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A cyclocross season through the lens of Drew Coleman

Bike Portland - Mon, 11/26/2018 - 15:42


*Photos and words by Drew Coleman

I love bike racing. Last year I got hurt and had to stop, so I picked up my camera and experienced cyclocross through the lens of a camera rather than from the seat of a bike.

This season, I have been fortunate enough to be given access and opportunity to photograph cyclocross outside of Oregon. It was the first time I stepped outside the Oregon Bicycle Racing Association (OBRA) cyclocross bubble and I could finally put it all into context. What I have come to realize is that, while there are vibrant cyclocross scenes in pockets around the country, what we have in Oregon is special.

Cyclocross Crusade staffer Sherry Schwenderlauf at Cyclocross Crusade Bend.


Race announcer Luciano Bailey at Blind Date at the Dairy.

We have passionate promoters who create wonderfully organized races and series. From the venerable Cyclocross Crusade to the Zone 5 Promotions Gran Prix series to our twin Portland mid-week races (the PDX Trophy Cup and the Blind Date at the Dairy) as well as those in communities in Bend, Eugene, Medford, Salem and others. Here in Oregon we have an embarrassment of cyclocross riches.

The Oregon scene is defined by rider participation. The size of our races is something that is easy to take for granted. One needs to look no further than the singlespeed category. At RenoCross this year, which is a very important early-season event, 20 male riders started the race (including the defending National Champion) and there were only four women. In an average Cyclocross Crusade singlespeed race this year, one would see close to 70-80 male riders and enough women to have a separate category. I go to races outside of Oregon and wonder where everyone is.

Stephen Hartzell (Breadwinner Cycles) at Cyclocross Crusade Bend.

Laura Winberry (Speedvagen) at Cyclocross Crusade Bend.

Stopping to hydrate mid-race during the Cyclocross Crusade event in Bend.

Michael Saviers in a fully brakeless descent (note his right foot on the tire) while racing the Cyclocross Crusade Cascade Locks.

Seth Patla (PDX Ti) must have forgotten his racing kit.

Tackling the run-up at Cascade Locks.

Ivy Audrain (Speedvagen/Bike Flights) warming up at Cyclocross Crusade Heron Lakes.

Additionally, in Oregon, the quality of racing is very high. In other words, to be fast in Oregon, is to be fast nationally. When one combines this with the size of the fields, you get races that are very deep and fast. This is great for developing top riders. Our men and women riders go on and do very well in major races and even World Cup events. As I type this, the newly-minted Pan-American Under-23 champion Clara Honsinger, a Portland resident and mechanic at Sellwood Cycles, is representing the United States in Tabor, Czech Republic at a World Cup event.

Clara Honsinger (Team S&M) at West Sac CX Grand Prix.

In terms of what goes on outside the tape, there’s a tangible difference in the way we appear to enjoy our racing as well. In Bend, I saw fans lined up at the tape for most of the course and in some places 3-4 deep. If I had to guess, it was as well attended as Nationals last year in Reno. A visit to “Tent City” at a Crusade race is to really get the flavor of the Oregon fan. The cyclocross fan in Oregon knows the sport and the riders well. The heckling is (usually) creative, fun and supportive.

And then it all ends. Suddenly. Perhaps prematurely. As the rest of the world begins its 2nd half of the season, we pull the plug. And that’s perhaps a good thing. We pack in a lot of racing. Our scene burns hot and if it kept going, I wonder if it would just fade and lose its value.

When one documents through a camera one is forced to really look at the scene and evaluate. When I created my film “State of Cyclocross,” it became apparent to me that at the national level cross is at a bit of a crossroads in terms of its own identity, but I see the state of cyclocross in Oregon as a vibrant, fun, wonderful and very accessible phenomenon.

Thanks for checking out some of my favorite images. I hope to see you at the races in 2019.

— Drew Coleman (catdcxracer@gmail.com) is a cycling and action photographer, writer and filmmaker based in Sellwood. He is the Director of the film, State of Cyclocross which is currently screening at various venues in the United States. Follow him on Instagram and YouTube.

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Take this Pike/Pine bike lane survey + Rethinking Pine St downtown

Seattle Bike Blog - Mon, 11/26/2018 - 14:29

Few bike improvements in the city could have a bigger impact than a safe, comfortable and fully connected bike route from the Pike Place Market to Broadway. And due to the grade of First and Capitol Hills as well as I-5 cutting off many streets, Pike and/or Pine are the only options to make this connection.

These streets are already very popular for people on bikes despite their insufficient or lacking bike lanes because they are the only real choices for people living in large swaths of Capitol Hill, First Hill and the Central District. Being packed with destinations helps, too. Since most people have no interest in biking mixed with car traffic, connecting 2nd Ave’s protected bike lanes to the Broadway bikeway has enormous potential to connect a lot of homes, businesses and destinations.

More than 150 people attended a late October community workshop organized by Seattle Neighborhood Greenways, Capitol Hill Housing and the Capitol Hill EcoDistrict. They provided a lot of feedback on the city’s effort to complete this connection by the end of next year. But the organizers want to make sure the opinions of folks who couldn’t attend are also included, so they put together an online survey.

After considering the realistic options, organizers determined that the lanes will most likely go both ways on Pike Street from Broadway to around Melrose, then switch to westbound on Pine and eastbound on Pike through downtown as outlined in the Pike Pine Renaissance plan.

The first major question is about the basic design of bike lanes on Pike from Broadway to the street curve near Minor. Should they be one-way bike lanes on each side of the street or a two-way bike lane on the north side of the street?

The second question is about the transition where the streets curve near Minor. Which street is the best option for routing people headed westbound over to Pine Street? Minor, Melrose and Bellevue are pretty much the options available.

Reconsidering the Pine Street bike lane

The existing bike lane on Pine Street downtown, installed a year ago, is terrible. There’s just no way to sugar coat that. Forcing people biking to mix with car traffic through the brick section near Westlake Park ruins this bike connection. The Pike Pine Renaissance plan depicts this bike lane remaining in its current flawed state, but this does not achieve the basic goals of a protected bike lane connection. A route is only as comfortable as its most stressful section, and mixing with car traffic through the brick section pretty much negates the benefits of the bike lane on the other blocks.

So while this survey does not address this issue, the city needs to make a choice. Are we going to redesign the brick section to create a continually-protected bike lane on Pine? Or do we need to move the westbound bike lane to Pike Street? Either option could work, but we must do one of them.

One possibly great option would be a two-way bike lane on the north side of Pike Street from Pike Place Market to Broadway. This would definitely be the most intuitive route because it is consistent and direct the whole way. In fact, a lot of people already treat the Pike Street bike lane as a two-way today, suggesting the demand is there. This option would also have basically no transit conflicts.

SDOT could then remove the flawed Pine Street bike lane downtown, but they should keep the pre-existing painted bike lanes on Pine Street east of 8th Ave for the sake of business access and because there’s no benefit to getting rid of them. I imagine that even with a quality bike lane on Pike, some confident riders will still choose to bomb down Pine Street because it is just so fast if you feel comfortable mixing with car traffic. People who want to go fast downhill might not like riding in a two-way bike lane. And that’s OK. Having choices is a good thing.

More details about the survey from the community organizers:

We were thrilled that more than 150 community members representing a range of perspectives joined us on October 25th at the Pike/Pine Protected Bike Lane Community Design Workshop to share their thoughts on street design. Even better, we heard from many that this community-driven model should be adopted by the City for all major projects. We will share our lessons learned in the hopes of making that possible.

We heard you. As we assemble our analysis, key themes have emerged. Participants expressed the importance of safety for all users, of clearly marked and logical bike routes, of plentiful loading zones for freight and for people, and the challenge of balancing competing needs.

See group-designed maps and suggestions as well as photos from the workshop.

Next Steps
To ensure that as many community members as possible have the opportunity to provide feedback, we will continue direct outreach through the end of December. In January, we will share our summary findings with the Seattle City Council, SDOT staff, and you!

Take our survey to share your thoughts on bike lane location and how to balance other uses of the street. We’ll include your comments in our advocacy and share them with City planners and officials. Share the survey with anyone you think might be interested!

