Two festivals of bike-themed short films from around the world — one New York show visiting town this Saturday, and one Portland-built lineup opening next month — are ready to ring in the warm season at the Clinton Street Theater.
The Bicycle Film Festival, based in New York City since 2001, is a multi-city touring show playing two bills of 11 short films each on Saturday night at 6:30 pm and 8:30 pm.
The local festival, Filmed by Bike, is also having some early fun this weekend. They're wooing local bikers to join a photo shoot on bicycles with the soccer superfans of the Timbers Army this Sunday at 9:30 am. (They'll be offering free coffee, donuts and beer to participants.)<\/scr"+"ipt>"); //]]>-->
Filmed by Bike, which has been produced in Portland since 2003, is a weekend-long event April 19-22 that this year will include its first feature-length film (at 3 pm on Sunday, April 20) and a night of live storytelling on Monday, April 21.
In all, Filmed by Bike will offer five overlapping programs and several nights of live fun. You can check out clips from the FBB selection in the trailer above.
Admission to the Bicycle Film Festival is $10 for both bills. Admission to Filmed by Bike is $28 for a festival pass, $10 for the screenings and $8 for the Monday night storytelling.<\/scr"+"ipt>"); //]]>-->
(Photo by Spellbound Flowers)
The love of bicycles in this town is so strong that the number and type of bike-related businesses springing up around it never ceases to inspire us. Yes, it's that time again when we've heard of so many new bikey endeavors that we've got to round them all up in one post.
We could do a separate post on each of the businesses below; but for now, check out these brief profiles to get a sense of what each company has to offer...
Cynergy E-Bikes - 3822 SE Powell Blvd (map)
Rich and Ruthellen Fein moved to Portland recently and wasted no time opening up Cynergy E-Bikes, a new bike retailer serving southeast Portland. Rich says he and his wife are empty-nesters who "want to get people out of their cars" and they believe e-bikes can play a major role in making that happen.
Rich told us they chose Portland because we have, "the infrastructure and a strong following for biking that can breed interest in e-biking."
Check out CynergyEbikes.com for more info.<\/scr"+"ipt>"); //]]>-->
Shift Wellness - 8040 NE Sandy Blvd (map)
Shift Wellness is a new acupuncture and massage clinic in northeast Portland that specifically tailors their services to bicycle riders. Owners Tony Wittinger and Abraham Hawkins love cycling and, according to their website, they've made it their priority to "work directly with the cycling community to advocate for cycling and to provide specifically tailored healthcare to the needs of all cyclists."
Learn more or book an appointment online at ShiftWellnessPDX.com.
Spellbound Flowers/The Petal Pusher Pop-Up - 700 SW Broadway (map)
Spellbound Flowers owner Nico Bella has never learned to drive a car she calls herself the only, full-service bicycle-based florist in the country. She has her Christiania Cargo Trike set up in Pioneer Square (corner of Morrison and Broadway) and she also rides it throughout Portland making deliveries and sales all week.
Next time you need some fresh flowers, stop by Nico's trike and she'll put something beautiful together for you.
Learn more at SpellboundFlowers.com.
Rich Fox and Demetri Macrigeanis have teamed up to launch Circa Cycles, Portland's newest bicycle manufacturing company. They say the company — which offers a complete, locally made road bike for under $2,000 — combines the "production efficiency of Ikea the obsessive detail of Apple, and the versatility of Swatch." And it all comes together right here in Portland.
Their flagship is the Mabel frame and fork, an aluminum bike whose name is derived from their "Modular And Bonded Endless Lug micro-manufacturing platform".
Circa has definitely piqued our interest and we plan on meeting Rich and seeing these bikes in person to get the full story. Stay tuned for that, and in the meantime, check out RideCirca.com for more info.
Humans on Bikes
You might have seen Humans on Bikes owner Christopher Delaney in our recent coverage of the National Bike Summit. Christopher isn't just a super-charged bike advocate, he's launched Humans on Bikes to help more people find their way toward becoming confident, everyday bike riders. He's just getting rolling, but after meeting him last week I have a feeling we'll be hearing much more from him in the months and years to come.
You can sign up to learn more about Christopher's services at HumansOnBikes.com.
