (D-Eugene) said, “A preliminary assessment shows that I do not have the necessary votes with in the caucus to move it to the floor.”

It’s not surprising that a healthy number of Oregon’s 30 Senators don’t initially support the bill. We know how existing biases influence how people perceive cycling-related legislation and it’s often mis-framed as a law that would unleash chaos and anarchy from “those bicyclists”.

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The good news is the Sen. Prozanski hasn’t had the chance to present the bill to the entire caucus yet. When he presented the bill in Judiciary Committee (which he chairs), the discussion was very calm and reasonable and it passed 6-1. Prozanski says he’ll present the bill to the full Senate this week with the hope of finding enough support to get it to the floor.

The Senator has help from The Street Trust. While it wasn’t on their agenda (because it emerged so late), Executive Director Jillian Detweiler says her organization fully supports Idaho Stop.

Detweiler and Street Trust Advocacy Director Richa Poudyal did the rounds of House and Senate offices last week to lobby on behalf of House Bill 2682 (which would clarify the definition of bike lanes in intersections), but found the conversations often turned to SB 998. “As we worked our bill, we told people that while HB 2682 is not the Idaho stop, we support the Idaho stop,” Detweiler told us via email yesterday. She also said she met with Sen. Prozanski’s staff and offered to help.

Let’s hope that Oregon gets this right. Hopefully, the third time’s a charm.

As for HB 2682, it continues to progress. It already passed the House and is slated for a vote in the Senate on Monday (5/6).

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

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Jobs of the Week: LifeCycle Adventures, Pedal Bike Tours, the CCC, Go By Bike, Clever Cycles, Everybody’s Bike Rentals

Bike Portland - Fri, 05/03/2019 - 06:15

When the warm sun comes out in Portland, everyone grabs their bikes. That means local shops and bike businesses spring to life and need help handling the onslaught of customers. If you’re looking for a job, you’re in luck.

Check out the latest opportunities below…

–> Part-Time Bicycle Tour Guide – LifeCycle Adventures

–> Part time bike valet attendant – Go By Bike

–> Bicycle Mechanic – Community Cycling Center

–> Seasonal Retail Specialist – Community Cycling Center

–> Seasonal Retail Sales & Customer Service – Clever Cycles

–> Mechanic – Clever Cycles

–> Bike Mechanic / Tour Guides – Everybody’s Bike Rentals & Tours

–> Shop Operations Manager – Pedal Bike Tours

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For a complete list of available jobs, click here.

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

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

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

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Café du Cycliste’s Toile de Jouy Collection

Bike Hugger - Thu, 05/02/2019 - 13:54

Café du Cycliste’s Toile de Jouy collection is some great looking, unique kit. The collection is available for men and women tomorrow. The limited prints are just in time for the Tour de France, of course, and look lovely evoking French imagery in the design.

Sporty too.

The collection is as French as France as iconic as Eiffel. Wear it across a range of performance road apparel for riding high climbs in high style. Lowlanders like me, probably should chose other more roomy kit.

It’s lovely Café du Cycliste’s Toile de Jouy Collection PR

Inspired by those icons of French cycling history that roused young cyclists on to their saddles and out on to the road, the narrative unfolds on the fabric. The riders: Robic the Goat, Hinault the Badger, Fignon the Professor. The places: – the Giant of Provence, and a nod to the cobbles of the Grammont across the border. The roadside icon: El Diablo. And finally, maybe the greatest scene of them all: Anquetil and Poulidor going shoulder to shoulder on the Puy de Dôme.

The collection brings a touch of à la Francaise to the roads ridden, wherever they may be. Available from the 3rd of May on www.cafeducycliste.com and in Nice, London, and Mallorca stores. They’ll ship to the states too.

If this style interests you, also see what their designers offers in T-shirts for warm weather and merino jerseys for whatever the weather. They have layers up for the outdoors with inner, mid or outerwear. It’s all designed for a cycling lifestyle; including, socks. I like the signature modern French style, premium fabrics and a raft of details makes each piece ideal for back country exploration. They’re sorta like if Rapha were French instead of English.

The graphic on this t is an example.

The post Café du Cycliste’s Toile de Jouy Collection appeared first on Bike Hugger.

Parks bureau paves section of Springwater despite ‘clearcut’ concerns

Bike Portland - Thu, 05/02/2019 - 11:08

New path without old trees.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Edith Mirante commutes by bike on the Springwater Corridor path right outside the door of her Sellwood neighborhood home. Since she moved there in 2007, the path between Southeast 9th and 11th existed as a goat trail of rocks and dirt alongside rarely used railroad tracks. When Portland Parks & Recreation announced plans to pave the path back in January, Mirante never expected to be the loudest voice in opposition.