The Monday Roundup: Extinction Rebellion, why words matter, light rail parking fail, and more

Bike Portland - Mon, 11/26/2018 - 13:56

Welcome back from the long holiday weekend. I’ve been out of town for a week and I’m eager to get back to work!

Here are the most notable stories we came across in the past seven days (thanks to all the readers who sent in links)…

Light rail parking fail: Sightline’s Michael Andersen dissects the absurdity of TriMet’s plans to spend $168 million on free auto parking along the SW Corridor light rail line — twice as much as it will spend on affordable housing.

Better streets: From slow zones to congestion pricing, a New York-based architect and urban designer shares lessons on better streets gleaned from visits to Amsterdam, Copenhagen, London and Stockhom.

Words matter: On the same week as World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims, the Houston Chronicle ran an excellent summary of why we must change how we talk about traffic crashes.

On the Media on the streets: I have yet to listen to the whole episode, but with guests like Streetsblog reporter Angie Schmitt, “Fighting Traffic” author Peter Norton and Citylab reporter Emily Badger, this week’s On the Media pod is sure to be a must-listen.

Cycling starlings: Scientific observations of Tour de France pelotons reveals insights about the collective behavior honed by professional cyclists that allows them to ride so closely to each other without crashing.

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No freeway, no problem: Yet another example of a major freeway closure (this time in San Francisco) that didn’t lead to the expected consequence of more auto traffic.

Gone in 49 minutes: A German was caught speeding on the way home from his successful driving test. He was caught by police, banned from driving for a month and must undergo “retraining”.

Speed crackdown: Faced with a deluge of complaints, the mayor of a small Italian town installed traffic cameras and issued 58,000 speeding tickets in just two weeks.

UK steps up for cycling: The UK Department of Transport says they’ll add police staff to process video footage, increase driver education, step up bike lane enforcement, and more as part of dozens of measures aimed at making cycling safer.

Climate change urgency: A group calling themselves the “Extinction Rebellion” is shutting down streets in London to bring attention to the imminent threat of climate change.

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

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Bike Thieves Suck 3T Robbed

Bike Hugger - Mon, 11/26/2018 - 13:55

Bike thieves suck and suck even more more when they drill into a manufacturing building like it was a bank heist. Today, I learned 3T was robbed.

The theft included an irreplaceable frame set painted by Dario Pegoretti.

This morning, November 26th at 6.00am, around 6-8 masked people entered our factory building and stole all our display & demo bikes.

If you have any information that might help us to catch the thieves and recover our bikes, please let us know!

Plea for Help

This is terrible news for a brand we’ve been affiliated with for years; including, the launch of the Exploro and Strada. The thieves drilled a hole through a 1-meter thick wall to enter our warehouse.

As Rene, one of their founders, said

If any of you see any of our bikes offered on the internet, at stores or in any other way, and it looks suspicious, please let us know.

And keep a particularly eye on the Pegoretti bike.  Your help is greatly appreciated!

 

The post Bike Thieves Suck 3T Robbed appeared first on Bike Hugger.

Snowball Special Fat Bike Race

Bike Hugger - Wed, 11/21/2018 - 12:06

Biking is now a year-round sport because of fat bikes. Rebecca Rusch and I rode together in Sun Valley in the snow just a few years ago. It’s great fun, quite cold, and if you’re into goals and performance I recommend the Snowball Special Fat Bike Race.

Also, for doing something different. If Sun Valley is too far, then I recommend the Methow Valley too. Anywhere really, where you can ride your bike on groomed trails.

Snowball Special Background

Here’s the background: the “Snowball Special” was the name of the Union Pacific Railroad’s ski train. It carried skiers from stops in Southern California to beautiful Sun Valley, Idaho, from 1958 to 1972.

Sun Valley’s offered lodging-lift ticket-travel packages for the snow-bound commuters from LA.

The vacation party began once the wheels started rolling. A jazz band played and passengers danced from the departure to the arrival in Ketchum.

And even though this rail ended with mountain bound ski bunnies, silver mining initially brought it to the Wood River Valley in the 1880’s, with the tracks reaching Ketchum in 1883 to great celebration.

The local residents have welcomed the railroad with fireworks, baseball game, bands and horse and foot races.  This route was essential to the area economy. Millions of dollars of silver were transported.

The summer bike trail and winter Nordic ski tracks were created on the historic trail bed of this once extremely festive train. Every year, Nordic ski races are held on these tracks.

And for a third year, Rusch Relations, the Fat Bike Advocacy Group, and the Wood River Bike Coalition are excited to add to that tradition with the Snowball Special Fat Bike Race.

Race Details 

Snowball Special Fat Bike Race will be taking place on Saturday, February 23rd.

You’ll ride on the beautiful Sun Valley Nordic Trails, including the White Clouds and Boundary Creek trails. Bikes must be fat bikes with 3.5″ or wider tires.

Register here.

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Black Friday Bike Deals

Bike Hugger - Tue, 11/20/2018 - 20:00

You bet there are Black Friday Bike Deals online. They’ve probably already started. Here are a few that were shared with me.

Pure Cycles

Pure Cycles bikes are marked down, some up to 40%. The Ayer—an urban commuter with a belt drive is $599. It normally retails for $999. Their road bikes are $329. If there’s better deal on a steel road frame with Shimano gear, I wanna know about it.

Also see what Batch Bicycles is doing.

But more importantly, I suggest you visit a local shop and find a deal in person. Remember you can reasonably negotiate on the sales floor and for accessories. Dealers likely are not offering deep discounts, but you should find closeouts.

In the road category, you should buy a bike that’ll fit nothing less than 28s (preferably 32s) and with disc brakes. That’s really my only recommendation because all the bikes across genres are so good now. You want the tire volume for more traction, comfort, and wear.

For MTB, get one that’ll allow you to switch between 27.5 and 29s. I’m into the whatever hub width manufactures are making now. In MTB wider is better, even to the point of almost fat widths at 3.8. My MTB runs 3.3s.

On Amazon

Find the deals from Amazon on their cycling page. Bike Hugger has an Amazon storefront and I have a recommendations page with affiliate links.

Electronics

I’ve already shared the camera sales from my photography site and two of them are the best deal I’ve seen. The $998 a7 II kit and the a9 for $1000 off.

Turkey Day Ride

We’re riding our annual route with friends on Thursday and then mountain biking the rest of the weekend. I hope you have good rides too and spend time with family. Maybe you’ll find a turkey dinner on the path like we did in 2012.

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Scenes from Cranksgiving 2018: A new donation record

Seattle Bike Blog - Tue, 11/20/2018 - 13:40

Miguel Jimenez from Rainier Valley Food Bank addresses Cranksgiving riders at the start of the event.

Seattle’s Cranksgiving 2018 hit a new record Saturday, with 150 riders donating an astounding 1,713 pounds of food to Rainier Valley Food Bank.

For the ninth year, Seattle Bike Blog hosted this food drive scavenger hunt by bike on RVFB’s final distribution day before Thanksgiving. It’s a very low-budget event that is free to join. Participants are given a list of items to buy and a list of local grocery stores and stands around town to buy them from. So participants’ money and effort goes directly into donating food and having fun biking around our beautiful city. There are also some photo challenges for extra points, and you can see some of the results below.

New this year, Swift Industries hosted a gear donation drive for Facing Homelessness, and people brought boxes worth of tents, tarps, hats, socks, rain jackets, coats and more. Swift also hosted the after party and donated prizes.

Thanks to Swift Industries, G&O Family Cyclery, Cascade Designs and Olympia Beer for your prize and party donations. And big thanks to my wonderful spouse Kelli for helping to procure prizes, donating a few copies of her book Pedal, Stretch, Breathe, and for taking on extra baby-watching duty so I could organize the event.

And finally, thanks to everyone who joined us Saturday. You were all so positive, lovely and generous. I’m thankful for all of you.