— Like our local bike business coverage? Browse our business section archives for more stories.<\/scr"+"ipt>"); //]]>-->
Looking to take bicycle tourism to the next level — and to solidify the direct connection between bicycling and economic development — Oregon State Parks wants to create a network of covered bike facilities they say will "redefine the cycling experience." The Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD) call these facilities "bike pods" and "bike hubs" and if all goes according to plan there will eventually be 19 of them throughout the state, with the first one set for construction this summer.
We first reported on the "Bike Pods of Oregon" project a few weeks ago after OPRD submitted a grant application to ODOT's Connect Oregon program. OPRD is hoping to secure $348,000 from the lottery-backed funding program (the pods project will cost a total of $435,000).
According to the application (PDF), there will be two types of facilities: bike pods and bike hubs. Here's how they describe each one:
"The deluxe overnight 'Bike Pods' will be constructed to serve the long distance touring cyclist, while the day use 'Bike Hubs' will be constructed to best serve the needs of the day use cyclist whether for recreation or cycling."
And here's what they'll look like:The "deluxe overnight pod". The "basic overnight pod". The "day use bike hub". <\/scr"+"ipt>"); //]]>-->
And they even thought of food storage:
A map included in OPRD's grant application shows plans for 12 deluxe bike pods and 7 basic bike hubs:Map of bike pods and bike hubs. Note how OPRD will place them on Oregon's premier routes like the Oregon Coast, the Historic Columbia River Highway, the Old West Scenic Bikeway/TransAmerica Trail, the Willamette Valley Scenic Bikeway and the Banks-Vernonia Trail.(Click to enlarge)
The City of Mosier has been a leader in supporting this effort and they appear to be the first city that will receive on the hubs. They've already budgeted for its repair and maintenance in their 2014 budget. A pod at Champoeg State Park is also in advance planning stages.
OPRD says these plans are key to meeting the growing demands of State Parks users who arrive by bicycle. In 2011, an OPRD survey found that 10,221 people used their "hiker-biker" campsites. That number jumped to 11,186 in 2012 and OPRD is preparing for an estimated jump to 20,000 users by 2017.
"This project will cater to the growing number of cycle tourists of various physical abilities in Oregon and bolster local communities' economies via introducing cycle tourists to their towns."
— OPRD grant application
Throughout their application they make a strong case that the rise in bicycle tourism across the state is an important economic engine for both the parks and the communities around them. A recent survey by Travel Oregon showed that bike-related tourism accounts for $400 million of our state's $9 billion tourism industry.
"Additional amenities are essential," says OPRD, "for improving cyclists' experiences on Oregon’s roads and trails and to capture the attention of the 43 million Americans who participate in cycling as a form of recreation or travel... 'Bike Pods of Oregon' provides a critical link to this sustainable sector of Oregon’s economy"
Oregon sees this program as a way to prop up small towns where the economy needs a boost while remaining competitive as a leader in bicycle tourism. From the application: "Recreational Cycling is part of Oregon's growing tourism industry, an opportunity for struggling communities to capitalize on their locations near stunningly beautiful scenery and public lands."
As you can see in the design mockups, the pods and hubs offer services like bike repair stands, water refill stations, electrical outlets, shelter from the elements, maps, food protection and secure gear lockers. The thinking is, if people (and their stuff) are more comfortable, they'll be more likely to stay in a community longer and ultimately will spend more money and be more likely to tour by bike again.
OPRD's application includes letters of support from Thunder Island Brewing Company (in Cascade Locks) the City of Mosier, the Wasco County Board of Commissioners, a Tillamook County Commissioner, ODOT's Historic Columbia River Highway Advisory Committee, and Cycle Oregon.
Stay tuned: We'll let you if they win this grant.<\/scr"+"ipt>"); //]]>-->
(Photo by J. Maus/BikePortland)
(Publisher's Note: We've split this article into two parts because Ray is an authority on this topic and he gets into some important details. Come back tomorrow for the finale. Also worth mentioning is that Ray's firm, Swanson, Thomas, Coon & Newton, is a BikePortland advertiser and this column is part of our partnership. — Jonathan)
Sometimes it's tough to get fair treatment when a collision results in property damage but no personal injury. While it's always better not to have to deal with a physical injury, there is not enough money involved from the contingent fee (1/3) on a property damage case for most lawyers to even justify opening a file, so most riders end up representing themselves. If you are going to go it alone it helps to know the lay of the land before you start. This article contains an overview of the law of property damage and some tips on how to get a fair amount for your damaged ride.