(Before/after of the new path near SE 9th using images from Streetview and Edith Mirante)

Mirante, an author and activist, spoke up for the “urban woodland” of mature apple, cherry, walnut, and hemlock trees that dominate her lot*. Or I should say, used to dominate her lot. (*Update, 2:18 pm: None of the trees removed were on Mirante’s lot. They were on Parks and/or Metro-owned right-of-way). That’s because Parks’ paving plans required them to remove the trees to make way for the 16-foot wide path that, despite not being officially open, is already being used by walkers and rollers of all types.

Removal in progress. Note the “Save Me” sign tucked in his hardat.
(Photo: Edith Mirante)

Mirante did all she could to prevent what she calls a “clearcut.” She put up “Save Me” signs in the branches and got an op-ed published in The Oregonian on March 17th. Mirante wanted a retaining wall built and suggested narrowing the path to 10 feet to save the trees. But her suggestions were not heeded by the Parks bureau.

Parks project manager George Lozovoy told Mirante and other neighbors at pre-project meetings that the trees and/or a narrower path would present a crash hazard. Parks Community Engagement Coordinator Ken Rumbaugh told Mirante in a March 6th email that, “We strive to preserve trees in all projects whenever possible, and if they must be removed – as in this instance – we mitigate their loss by planting new ones using the high standards set by Portland Parks & Recreation Urban Forestry.”

On March 20th, three days after her op-ed came out, Mirante awoke to tractors and workers in hardhats. They were cutting branches and pulling the old trees out by their roots. One of them had even grabbed the “Save Me” sign and wore it under his hat as he hacked at the old apple tree. Mirante took notice in a series of live tweets.

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“They just ripped the branches off the maple to cut it. And now the hemlock (native species) is being cut down,” she wrote. “Crew member for @PDXParksandRec* just approached me on my property with piece of wood from the apple tree and said as a joke “These make great picture frames.” They have now cut the apple tree.” (*Note: This was a private contractor, not a City employee.)

By April 18th, the trees were gone and a 16-foot wide paved path was all laid out. I snapped the photos below last weekend…

Asked to respond to Mirante’s concerns, Parks’ Rumbaugh said the City had, “No alternative but to remove the trees.” Among the reasons was that the project scope wouldn’t fund a retaining wall, the width was needed for expected path user volumes, and many of the trees were under power lines. “Additionally,” Rumbaugh wrote in an email to BikePortland, “Most of the trees which had to be removed were not native and those species have shown themselves to be a problem when growing adjacent to natural areas – they tend to spread uncontrollably and outcompete our region’s native species.”

(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

“Removing trees is not a decision PP&R makes lightly,” he continued. “PP&R evaluated many alternatives to try and keep the trees, but the site conditions – such as soil and slope – along with state and federal regulations (like the Americans with Disabilities Act) inform our needed actions. As the Sellwood area has developed, the need for the highly-anticipated Springwater Trail extension has become more and more important to keep cyclists and people on foot safe as they commute and during recreation.”

In total, Rumbaugh said they removed about 38 trees (“many already in poor condition, at the end of their life cycles, or located underneath power lines,” he added). He also pointed out there are still 54 trees along the new segment of path and PP&R will plant 37 new, native trees nearby to mitigate the loss. They’ll also pay into the City of Portland’s Tree Planting and Preservation Fund.

Once the landscaping and fence between the path and the railroad tracks are installed and the new path officially opens in July, you won’t see the old trees; but you might see Mirante’s new ones. She and her neighbors have planted six so far.

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

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Weekend Event Guide: Coast Gravel Epic, Sugar’s 10th Birthday, CZ adventure, and more

Bike Portland - Thu, 05/02/2019 - 08:45

From the coast to the Crown-Zellerbach, springtime sun beckons.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

We’ve got a great slate of rides and event suggestions this week. Hope you have time to partake in some of the action.

I’ll be headed to the coast on Friday for a stop to see the first section of the Salmonberry Trail in Tillamook on Friday, then on to Waldport to compete in the Coast Gravel Epic. It’s the first event in the Oregon Triple Crown and my goal this year is to do well at all three (the next events are in Oakridge and Cottage Grove). Hope to meet some BikePortland readers out there — including reader Josh E. who scored a free entry to the Coast Gravel Epic for responding to our story this week!

Whatever you do, have fun and enjoy the ride(s)…

Friday, May 3rd

Oregon Scenic Bikeways 10th Anniversary Celebration – 10:00 to 2:00 pm at State Capitol Gallery (Salem)
Have a slice of cake, grab the new bikeways map, and bask in the birthday of this fantastic State of Oregon program. More info here.

Fessenden Safety Crisis Memorial and March – 4:30 to 6:00 pm at N Charleston and Fessenden (N)
Concerned neighbors will highlight the unacceptable level of traffic violence on Fessenden Street and urge the City of Portland to finish long-promised safety updates. More info here.