Now I just need to figure out what we are going to do next year to celebrate the tenth annual Seattle Cranksgiving…

Here are a few scenes from #CranksgivingSEA:

#CranksgivingSEA pic.twitter.com/wlDr2R0LnQ

— null hypothesis (@Null_Hypothesis) November 17, 2018

Enjoying the great weather for #CranksgivingSEA pic.twitter.com/BPToqb2QxU

— Dave Goodell (@davidjgoodell) November 17, 2018

Other images from #CranksgivingSEA. We ended up in the top 3! pic.twitter.com/tlQVTFL9AB

— Nick vdH (@206Husky) November 18, 2018

Had an awesome time at my first #CranksgivingSEA during which ~150 of us donated 1,763 pounds of food to the @RainierValleyFB (Food Bank) which will feed 3,200 people – thanks to @seabikeblog @SwiftIndustries for hosting this #SEAbikes pic.twitter.com/Xxp9RnPgch

— Robert Svercl (@bobco85) November 18, 2018

 

Family Biking: Come join us at Cranksgiving

Bike Portland - Tue, 11/20/2018 - 06:42

I don’t like grocery shopping with kids, but I love Cranksgiving shopping with kids.
(Photos: Madi Carlson)

Cranksgiving is a bike-based food-and-supplies drive, treasure hunt, costume contest, and bike race. This is the sixth year for the event in Portland, but it started back in 1999 in New York City. It’s fun for participants fast and slow, and whether you’re equipped to carry a lot or a little, it’s definitely something to bring the kids to.

Our Family Biking column is sponsored by Clever Cycles.

➤ Read past entries here.

This year’s edition is on Saturday, November 24th from 12:00-5:00 pm at Nomad Cycles PDX (5820 NE Sandy Blvd). Here’s the blurb from the event page, “Cranksgiving is a tradition. You come, you ride, or volunteer. We provide a manifesto of locations, supplies, and tasks that must be completed. You make it happen with your team.”

This year’s beneficiary is Portland Street Medicine — whose donated bike fleet we featured here on the Front Page two weeks ago.

In addition to purchasing items to donate (expect to spend $20), teams are eligible for prizes in several categories:
➤ Fastest
➤ Most donated
➤ Best costume
➤ DFL (dead…uh…festively last)
Form your team (of any size this year) ahead of time or find teammates on race day.

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Seattle Cranksgiving 2014 stop to purchase a Real Change street newspaper.

The first five Portland Cranksgivings were hosted by Puddlecycle and reading through the history I was most excited to see a shorter option was added for families in 2015! We’ve participated in four Seattle Cranksgivings and never once made it to the finish line in time, even with abridging things on our own increasingly as the years went by.

Manifest from 2014 Seattle Cranksgiving.

This will be my kids’ first time riding their own bike for a Cranksgiving so we’ll probably take our bikes on the MAX to minimize extra pedaling. Our shortened Seattle events were always over 20 hilly miles (that includes getting back home at the end) so I’m really looking forward to having a different experience this year.

A cool thing about this year’s event is that Cranksgivings typically happen the weekend before Thanksgiving so I’ve already drawn inspiration from other Pacific Northwest events: Seattle had 150 riders bring over 1500 pounds of food to the Rainier Valley Food Bank last weekend and Tacoma had a big turnout for their 4th annual Kidical Mass Cranksgiving for families.

We don’t plan to ride competitively, and probably won’t be able to agree on costumes, but we’re happy to team up with other families, so come out and find us there!

Have you participated in Cranksgiving before? Do you want to share any tips in the comments? Thanks for reading.

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

— Madi Carlson, @familyride on Instagram and Twitter

Browse past Family Biking posts here.

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BikeCraft vendor spotlights: Kristina Wayte, Doug Walsh, Deb Winkelman

Bike Portland - Tue, 11/20/2018 - 06:14

It’s time once again to get excited for BikeCraft, Portland’s bike-inspired holiday gift fair.

Our friends at Microcosm Publishing have assembled a stellar lineup of vendors. From artists to authors, makers of all kinds will share their wares on December 15th and 16th at Taborspace in southeast Portland. All this week we’ll feature spotlights of the vendors here on the Front Page.

Here’s the first batch…

Kristina WayteSketchy Trails

Kristina Wayte came to last year’s BikeCraft for the first time with her beautiful mountain bike line-art, emblazoned on any number of useful, decorative, and/or wearable items. This year she’s bringing back her greatest hits (holiday ornaments!) plus some rad new stuff to inspire your dreams of summer bike adventures.

What are you bringing to BikeCraft? What’s the most important thing people should know about it?
This year I will be selling prints, ornaments, mudguards and tshirts! The most important thing people should know is that my business developed in the PNW and is my main source of inspiration! (note that I will not be selling pint glasses, so you can omit that on the website)

Tell us about yourself: Wwhat events in your life led you to be doing this bikey craft?
I moved up to Washington in 2014 after working in San Francisco at a gaming company for 4 years. I was a daily bike commuter and mountain biked on the weekends. After moving to Washington and pedaling in the beautiful forests, my bike hobby turned into a life passion. After riding with my visiting twin sister, I started drawing bikes. Then drew more bikes. I thought I would run out of ideas but they kept flowing! I developed a personal style I never had before and I love exploring what Sketchy Trails can be.

What’s your favorite BikeCraft memory?
My favorite memory is meeting and hanging out with the other vendors who also love getting crafty about bikes!

Doug Walsh – Snoke Valley Books/DougWalsh.com

What are you bringing to BikeCraft? What’s the most important thing people should know about it?
I’m bringing signed paperback copies of my novel Tailwinds Past Florence, a road-tripping love story with a magical twist, inspired by the two years I spent traveling from Seattle to Singapore by bicycle and ship. Digital download codes will also be available. The novel was a prizewinner in the Mainstream Fiction category of the PNWA Literary Contest.

Tell us about yourself—what events in your life led you to be doing this bikey craft?
I’ve been writing officially licensed video game strategy guides my entire adult life and decided, back in 2008, that I wanted an adventure of my own, in real life. So, my wife and I set off in 2014 to bicycle around the world. I embarked on the trip fully expecting to write a travel memoir, but seven thousand miles later, somewhere in the Pyrenees Mountains, an idea popped into my mind. It was the seed that eventually grew into the novel I’m now happy to share.

What are you most excited about at the event?
This will be my first time at BikeCraft, but I can’t wait to be surrounded by so much creativity on display.

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Deb Winkelman – Deb’s Upcycled Designs (Facebook)

Deb Winkelman is traveling the farthest to attend BikeCraft — from her home in Alaska!

Here’s what she says about her work:
Deb’s Upcycled Designs recycles bicycle inner tubes and bicycle chain link into cool designs that are water resistant, durable, and stylish! Purses, hip packs, pouches, dog collars, toiletry bags, earrings, and necklaces. As an avid cyclist and former bicycle tour owner, I have access to many bicycle parts that I recycled and upcycled into cool creations! Based in Alaska, I’m passionate about keeping our state green!

For a full list of vendors and more details, check out the official BikeCraft website. And stay tuned for more vendor spotlights.

— Elly Blue/Microcosm Publishing

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Portland’s e-scooter pilot ends tomorrow (and that’s too bad)

Bike Portland - Mon, 11/19/2018 - 14:46

The sun is about to set on scooters.
(Photos: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

It was fun while it lasted.

The end of the line has come for Portland’s electric scooters. The pilot started back in July and — judging from comments by Bureau of Transportation staff in a Willamette Week story published yesterday — PBOT seems likely to keep their promise of officially ending it sometime this week.

The scooters hit the streets on July 23rd. For the most part, the program has been a huge success. It’s really a shame it has to end like this.

Remember before they launched? There were all manner of crazy predictions about how terrible it would be. One of our local weeklies published a story that referenced the “zombie apocalypse” and likened the presence of scooters to an “invasion,” peppering the story with anecdotes about crashes and cluttered sidewalks that were all but unusable.

None of that stuff really came true.

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Better Naito worked; but we ended it. The scooter program has been a success; but we plan to end that too.

While there are definitely kinks to work out (that’s what a pilot is for), with nearly 700,000 trips in just four months, the 2,000 scooters have changed mobility in Portland for the better. A survey of more than 4,500 scooter users showed them to be wildly popular and used in a way that aligns with nearly all of the City of Portland’s adopted transportation goals.