Fortunately, most bicycle collisions do not result in personal injuries. Instead, wheels get bent, helmets scraped and, if the accident is the motorist's fault, a "property damage" claim is made against an insurance company. For bicyclists, property damage claims can be frustrating because they typically have little or no experience in legal matters and find themselves advocating for damages with experienced claims adjusters. Since the amount involved is usually small, the bicyclist ends up appealing to the claims adjuster's sense of fairness. Most claims adjusters are not experienced riders and they are frequently shocked by the costs of bicycle repair and parts.Property Damage Claims - The Basics
- 2 year statue of limitations, or notice required within 180 days if against a public entity;
- Comparative fault reduces damages by the percent attributable for the claimant, up to 51% if the bicyclist is most at fault - no recovery;
- Measure of damages is “Diminution in Value” – the difference in value before and after the collision;
- Get a written damage estimate on a form with the bike shop letterhead;
- Don't forget to save all damaged property and include all losses in your claim; and
- If you are injured you can still obtain a property damage settlement and present your injury claim after you fully recover.
II. Comparative Fault
Since property damages are not recoverable unless the motorist is more than 50 percent at fault, Oregon's law requires a potential defendant pay their percentage of fault only if it is greater than the bicyclist. This means that if the bicyclist is 51 percent at fault and a motorist is 49 percent at fault, the motorist completely escapes financial responsibility. But if for example the motorist is 80% at fault, and the bike rider is 20% at fault, the motorist must pay 80% of the damage under Oregon's “Comparative Fault” law. This means that bicycle riders need to be prepared to show the legal basis for their damage claim, and adjust their damages down by their own percent of contribution to the wreck.
Typical shared fault scenarios include collisions that result from multiple factors, like when a rider fails to exercise “due care” after a motorist makes a driving mistake, such as when a rider panics and crashes after being cut off by a motorist when if the rider had done nothing there would have been no contact or impact.<\/scr"+"ipt>"); //]]>-->
Since the claims adjuster's job is to pay as little as possible on a claim, any fault arguably attributable to the bicyclist will be pointed out as a reason to reduce the amount paid. It is essential during these discussions that a bicyclist know the basic Rules of the Road. If possible, be prepared to cite actual Oregon Revised Statute (ORS) numbers.
III. Diminution in Value - The Law of Property Damage
The law relating to property damage claims is technical. Many people believe that they should receive the amount of money they will need to replace their damaged property. Unfortunately, that is not the law. Instead, the bicyclist is entitled to the amount of money equal to the difference between the fair market value of the property immediately before, and immediately after, the occurrence. This is called the “diminution in property value”. Bicycles depreciate rapidly and often the market value of a used bicycle is considerably less than its original purchase price. In order to establish market value, it is best to take your bicycle to a bike shop and get the following estimates:
- Value of the bicycle in the condition it was in immediately before the accident. In other words, the appraisal should be of the same year and model as your bicycle in the same condition. Most bike shops only sell new bikes. If you are having trouble, call around and find the name of a bike shop that sells used bicycles or will help you with your brand.
- Cost of repair of the bicycle. Do this even if you are certain the bicycle is beyond repair.
- Value of the bicycle in the condition it was in immediately after the accident. This amount is usually very low; what market value is there for a bent bike? The claims adjuster will almost certainly call the shop to verify your figures. If your bike is "totaled" the adjuster will want to pay the value of your bicycle before the accident minus its salvage value.
Frequently, bicycles have little or no salvage value. If you have a particular attachment to some of the components, such as that Terry saddle or that wonderful old Campagnolo crankset, let the adjuster know and they will frequently be willing to let you have these parts. It has been my experience that the adjuster will usually recognize that a bike has no salvage value and allow you to keep the damaged bike if it is indeed totaled. On the other hand, if the bicycle can be fixed, it is up to you whether you want to fix the bike or not. You are not entitled to receive more money because your bicycle had a particularly high sentimental value. However, if your bicycle was a rare bicycle, and had an unusually high monetary value, you are entitled to receive that greater value if it is damaged or destroyed.