Saturday, May 4th

BP PICK!!! Oregon Coast Gravel Epic – All day in Waldport
The course is marked, the party prep has started and it’s time to kick off the 2019 Oregon Triple Crown. The Coast Gravel Epic offers two challenging routes that are a tantalizing concoction of paved and unpaved backroads. I did this last year and will be there again. Come join me! More info here.

Trail Stewards Converge at Stub Stewart – 9:00 am to 2:00 pm at Stub Stewart State Park
Portland Design Works and NW Trail Alliance have teamed up for what is sure to be a fun and fulfilling day of trail work. More info here.

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Montinore Road Race – 9:00 am to 2:00 pm at Montinore Estate Vineyard (Forest Grove)
A multi-lap circuit race that’s popular for the Plumlee Road climb and the stunning scenery. And it’s based at a winery. Do it! More info here.

Sugar Wheel Works 10th Anniversary Party – 2:00 to 6:00 pm at Breadwinner Cycles (N)
Roll over the Breadwinner HQ on Williams Avenue for the all-ages, family-friendly lovefest for Sugar Wheel Works — a Portland-born company that turns 10 this year! Shop tours, prize raffle, free beer and cider, and lots of great people. More info here.

Sunday, May 5th

CCC Salvage Sunday – 12:00 to 2:00 pm at Community Cycling Center (NE)
Need used bike parts for a build project, an artistic masterpiece, or just some garden art? Come and see what you find and pay just 50-cents a pound. More info here.

CZ Trail to Vernonia – 9:00 am at Scappoose Middle School
Scapppoose local John Joy will lead this Portland Bicycling Club ride on the Crown-Zellerbach rail-trail. Expect a solid ride on unpaved logging roads that will be about 58 miles in length. 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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Trail Alert 5/6: Burke-Gilman detour near Seattle city limit

Seattle Bike Blog - Thu, 05/02/2019 - 08:00

Trail closure map from King County Parks.

The Burke-Gilman Trail will be closed for a stretch May 6 around Seattle’s border with Lake Forest Park so King County Parks can remove six hazardous trees.

The good news is that this stretch parallels Riviera Pl NE, which should be an easy detour route.

Details from King County Parks:

Trail closed between 42nd Pl NE and 40th Ave NE

A contractor working with King County Parks will be removing six hazardous trees leaning  out along the trail. The project is expected to take one full day to complete and will begin at 9 a.m. on Monday, May 6, 2019 and be complete by 7 p.m.

Trail users may opt to use Riviera Place NE as a bypass for the duration of the closure. We ask that all trail users please obey all posted trail closure signs as the trail is narrow and the edge drops off quickly around the work site.

Please call 206-477-4527 or email parksinfo@kingcounty.gov with any questions or concerns.

Reggie Ramble Gravel Grinder in Canada

Bike Hugger - Wed, 05/01/2019 - 18:47

Cheers and a blog post from me for people I know in the bike industry just trying to have fun with it and put on a good event like the Reggie Ramble Gravel Grinder in Canada. That seems rare these days. I hope we get back to it after ebikes and indoor cycling wanes.

After all these years, not matter the marketing cycle, I’m into the bike for the long haul. What interests me now is endurance events and of all the gravel grinders I see, this one looks fantastic. Mostly because it’s in Canada, which makes it seem radder than Idaho.

Note: this isn’t what I know some wealthy fondos are like. Expect a more rustic experience.

Reggie Ramble Gravel Grinder PR

REGGIE is teaming up with Superfly Racing to put on a new Gravel Grinder event the REGGIE Ramble in Canada, just outside of Toronto in Warkworth, so mark your calendars for Sept 28th. Jeff Wills told us “REGGIE is all about having fun riding bikes, so we simply have to host a ride. We wanted to have an event that mimics the rides I love to do with my buddies, and that’s where the name comes from: When the weekend ride starts at my house, we call them REGGIE Rambles, and my friends know they’re in for something they’ve never done before.”

This is going to be a unique formula offering three unique loops and three distance options: 60km/ 37miles, 130km/80miles, and the big one 200km/124miles. All riders will ride the first loop, then the longer riders will continue onto the separate second loop, and then the beasts will finish up with the third loop. Each loop starts and finishes with a ride through of the Old Barn at the Warksworth Fair Grounds, and each will feature special “ambush” sections that will contain tough or different terrain or gradients.

The courses also separate the Ramble from the major US races: 70-80% of each loop is dirt or gravel, with only a few road “transition” sections, and the scenery in the Trent Hills region is amazing and unlike any in the other events.

Little-known fact, that I grew up as a kid in Toronto, Ontario and this could make a fun trip.

The post Reggie Ramble Gravel Grinder in Canada appeared first on Bike Hugger.

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