The scooter companies (not surprisingly) are begging PBOT to extend the pilot. Scooters have been very controversial in Long Beach, California; but officials there decided to prolong the test period for three months while they address how best to regulate them.

As we saw with strong support from City Council for the Central City in Motion plan last week, the City of Portland wants people to drive less and use more efficient, climate-friendly, and safer ways to move around. The scooters tick all those boxes. And now, just as people have begun to integrate them into their lives, the scooters will disappear.

As for what happens next, PBOT says they’ll share findings from all the data and public input they’ve gathered and make them public in early 2019. “The bureau will consider community input and data findings on e-scooters in Portland, and we look forward to learning from the findings to evaluate and inform a potential second pilot program in 2019,” said the agency in a statement.

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

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Guest opinion: Central City in Motion passage a historic moment for Portland

Bike Portland - Mon, 11/19/2018 - 13:41

(Photo: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

[This essay is by Go By Bike owner and Portland transportation activist Kiel Johnson, who was in City Hall when council passed the Central City in Motion plan on Thursday.]

Thursday’s passage of the Central City in Motion plan will be remembered as a crucial moment in Portland’s history. I was sitting in the back of council chambers on Thursday with Ryan Hashagen from Better Block and during the testimony we both reflected on the passage of the Portland Bicycle Master Plan eight years ago.

In 2010, I was fresh out of college and having given up on finding a job had started interning at PBOT. On the day of the passage I wore a shirt with a bicycle and the words “revolutionary” under it, which a PBOT employee told me to change for fear of setting the wrong optics. His concern reflected how anxious PBOT was about the plan and what council would say about it.

After the 5-0 vote it was like someone had won the lottery. The mood throughout the office was elated. You couldn’t walk down the hall without a high five. The Bicycle Master Plan was important not just for the policy it created but how it raised the morale of the many people working within PBOT to achieve that same goal.

The passage of the Central City in Motion plan feels just as good — and it comes with the emergence of a new champion for transportation reform.

The long halls of Portland’s bureaucracy can be isolating and complex. Bureaucracy does not embrace change. That is why it is so important to have elected officials in city government who are advocates for change. On Thursday, Commissioner Chloe Eudaly very clearly said that we need to change how our streets are designed so more people can walk, take transit, and ride a bike.

In her remarks before the vote, Commissioner Eudaly thanked walking and cycling advocates before giving the most eloquent, truthful, forceful, and thoughtful speeches on transportation I have ever heard.

She said,

“For too long we have only been addressing one end of the spectrum, which are car drivers, while neglecting the other end. So if it seems like we are dedicating a lot of resources to bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure, we are, and it is completely warranted.”

She went on illuminating the history of our cities,

“It’s only been about a 100 years since streets were thought of as strictly conduits for cars. But for a millennia before the invention of the combustible engine streets were used for a variety of uses and by many different users.”

If that wasn’t enough I nearly fell out of my seat in excitement when she started talking about critical mass. She quoted the “We are the streets” motto and ended my saying her motto towards single occupancy drivers who complain about congestion is, “you are the congestion”.

She closed by saying how it is imperative for climate change, public health and safety, equity, and collective quality of life that we make improvements for biking and walking.

Since the passage of the Bicycle Master Plan, Portland has been waiting for a leader to embrace the goals and values in that plan. If Commissioner Eudaly continues the tone she set on Thursday she will be remembered as one of Portland’s greatest public servants. If anything I feel PBOT has failed to sell the Central City in Motion plan. Once all these projects are built it will fundamentally change how people think about getting around in the central city.

Thank you for your leadership Commissioner Eudaly. Portland’s transportation advocates heard you last week and we are ready to spend our time and passion to turn the vision you laid out into reality. And to the PBOT employees sitting in your cubicle: Get to work, we finally have a commissioner who is ready to lead.

— Kiel Johnson @go_by_bike on Twitter

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Uber’s JUMP launches their lock-to, slightly cheaper e-bikes in central Seattle

Seattle Bike Blog - Mon, 11/19/2018 - 11:28

JUMP bikes staged downtown over the weekend. Unlike with Lime, JUMP bikes need to be locked to a rack or pole.

After months of delays getting the new bike share permit in place and through environmental review, Uber’s JUMP launched in Seattle this morning. They join Lime, which has had a temporary monopoly on bike share in town since early summer when Spin and ofo left.

The company is launching 300 bikes initially with plans to ramp up “over the coming weeks and months,” according to a press release (see the full release below). During this initial phase, the service area is limited to 65th Street in the north and McClellan Street in the south (basically, the north end of Green Lake to Mount Baker Station). But the service area will expand as they add more bikes, the company said.

JUMP’s red bikes are a bit different than Lime’s e-bikes. They have gears, for one. They also have a keypad and RFID reader for app-less unlocking. So, for example, you could tie your ORCA card to your JUMP account, letting you unlock their bikes with the same card you use to board transit (though you still need to set up a JUMP or Uber account and pay through the company). Both the JUMP and Uber apps should give you access to the bikes. As a promo, your first five trips up to 30 minutes are free every day through December 12.

JUMP’s initial service area, from their Seattle webpage.

But the biggest difference between Lime and JUMP is parking. JUMP bikes need to be locked to a bike rack or street sign (UPDATE: The JUMP website does say bikes need to be locked to something, but they rarely are and there is no obvious indication to users that they need to do so). When you unlock it, the metal u-shaped bar is released similar to a normal u-lock. There is a slot on the rear rack where you can stash the bar while riding. When you get to your destination, just insert the bar back into the lock to end your trip. This does mean it could be slightly harder to find a locking place, but it could also mean that the bikes are less likely to fall over and block sidewalks. It could also mean that bike parking for personal bikes will get a little more scarce unless the city works hard to increase the bike parking supply.

So there are pros and cons between the JUMP and Lime parking styles. It will be very interesting to see them in action and at scale to see which one people prefer.

I tested a JUMP bike back in June, and noted that in addition to having gears and feeling a bit heavier and more solid, the bikes were faster than Lime’s e-bikes. But Seattle’s permit rules require that shared e-bikes stop giving riders an assist beyond 15 mph, so Jump has had to scale their 20 mph bikes down to 15 to meet Seattle’s rules. Hey, we should do the same thing to cars in Seattle!

JUMP has also changed its pay structure. Where the company formerly charged $2 for 30 minutes, they will now charge $1 to unlock plus 10¢ a minute. Lime charges $1 + 15¢ per minute for their e-bikes and $1 + 5¢ per minute for pedal bikes. So there’s already some price competition at work.

Like Lime, JUMP also has a discounted ride plan called JUMP Boost for people who already qualify for housing, food, utility or transit assistance programs. This includes ORCA Lift. People who qualify will be able to get 60 minutes of ride time every day for $5/month. And like Lime, people without a credit card can pay in cash at PayNearMe locations, such as 7-Eleven and CVS. Just scan or take a photo of your program card or documentation and email it to support@jump.com with the subject line “Seattle Boost Documentation,” then wait for them to get back to you with approval and more details.

JUMP was formerly known as Social Bicycles, an early innovator in creating shared bikes that can be locked without a docking station. SoBi provided the tech for Portland’s Biketown system, which is operated by former Pronto Cycle Share operator Motivate. Lyft has since purchased Motivate, so Biketown is now operated by Lyft but uses bikes that share the tech and look of Uber’s bikes. Lyft has its own dockless bikes now and has applied for a Seattle permit. We have yet to hear any details about a Seattle launch, though.

Have you used a JUMP bike yet? Let us know your thoughts in comments below. Here’s the full JUMP press release:

Uber today announced the launch of dockless electric bike share service JUMP in Seattle. JUMP bikes are electric and provide a gentle boost with every pedal, making it easier for riders to get around their city without breaking a sweat. The bikes have integrated “lock to” technology and feature GPS intelligence. They can be unlocked by entering an account number on the user interface or by using a linked, compatible radio-frequency identification (RFID) card, like an ORCA card.

“Seattle has been a leader in dockless bike share, so we’re thrilled to bring our JUMP electric bikes as the first step towards offering Uber customers a multi-modal transportation platform in this great Northwest city,” said JUMP spokesperson Nelle Pierson. “Bike sharing is an environmentally friendly, affordable way to get around, and a mobility option we believe should be a permanent cornerstone of a city’s transportation system.”