Remember, the diminution in value of the bicycle may be much less than it would actually take to fix the bike. The law states that the person responsible for the damage need only pay the loss in value, not the cost of repair.
IV. The Statute of Limitations
The Oregon statute of limitations for property damage claims caused by negligence is two years unless the defendant is an agent for a public entity, in which case written notice of a claim must be provided to the appropriate authority within 180 days after the accident. In serious injury cases, it can be a year or more before the person has recovered enough to know what if any permanent physical impairments may have resulted; however, property damage claims can be resolved immediately after the collision. There is no tactical reason to wait to resolve the property damage claim, and if a bicyclist also suffered physical injuries any release of claims signed by the rider can be limited to property damage only so that the personal injuries may be pursued at a later time within the statute of limitations.
— Come back tomorrow for part two.<\/scr"+"ipt>"); //]]>-->
Spring is coming and what better time to jump into Portland's exciting and vibrant bike scene! If you're looking for a new opportunity, check out the latest opportunities posted to our Job Listings via the links below...
- Bike Shop Employment - Bike N Hike
- Development Coordinator - Community Cycling Center
- Morning Mechanic - Go By Bike
— This week's Monday Roundup is sponsored by ABUS Security, makers of locks that can "thwart even the cleverest of thieves."
Here are the bike links from around the world that caught our eyes this week:
Toddling to the finish: You too can now enter your 2-year-old in a bicycle race series put on by "the world's leading manufacturer and marketer of children’s no-pedal balance bikes."
Rails-to-trails demise? USA Today reports that a decision last week by the Supreme Court could reportedly threaten progress on rails-to-trails projects. However, the folks at the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy paint a more nuanced picture about what exactly the impacts might be.
Beer, the new Gatorade? Sports drinks are "full of carbs, sodium and all sorts of nutrients to keep our bodies hydrated and energized during and after exercise. And beer may be able to do that, too — if formulated the right way." A Canadian company is about to bring a product to market.
Electrify bike sharing: A "portable electric motor drive for bike share programs that also works on your own bike or scooter." Whroom!
Biking and walking: Should bikes really be banned from "pedestrianized" sites? A study of 21 sites across Europe found exactly one biker-pedestrian collision in 15 years.
The Ethicist on driving: Longtime NYT Magazine writer Randy Cohen examines the ethics of driving cars in cities and finds it problematic.
Bike-seat art: A Vancouver BC artist created some amazing bike seat taxidermy sculptures:
Bike-fun crackdown: Los Angeles police threatened to shut down the largest unsanctioned bike ride in the country, early in the morning before the L.A. Marathon, for lack of permits. (Thanks to reader Joseph E for noting that LAPD backed down somewhat in time for Sunday's run.)
Fewer lanes, less delay: Though traffic studies typically predict some auto delay when bike lanes replace general travel lanes, human psychology means the opposite sometimes happens.
Bridge trouble: If this unused trolley bridge over the Clackamas River near High Rocks is about to collapse, maybe it opens the door to a bikeable replacment?<\/scr"+"ipt>"); //]]>-->
Gravel lawsuit: Contractors who allegedly left loose gravel on a Malibu roadway are now on the hook for $15 million to a man whose bike crash there paralyzed him.
Cargo bike rental: Amtrak Cascades doesn't currently accept cargo bikes on board, so Seattle biking mom Madi Carlson rented from Clever Cycles for her latest trip to Portland. Here's her travel diary.
Passing distance: Virginia now has a three-foot passing law.
Commuter site: OHSU has a new bike transportation website.
Road funding: Following Oregon's lead, Washington is weighing a statewide mileage tax.
Short commutes: When you make a map of average American commute durations, lots of cities are ringed by dark blobs of awful. Not ours.
Southern biking: Atlantic Cities looks at an underappreciated bike safety issue: the Mason-Dixon Line.
Biking in cities: A reporter takes a world urban biking tour for Gizmodo and summarizes the results. Her take on Paris was especially interesting.
Bike accessory: Your old pizza cutter doesn't resemble a bicycle nearly as much as it should:
Federal budget: President Obama's new transportation budget proposes big increases in public transit funding and the bike-transportation-friendly TIGER program. Hey, it's a starting point.