JUMP will launch in Seattle with nearly 300 bikes then incrementally ramp up the number of bikes over the coming weeks and months. The initial service area will span from 65th in the North to South McLellan in the Rainier Valley. The service area will expand as the number of bikes increases.

JUMP Bikes in Seattle will cost $1 to unlock and 10 cents per minute to ride. As part of a launch promotion, JUMP is offering riders five free trips up to 30 minutes long each day through December 12. JUMP ambassadors will also be handing out more than 1,000 free helmets through Dec. 18 at 1191 2nd Ave. from 11 a.m. until 6 p.m. every day of the week except Tuesdays and Sundays.

JUMP also offers a Boost Plan for lower-income riders. Those who qualify for the Boost Plan receive 60 minutes of free ride time per day at a cost of $5 per month. Details on how to enroll in JUMP’s Seattle Boost plan can be found at https://jump.com/cities/seattle/boost-plan/.

In 2017, JUMP bikes launched the first ever dockless electric bike share system in the United States. Dockless bike share expands transportation options for residents by making it easier to rent and park a bike anywhere within the community, instead of at designated stations. This spring, Uber acquired JUMP as part of its mission to expand the menu of affordable, reliable transportation options available within the Uber app, and make it even easier for residents to get across town without relying on their own personal vehicle.

JUMP’s pedal assist bikes are available in Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Austin, Chicago, Denver, Staten Island and the Bronx, Providence, Sacramento, Santa Cruz, San Francisco, Santa Monica, CA, Washington, D.C. JUMP also has scooters available in Austin and Santa Monica.

How JUMP bikes work:

With both the Uber and JUMP mobile apps, users can find and unlock (and reserve up to 30 minutes in advance) JUMP pedal-assist e-bikes. It’s simple to use.

Via the Uber app:

  • Tap the “mode switch” on the homescreen of the Uber app, and select bike

  • You’ll see the available JUMP bikes around you, and can select one to reserve.

  • The app will give you a pin number so you can unlock your bike.

Via the JUMP app:

  • Download the JUMP Bikes app to create an account.

  • Use the in-app map to find and reserve bikes – or simply walk up to a bike and enter your account number and four-digit pin.

  • Want to make a quick stop without finding another bike afterwards? Press the “hold” button and lock the bike to a rack. Just enter your 4-digit PIN to unlock and continue your ride.

The Monday Roundup: the plaza problem, 3D helmet, farewell Faraday, and more

Bike Portland - Mon, 11/19/2018 - 06:57

Here are the most notable stories we came across in the past week…

Fewer cars = more business: New research from London (once again) proves that businesses on streets with bikeways do better than those located on streets dominated by auto users.

Plazas for whom?: Public plazas are sought-after amenities, but cities that have them are struggling to manage the presence of homeless people who sleep in them and sometimes make others feel uncomfortable. (You can bet this is one reason why Portland hasn’t created more of them.)

Bike shop closures: Nearly half (40) of Performance stores across the country are going to close because its parent company has filed for bankruptcy. There’s one Performance store in Portland (Mall 205) and one in Beaverton and Tualatin as well, but no final list of closures has been published.

Cars are over: Young adults don’t love cars as much as automakers want you to believe, making them ripe for the mobility revolution we all know is coming.

The truth about driving: Recent wildfires where thousands of people tried to flee on car-choked streets inspired this amazingly candid assessment of what it’s like to drive in Los Angeles in 2018.

Pink tax: A new study found that women spend more on transportation than men, largely because of the behavior of men.

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Lime cars: Not satisfied with just scooters and bikes, Lime is poised to drop 500 cars on the streets of Seattle.

Cool helmet: The new Hexo is a 3D printed, customizable helmet made from a new type of aerospace industry material.

Anti-driving leadership spreads: Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo has an unlikely endorsement of her strong policies against driving in the city: Mayors from suburban cities who have agreed to ban the use of diesel cars in the name of better air quality.

UCI’s new sock regs: Looking to stem the scourge of long socks, pro cycling’s governing body now says they can only go half way up your lower leg.

Ayesha McGowan: She wants to be the first black female professional road racer; but she’ll gladly accept merely inspiring other people of color to take up the sport.

Farewell Faraday?: Makers of one of coolest e-bikes on the market, Faraday, appears to be shutting down.

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

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Life Elements CBD Bath Bomb for the Rainy Season

Bike Hugger - Fri, 11/16/2018 - 18:13

Cyclists in Seattle have many ways to cope with the rainy season. Mine now includes taking a bath with a CBD bath bomb from Life Elements.

What I can say is the mixture pretty much sucks the aches and pains out of my body after a long ride in the wet cold. I asked one of the Life Elements founders, Martha Van Inwegen, how it worked and she told me

Your skin absorbs more when it’s warm, so by taking a warm bath, the CBD can access the CBD receptors below the skin, faster and easier. So it will work quickly and directly on pain and inflammation. Plus, it works in concert with all the other essential oils to relieve pain further.

The difference between the Life Elements CBD bomb and say 1/2 a bag of Epsom salts is smooth skin, also the CBDs are doing something special.

The other ways to cope with the rain getting out between squalls and for no more than 90 minutes if the downpour is steady. Spend the money on a jacket that works, like the stretchy Gore.

Also, treat yourself to something nice after all that hard work.

Life Elements CBD Bath Bomb are available direct and on sale now. Of course, they make a nice gift for the cyclist in your family.

Life Elements CBD Bath Bomb Ingredients

3 Strengths: 50 mg | 100 mg | 200 mg full spectrum, hemp-derived CBD oil.

Baking Soda, Citric Acid, Goat Milk, Colloidal Oatmeal, Honey, Maltodextrin, Grapeseed oil, Olive Oil, Cannabis Sativa (Hemp Seed) Oil, Goldenseal, Arnica, Balsam Copaiba, Eucalyptus, Calendula Flower Extract, Neem, Ylang Ylang, Hemp Cannabidiol (CBD), Witch Hazel

Considered a supplement, Life Elements doesn’t make any medical claims about their CBD, but do share this

The CBD used in our Life Elements CBD & Honey Collection is derived from industrial hemp, which has the same properties as cannabis-derived CBD, but contains less than 0.3% THC., making it available to anyone in any state, even those without medical marijuana laws.* Cannabidiol, or CBD, has a wide variety of medicinal and therapeutic effects and is a known anti-inflammatory, with antioxidant and anti-aging properties.

If you’re considering taking CBDs for your mental health, see what Floyds of Leadville is doing. Also know that the modern bike industry was built with a couple joints, coffee, and klunkerz. And,  rec cannabis, the kind that gets you high, is legal in Seattle

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Jobs of the Week: Urban Land Institute, Velotech, Community Cycling Center, p:ear

Bike Portland - Fri, 11/16/2018 - 17:12

Need a change of pace? Or maybe looking to get your foot in the door? Check out our freshest job listings.

Learn more about each one via the links below…

–> Senior Associate – Urban Planning & Sustainability – Urban Land Institute

–> Bike Works Program Coordinator – p:ear

–> Used Inventory Coordinator – Community Cycling Center

–> Shipping Specialist – Velotech

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.

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‘Betties360’ program teaches girls more than riding a BMX bike

Bike Portland - Fri, 11/16/2018 - 16:31


*Students from St. Andrews Nativity School at The Lumberyard. Photos by Jonathan Maus/BikePortland

Eighth grade is not an easy time for many young girls. As a father of one of them, I can vouch for that. Getting them to challenge themselves, try something new, and make themselves vulnerable is often like harder than pulling teeth.

“After you do it you’ll feel excited.”

On Wednesday I hung out with a dozen eighth-graders who challenged not only themselves, but my assumptions about them.

The girls were part of an afterschool enrichment program run by Betties360, a Portland nonprofit founded in 2005 by April Snyder and Kristen Wright. This is the fourth year they’ve partnered with The Lumberyard, an indoor bike park on NE 82nd Avenue.

Lumberyard Guest Instructor Elaine Bothe has worked with the girls this year, helping them gain confidence on the ramps and other features of the park. Things were calm and quiet when I arrived, but Elaine said once the girls show up, the energy in the room would spike. She was right.

Getting the helmet situation sorted is the first order of business.

As soon as they came in, there was much giggling and jumping around — just what you’d expect when eighth-grade friends are together. The girls were from St. Andrews Nativity, a small, tuition-free Catholic middle school located at NE 9th and Alberta in the heart of Portland’s Soul District.

The first order of business was to get hair and helmets in order. Then they chose their bikes from a fleet of rentals. The Lumberyard’s features lend themselves well to “BMX” bikes with 18 or 20-inch wheels, upright bars, and relatively small frames which make them easy to handle.

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Along with Bothe, the girls were helped by volunteer Sarah Umberhandt and Betties360 staffers Na’ama Schweitzer and Kelsey Ellis. There wasn’t much instruction. Once atop their bikes the girls just wanted to ride.

They had different riding backgrounds and some looked much more comfortable than others. I loved how supportive they were of each other. I watched them tackle the pump track and the “railroad tracks” lines — and even the girls who were still learning how to ride smoothly seemed to love it. Some would bump into walls, others would get their bars all twisted, there were a few crashes. But they persisted.

“This can be an intimidating environment for anybody,” said Bothe, the instructor.

I asked one of them what she’d tell another girl who’s afraid to try it. “I’d tell her don’t worry,” the girl said. “After you do it you’ll feel excited because, like, you grow up and progress and do something you’ve never done before.”

Was that you before you did this class? I asked.

“Yep,” she replied.

As they waited for their turn on the track, one of them told me her favorite thing was, “Coming down the ramp with the feeling of wind on your face.”

If these girls — caught on that tricky precipice of becoming young women — had forgotten how fun bicycling was, I’m pretty sure this class has been a firm reminder that it’s still fun, and it always will be.

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

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After deep review, SDOT reaffirms plans for Eastlake bike lanes

Seattle Bike Blog - Fri, 11/16/2018 - 13:20

From a project presentation.

There may be no bike project north of downtown Seattle more important than Eastlake Ave. Connecting to the University Bridge today and the 520 Trail in the future, Eastlake is an already well-used bike route with huge promise for growth. The problem is that today, biking on the street is very stressful because there are no bike lanes.

But SDOT’s Roosevelt RapidRide project has the potential to transform the street into the multimodal neighborhood commercial street it should be, prioritizing walking, biking and transit. And plans, developed over years of study, public outreach and dedicated people-powered advocacy, have included protected bike lanes on Eastlake Ave because they are vital to achieving that vision and connecting the citywide bike network.

But due to pushback from folks worried about losing on-street parking, the city went back to the drawing board this year to take another, deeper look at every option they could think of to see if there was any way to create a quality bike route through the area that provides access to Eastlake destinations and a direct route between the University Bridge and South Lake Union. And that effort only further supported what we already knew: Building protected bike lanes on Eastlake Ave is by far the best option.

So in a project update email this week, the team announced that the bike lanes are staying in the plans.

To everyone who volunteered their time and energy to go to public meetings, send supportive comments or otherwise organize to support these bike lanes, good work! We’re still bit away from construction, but this feels like a significant step closer to a quality bike route east of Lake Union.

More details from SDOT:

Thank you to everyone who joined the October 23 Eastlake neighborhood briefing for the RapidRide Roosevelt project! Approximately 100 interested community members joined us to learn more about the planned protected bike lane and potential tools to manage parking in the future.

You can view the presentation shared at the meeting. You can also review the RapidRide Roosevelt’s bicycle facility evaluation and the draft parking and curbspace management analysis.

Why is there a protected bike lane planned for Eastlake Ave E?

Along with improving transit service between Roosevelt and Downtown Seattle, the purpose and need for the RapidRide Roosevelt also includes improving safety conditions and connections to RapidRide stations for people biking and walking along the corridor.

While bicyclists and pedestrians only make up 6.3% of all crashes, they represent a much larger percentage of serious (47.4%) and fatal (39.7%) crashes. In addition, the University Bridge has the second-highest recorded bicycle volume in the city. The RapidRide Roosevelt project includes approximately 3 miles of protected bike lanes (PBL) connecting Roosevelt, the University District, Eastlake, and South Lake Union neighborhoods.

In Eastlake, the protected bike lane is planned to be built in both directions along Eastlake Ave E. This bike lane is included to meet the project’s purpose and need by improving safety and access to transit, as well as contributing to improved transit speed and reliability in the corridor.

Other bicycle facility options for this area have been evaluated, but the protected bike lane on Eastlake best meets evaluation criteria.

What are the impacts to parking along Eastlake Ave E?

In order to meet the project goals and to install the protected bike lane, the project would remove on-street parking and vehicle load zones on Eastlake Ave E. Loading zones would be replaced near the removed loading zones where feasible.

SDOT will continue to work with the Eastlake neighborhood to develop parking strategies to better utilize remaining curbspace capacity.

Who approved this project? When was the decision made?

The Seattle City Council adopted the project’s Locally Preferred Alternative in 2017. That’s the approval to proceed with the project as currently defined, which includes the protected bike lanes.

The next milestone is the environmental assessment process and preliminary design. We are coordinating with the Federal Transit Administration on our environmental process.

Learn more at the project website.

Momentum builds for carfree river ferry service between Portland and Vancouver

Bike Portland - Fri, 11/16/2018 - 13:19

Susan Bladholm, president of Frog Ferry, at the Oregon Transportation Commission this morning.

The ‘Frog Ferry’ has taken a major leap forward this week. The passenger ferry concept is making its first major public debut with media coverage and a spot on the agenda at today’s meeting of the Oregon Transportation Commission (the governor-appointed body that sets transportation policy for the State of Oregon).

Spearheading the effort is Susan Bladholm, a former director of Cycle Oregon and corporate marketing professional who spent 10 years each with Business Oregon and the Port of Portland. Bladholm has spent two years researching and building support for her plan to establish a ferry service on the Willamette River that would shuttle customers between Lake Oswego and Vancouver.

Flanked by Portland Spirit Owner Dan Yates and Metro Project Manager Chris Ford (fresh of his win as project manager for the SW Corridor, which was approved by Metro Council last night), Bladholm said, “It’s time for a new mode of transportation to be introduced.”

From a presentation by Frog Ferry.

Potential stops.

“The heavy lift is bringing in the infrastructure and changing the culture,” she continued. “Just like cycling. Now we have cyclists all over the place; but way back when our shoulders weren’t all that wide or very clean, and we didn’t have cyclists. Infrastructure was needed.”

Far from just a pie-in-the-sky idea, Bladholm (whose bio says, “she has staffed five governors”) can boast of having 450 supporters lined up behind her. She’s met with dozens of agency staff and was personally introduced to ODOT management by Director Matt Garrett. The Frog Ferry has support from major power brokers in Portland politics and river interests including the Port of Portland, Port of Vancouver, Zidell Companies, Working Waterfront Coalition, Vigor Industrial, Travel Oregon, City of Portland (Mayor Ted Wheeler), Portland Business Alliance, Central Eastside Industrial Council, and Daimler Trucks North America.

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The name and logo artwork comes from Chinook myth.

Metro likes the idea too. Ford told commissioners today that, “We’re encouraged to see the private sector exploring climate-friendly transportation options that recognize a sense of place.” (The
“Frog” part of the name is based on Chinook mythology.) Ford said the 2018 Metro Regional Transportation Plan includes the ferry concept, which gives it, “A hall pass for further study.”

The idea of a water ferry was also the subject of a 2006 City of Portland study as part of the River Renaissance initiative. One key barrier cited back then was the lack of terminals and dock facilities and the high cost to built them. That’s why strong private sector interest makes the Frog Ferry concept different.

According to Frog Ferry documents, the concept would include seven stops between Vancouver and Lake Oswego, with future plans that could add more stops and extend the service to Camas, Troutdale, and St. Helens. The service would target commuters, errand-runners, tourists, and people in emergencies. “When and if the big earthquake happens we’ll have more vessels to move people around when all the bridges come crumbling down,” Yates said today.