"A bike path to progress": The NYT looks at the Indy Cultural Trail, a project funded by TIGER and private philanthropy that which seems to have singlehandedly created a "mainstream bike scene" in Indianapolis.
Former Bogota Mayor Enrique Penalosa, who popularized the ciclovia and pushed the principle that cities can be good for cars or for people, but not for both, will run for president of Colombia on the Green Party ticket. His TED Talk from last year about transportation justice is your video of the week:
(Photo by J. Maus/BikePortland)
It's real this time folks. It's over. ODOT has just announced they will "shut down" the Columbia River Crossing Project once and for all. Here's the full statement just released by ODOT Director Matt Garrett:
"On March 7, the Oregon Legislature adjourned without reinstating construction funds for the CRC I-5 Bridge Replacement project. As identified in Governor Kitzhaber’s January 27, 2014 letter to legislative leadership, the project will begin the process of orderly archival and closeout. We have the fiduciary responsibility to close out the project in a systematic, retrievable manner in order to adequately preserve a decade of research, environmental reviews, community involvement, and detailed engineering work for potential future use. We will archive work products according to Oregon record retention requirements.
Expenditures will be reduced immediately; further design and deliverable development will not occur. The project will shut down completely by May 31, 2014.
Conclude Staff and Agency Agreements
ODOT, WSDOT and TriMet will begin demobilizing agency staff. Each agency will be responsible for necessary personnel actions.
We will issue stop work orders on consultant contracts on or before March 15, 2014, including instructions to record the current status of the work product and contract amendments to archive work products and conduct contract closeout. We will release consultant staff once they have archived and catalogued their work products.<\/scr"+"ipt>"); //]]>-->
In addition, the project has intergovernmental agreements in place with agencies such as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Multnomah County Drainage District. We will close out these agreements this month with formal stop work orders.
Archive and Catalogue Work Products
We will archive and catalogue all work products, past deliverables, and permit documentation in their current state. The following types of work products exist:
Environmental documentation required by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), including the Draft and Final Environmental Impact Statement(s), the federal Record of Decision and required re-evaluations.
Financial analysis, including extensive documentation required by the Federal Transit Administration’s New Starts program, a transit operations and maintenance agreement, the investment grade analysis, and work products related to application for a federal TIFIA loan.
Recent cost estimates for elements of the Oregon-led project and the project’s history of risk-based cost estimating.
Geotechnical research and reports that have been informed by the drilled shaft and driven test pile program.
The bodies of work that led to receipt of the U.S. Coast Guard General Bridge Permit and Section 401 water quality certification in Oregon and
Washington. Work efforts required as part of the Section 404 flood and wetland and 408 navigation and levee impact permits from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers were underway and will be archived. Other permitting plans and work products will be catalogued.
Draft design build procurement document for the River Crossing Bridges and Approaches
Documentation and summary of the robust public involvement program, including comments, advisory group activities, outreach presentations and public information materials.
Work efforts to support right of way plans and utility relocations. Development drafts of procurement documents, including those intended to guide construction of the Columbia River bridges.
The project occupies one floor of the Vancouver Center building. The lease is on a month-to-month basis, so there is no penalty for early termination. ODOT facilities will coordinate the retention of computers, phones, and furniture; ODOT fleet services will coordinate vehicle disposition."
Four years after one of its bus drivers fatally collided with two women in a downtown Portland crosswalk, TriMet is testing a few devices that use sounds and lights to show when a bus is turning.
One uses flashing LED strobe lights and the announcement "pedestrians, bus is turning," repeated twice by the voice of a slightly alarmed woman. Another uses only a softer audio warning: "caution, bus is turning" three times. They started operating on 45 buses on five of TriMet's frequent service lines on Monday: the 4, 8, 15, 33 and 75.
The folks at Oregon Public Broadcasting uploaded each file to Soundcloud for easy testing over the web. Here's the first one, which isn't being tested with LED accompaniment:
And you can hear the second sound at the start of this OPB radio spot:<\/scr"+"ipt>"); //]]>-->
In addition to the audio devices, TriMet is testing a third light-only device on some buses: one that uses the bus's speed and steering wheel angle to automatically turn on "additional super bright LED lights inside the headlight pointed in the direction of travel."