Estimates of use and trip times are still approximate, but a presentation shows the trip between Rose Quarter and Vancouver taking 25 minutes. Lake Oswego to Vancouver would be 41 minutes. To drive the 20 miles between Lake Oswego or the Rose Quarter to Vancouver would take around an hour or 30 minutes respectively during typical commute traffic.

The ferries themselves would fit about 149 people and would have room for bikes. Bladholm told the OTC today that that equates to taking 500 cars off the roads, based on Columbia River Crossing project research that found 67% of I-5 auto traffic that crosses the Columbia River is single-occupancy.

To further understand the costs and benefits of the project, Frog Ferry backers are asking the State of Oregon to help fund a $650,000 feasibility study.

From Frog Ferry presentation.

“Rather than saying it’s too hard or too expensive,” Bladholm said today, “let’s be informed. let’s be curious, rather than say we simply can’t do it.” And Portland Spirit owner Dan Yates put it bluntly after expressing his dislike of government delays and regulations. “I’m willing to buy the first boat, but you guys have to do the study.”

Yates added that he envisions a system of 16 electric ferries that would ideally be have to be tightly integrated into the TriMet and Streetcar systems.

When commissioners had a chance to respond, OTC Chair Tammy Baney said, “I am floored by the passion behind it.”

Commissioner Alando Simpson also expressed support of the project, saying, “I think it’s a very realistic and practical concept.” Simpson also said he was concerned he didn’t see any representation from environmental justice advocates in Frog Ferry documents. “You’re going to have to figure out how you tap into those constituent bases,” he advised.

Frog Ferry’s timeline says they want to launch in 2020. That doesn’t seem likely, but I wouldn’t doubt Bladholm. She has the experience, skills, and connections to make this work. “We’re doing our part,” she told the OTC this morning, “Now we’re asking agencies to step up and help us.”

Learn more at FrogFerry.com.

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

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Sony’s Black Friday Specials

Bike Hugger - Thu, 11/15/2018 - 19:53

Cross posting this news about Sony’s Black Friday Specials from my photography site because of how often I get asked about which camera to buy. Sony started Black Friday early with a $999 deal on an a7 II kit. That sale ended and today they announced their Black Friday specials that start on 11/18/18.

Because Sony continues to manufacture prior revs of their camera bodies, the discounts and deals can be substantial. The a7 II is back on sale on Black Friday and that’s the deal I’d recommend.

It’s a whopping 38% off. If you’re considering the a7 II, here’s what the difference between it and the a7 III is.

If all-in-one compacts are your thing and easy to stuff in a jersey pocket, then the Sony RX100 VA at $100 off with a 50% grip is a good deal too. The VA has upgraded sensors and buffer. It’s built with the shorter 24-70mm f/1.8-2.8 zoom lens instead of the monster zoom of the RX100 VI.

A complete list of Sony’s Black Friday Specials follows.

Alpha Cameras

Update:  For you sport shooters or camera geeks who want the latest and best tech, I thought $1K off the flagship a9 was a typo. It’s not… I double checked. The a9 sale is 22% off.

Alpha Cameras I had the a9 with me in Paris for street shooting. Sony a9

My daily shooter, the a9 is Sony’s flagship with a lists of first like a full-frame stacked CMOS, black-out free continuous shooting up to 20 fps, and 693 af points.

It’s the most, in-the moment camera I’ve shot with and the one I recommend for Pros and geeks who want the latest tech. It’s on sale nowfor 22% off, that’s 1,000 dollars.

Sony a7 II

The Sony a7 II kit(including 28-70mm lens) is $999.99—that’s the lowest priced full frame mirrorless kit. Really, the most bang for the buck. It’s on sale on 11/18/18 until 12/29/18.

Note the sale price will not show now, but will on the 18th.

Sony a7R III

The Sony a7R III bodyis on sale for $2799. (regular price is $3198). The sale dates: 11/18/18 -12/29/18 (6 weeks). The R is for resolution and maximum sensor performance is what this camera is about. For all out speed, that’s the a9which isn’t on sale.

The a9 body is what I’m shooting with the most.

If a Hollywood moviewas shot with an a7, just imagine what you could do with an updated body like the a7iii. On Amazon for $1998. Sony a7 III

The a7 III, the number one selling full frame mirrorless camera, is in stock now at all the major retailers, while supplies last, at its MSRP of $1999. That’s not on sale, but dollar for dollar the other camera brands can’t match it this holiday season.

The news is that it’s back in stock.

Compact Cameras Sony RX100 VA

The Sony RX100 VA is on sale for $100 and 50% off the grip (VCTSGR1) with purchase from 11/18/18 to 12/29/18.

4K Cinema

While not that into motion preferring stills, the deals on Sony 4k Cinema I couldn’t ignore.

The Sony FDR-AX33is  $150 and FDR-AX53 is  $200 off. Both feature BOSS and Fast AF.

The FDR-AX33 is on sale for 6 weeks and the FDR-AX53 is on sale for 5 weeks.

Sony Sale Recommendations

If you don’t need more advance tech, like what’s in the a7 III, but the a7 II kit for $998. You can save hundreds of dollars and put it toward another lens. I suggest the G Master 24I shot with in San Francisco.

 

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Central City in Motion plan adopted by Portland city council with 3-0 vote

Bike Portland - Thu, 11/15/2018 - 17:28

(Photos: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

It’s time for Portland to build more efficient streets downtown where walkers and bicycle riders can get around without fearing for their life. And to make it happen, we need to move forward with the Central City in Motion plan and more people need to stop driving cars.

That was the message newly-appointed Transportation Commissioner Chloe Eudaly shared at Thursday’s city council hearing. Commissioner Eudaly made activist hearts flutter when she opened the meeting with a speech that set a strong tone that helped pass the plan with flying colors in a vote of 3-0 (two commissioners were absent). Eudaly’s tone throughout was “Blumenauer-like” one source told me after the meeting, referring to U.S. Congressman Earl Blumenauer, who served as PBOT commissioner in the 1990s when our city put itself on the map as a leader in bicycling, walking, and transit.

Recounting her experience being stuck in Hawthorne Bridge traffic next to a TriMet bus, in her opening speech Eudaly said Portland needs to encourage incentives and disincentives so people, “Change their deeply engrained behaviors and their cherished traditions — namely to not drive their single occupancy vehicles [into downtown].” She also promised that no public funds would be spent on auto parking garages and that the city is current “over-investing” in east Portland, pushing back against any claims that central city investment is not equitable (an issue that has plagued bikeway investments in the past).

Even without Mayor Ted Wheeler in attendance (he’s had a very rough 24 hours) Eudaly urged the council to vote on the plan instead of delaying it, as often happens at first readings of new ordinances. She said it’s already taken six years to get to this point where 18 projects are vetted and ready-to-go. “We need to adopt this plan today,” she said, “to move forward with any of them.”

After a presentation by PBOT staff, other commissioners had the chance to ask questions.

Commissioner Amanda Fritz, known for being a walking advocate, wanted assurances from PBOT that protected bikeways wouldn’t create stressful conditions for people on foot. Fritz also asked why PBOT chose SW Broadway and 4th for the marquee cycling couplet instead of 5th and 6th (a.k.a. the transit mall). It’s likely Fritz asked about this because taking drivers off the transit mall is something the Portland Business Alliance has advocated for (instead of Broadway and 4th).

PBOT Project Manager Gabe Graff was ready for the question.

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PBOT slide makes a very simple argument.

He described engineering challenges like access to major hotels that open onto 5th and 6th and landlocked buildings that use the transit mall for garbage service and other deliveries. “And there are political challenges,” Graff added, “The property owners that paid into the LID [local improvement district] that constructed the [transit] mall were promised continuous vehicular access.” Then Commissioner Fritz interjected, “And we don’t want to break promises.”

“Today we can begin a new era of Portland leadership in green and efficient transportation.”
— Catie Gould, Bike Loud PDX vice-chair

There were several panels of people invited to testify — and most of them echoed Eudaly’s call for action. A TriMet rep said they want the transit priority projects built, “As quick as we can.” Many people pushed for all 18 projects to be completed in the first 1-5 years, if not sooner.

Emily Barrett, a board member for The Street Trust, told stories about how friends won’t bike downtown because it’s unsafe. “I don’t want this to be a brave choice,” she said.

Clint Culpepper, transportation options manager for Portland State University, said a permanent protected bikeway on SW Broadway “is overdue”. He added that they’ve seen student driving rates increase, “Because of the lower level of comfort and safety bicycle riders feel in the central city.”

Bike Loud PDX Vice-chair Catie Gould (who, in a mark of respect for the grassroots group, was invited by PBOT to testify) told council it’s time for Portland to stop resting on its laurels. “Pent up demand for safe and efficient transportation alternatives mean that bold actions can lead to meaningful results,” she said. “Today we can begin a new era of Portland leadership in green and efficient transportation.”

“I like protected bikeways… They’re important to get people like me to ride. I won’t ride because I’m too afraid, and there are a lot of people like that.”
— Commissioner Dan Saltzman

Gary Cobb, community outreach coordinator with Central City Concern, a homeless services organization, said the W Burnside project was especially needed for their clients. “We urge you to move forward with this plan.. With 6,000 low-income patients and 600 residents at our building, that part of Burnside is important for us for safety and mobility.”


When it was time for public testimony, there was strong support for the plan — as well as major concerns from business owners and their advocates. And a rep from PBOT’s own Freight Advisory Committee requested more analysis of trucking impacts.

There was a nearly united front from freight and central eastside business interests that the proposed protected bikeways on NE/SE 7th Avenue should be moved to 6th. PBOT prefers 7th because it’s direct, wide enough to support a quality bikeway, and it connects much better to the rest of the network (including the forthcoming carfree bridge over Sullivan’s Gulch). But reps from the Central Eastside Industrial Council and the PBOT Freight Committee want bikes off 7th and on 6th Avenue instead. With 6th marked as part of the future Green Loop they see think it’s “redundant” to have bikes on both.

There was a clear tension between those who see the central eastside as a current and future “industrial sanctuary” and those who feel the area is changing and needs to be planned for as a residential and retail destination. It seems Commissioner Eudaly and PBOT think it will become more like the Pearl District (Eudaly even referred to it as a “former industrial sanctuary”) and some business reps and Commissioner Fritz believe we need to dig in and preserve it as a heavy industry and manufacturing hub. In the end Fritz proposed an amendment to the ordinance that would “ensure freight and loading zone access for central eastside businesses.” Both Eudaly and PBOT supported it and agreed to continue to work on issues raised.

Yes we just adopted a plan that allows PBOT to create bike and transit lanes with space currently occupied by 1,000 parking spots.
(Graphic: PBOT)

Business representatives from northeast Broadway also expressed concerns over how new protected bike lanes and other changes would impact loading zones and customer access. The owners of Elephant’s Deli and Cotton Cloud futons said they would suffer if the projects were built. The owner of the futon shop on NE 7th and Broadway said, “If these things go through it will impact my business very strongly… we’d probably go out of business.” Elephant’s Deli owner said, “Losing the parking lanes and loading zones would be devastating.”

An employee of Modern Times Beer, located on SE Belmont between 6th and 7th also expressed concerns with the plan. He said their brewery has access doors on both streets and worries they’d be closed off if the project is built. He said he supports the goals of the plan, but that, “We need to ensure our ability to survive won’t be impacted.”

After they spoke and returned to their seats, PBOT Project Manager Gabe Graff walked over and got their contact information — a very smart move that was surely seen by the commissioners.

Rina Jimmerson with the Central Eastside Industrial Council said the loss of 100 on-street parking spots along 7th Avenue would, “Disrupt our parking system.” Jimmerson added that PBOT hasn’t done enough outreach to businesses and that the projects would hurt workers who drive into the central eastside. “We’re not against bikes,” she said, “but this plan needs to remember the low-wage workers.”

After the ebullient start of the hearing, at this point it felt like the tide might be turning against the plan.

Then Jessica Engelman stepped up to the mic. Engelman is a dedicated transportation advocate who volunteers with Bike Loud PDX and lives in the central eastside. She said she signed up to testify late, specifically to respond to concerns that might have popped up. Anyone saying there hasn’t been enough outreach on this plan, “Has been living under a rock,” she said confidently, as she pointed out a list of previously adopted plans that the Central City in Motion plan would fulfill (and which she printed out and gave to the commissioners). When it comes to putting a bikeway on 6th instead of 7th, Engelman warned that would be a big mistake and would lead to the same problem we have now of bicycle riders trying to ride through the Waterfront Park path.

As for concerns from businesses on inner NE Broadway? “I don’t shop there because it’s a terrifying street,” Engelman said, “Maybe if we made it a little less terrifying you’d get more business and you wouldn’t have to close.”

The Street Trust Executive Director Jillian Detweiler took a much different stance with her testimony than other advocates in the room. She appealed directly to commissioners and told them how her organization’s encouragement programs — like Women Bike, the Bike More Challenge, and others — would get people on bikes. “We want to be your partner to ensure that if these projects are built, they will be successful.” (The one-two punch between Bike Loud PDX leaders and volunteers and The Street Trust was really effective.)

With Mayor Wheeler absent and Commissioner Nick Fish having left for some reason during the hearing, and with concerns raises about business and parking impacts, it wasn’t clear that council would vote on the plan last night. But as persuasive testimony in favor of the plan piled up, and PBOT project staff confidently answered every question raised, the remaining three commissioners (which is enough for a quorum) decided the time to pass it was now.

PBOT infographic.

Prior to votes being called, Commissioner Eudaly offered a closing statement that caused several transportation advocates in the room to touch their hands to their hearts. She thanked biking activists for their work (calling several out by name) in making Portland a safer and easier place to ride and said, “For too long we’ve taken care of… car drivers. If it seems like we’re devoting a lot of time and money to walking and biking; we are. And it’s very necessary.” Saying that it’s “imperative” due to climate change, public healthy, safety, equity, and quality of life, Eudaly brushed aside driving concerns. “We can’t please everyone all the time.”

Then she went further, telling a story that cars with engines are relatively new to our streets and that, “For millennia before, streets served multiple purposes.” Citing the Critical Mass motto, Eudaly continued: “We are traffic. I have a motto for people who are single-occupant vehicle drivers frustrated while sitting in traffic. You are the congestion!”

After she voted “Aye,” Fritz and Saltzman gave their closing statements.

Fritz said the plan is “very important” and called herself a, “Huge pedestrian and transit advocate.” Then she added, while she herself doesn’t like to bike, because her son and his wife ride, “I’m also an avid cycling advocate.” She voted “Aye.”

And Saltzman, with just a few months left in his long tenure as a city commissioner, said, “I like protected bikeways a lot. They’re important to get people like me to ride. I won’t ride because I’m too afraid, and there are a lot of people like that… If we’re going to be successful to get our bicycling rates up, we need to overcome that.” He voted, “Aye.”

And the resolution passed. And there was much rejoicing — not just from the advocates in the room; but from the commissioners themselves, who, even after a long day seemed to appreciate a civil and productive meeting where something of great importance to our city moved forward with widespread support.

Great job everyone! This is a massive step forward for Portland.

Here’s a photo from Kiel Johnson after the meeting that shows just a small part of the dedicated advocates who worked to make this happen:

Heart emoji.
(Photo courtesy Kiel Johnson)

Helpful links for more info:
– Don’t miss our live-tweeting coverage thread which you can read here.
– Central City in Motion official city website.
Central City in Motion Implementation Plan (PDF, 27 MB)
Interactive map of all 18 projects.
– About funding: Of the $35 million needed to build the first phase projects, PBOT has: $8.3 million secured (federal grant and local gas tax); $16.7 million highly likely from TriMet ($5.5M) and System Development Charges ($11M). There’s still a $10 million or so gap to fill; but when you’ve got this much momentum and legwork done on a set of shovel-ready projects, money has a way of magically appearing. That said, we’ll need to fight hard to get more money to build this stuff.

UPDATE, 11/16 at 4:51 pm: The Willamette Week reports that both Mayor Wheeler and Commissioner Fish would have voted yes on the plan.

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

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