There's also a static bus warning sign on Southwest 5th Avenue at Burnside: the word "BUS," above the walk/don't walk signal, which lights up when a bus is approaching.
Bus turns, especially left turns, are often difficult for other road users to anticipate, because the vehicles don't begin to swing quickly around until partway through their turns. That's why the regional transit agency's new devices are triggered, in whole or in part, by the angle of the steering wheel.
Because the devices are calibrated to capture intersection turns only, it's unlikely that the buses will make their announcements during lane changes — pulling across a bike lane for a stop, for example.
An earlier test of similar systems, in 2011, failed because the systems were either too sensitive to the turning wheels or not sensitive enough. You can read about the whole program in more detail on TriMet's website.<\/scr"+"ipt>"); //]]>-->
(Photo by Team Lazy Tarantulas)
Looking to improve the quality of bicycle access on a controversial and deadly stretch of SW Barbur Boulevard, the Oregon Department of Transportation will turn on four new "bicycle warning beacons" next week (they were first proposed last spring). ODOT says the new flashing signs will be the first of their type ever used in Oregon.
The signs will be placed at each end of the Newbury Street and Vermont Street bridges and will activate automatically as people on bicycles roll past sensors embedded in the pavement. ODOT is pouring $5 million into rehabilitating these two bridges and these bicycle signs are the result of public input on that project. ODOT's Public Information Officer Don Hamilton says the four signs cost the agency $180,000.
When ODOT first announced the bridge project, concerned users of SW Barbur Blvd implored them to use the opportunity to put the large arterial on a "road diet" and add a dedicated bikeway. Barbur, a potentially perfect bicycling connection between southwest and downtown Portland, currently has just a standard bike lane that abruptly drops at the two bridges, placing bicycle riders directly in a lane shared with fast-moving traffic.<\/scr"+"ipt>"); //]]>-->
Despite pressure from citizen activists and advocacy groups — including the Bicycle Transportation Alliance — ODOT and Portland Bureau of Transportation Commissioner Steve Novick have opted to delay any major changes on Barbur for now.
While a major re-design of Barbur isn't on the table, ODOT says these signs will increase safety. Here's more from them via a statement they'll send out later today:
When the beacons are activated, motorists will be alerted to bicyclists on the bridges and can then make appropriate driving decisions, such as slowing down or changing lanes. Cyclists will still need to use caution and watch for a gap in traffic before safely moving into the traffic lane.
Here are the features:
• The signs increase awareness by drawing the attention of motorists to bicyclists in the right lane.
• No stopping is required. The signs are activated by an automatic sensor.
• The signs will be located prior to the bridges in each direction.
We'll see how the signs perform once they're up and running. If you ride on Barbur, please drop us a line and tell us how the signs change your experience.
— Browse our past coverage of SW Barbur Blvd here.<\/scr"+"ipt>"); //]]>-->
(Photo by J.Maus/BikePortland)
As we all know, it can sometimes be easy to forget how great Oregon is.
This morning, after returning to Oregon from the National Bike Summit (which I was attending for my other gig as Jonathan was covering for BikePortland) I saw a little reminder pop up in my standing Twitter search for bike-related tweets in Portland.
Below is the exchange, between two people who I don't know (and both of whom, I'm sure, will be responsible and well-informed drivers once they're both on the road).
Oregon state drivers test is no joke #IFailed
— jBe (@JBeRoe) March 7, 2014
@JBeRoe I'm sorry! You'll get it next time.
— melissa (@melissa_nadine) March 7, 2014
@melissa_nadine all these dang bike laws! I'm clueless! :)
— jBe (@JBeRoe) March 7, 2014<\/scr"+"ipt>"); //]]>-->
How progressive is Oregon's Department of Motor Vehicles when it comes to driving tests? Last fall, I got a tip that the agency had changed its rules so that failing to check a right-hand mirror for bikes on any right turn across a bike lane would now dock you points on a road test. I called the DMV to check this out. Their spokesman's response (paraphrased): What are you talking about, man? We've been doing that for years and years.
Oregon driving laws could be more bike-friendly, of course. For example, there's no instructional requirement for people over 18. And unlike in, for example, Tennessee, driver's ed classes don't include any experience riding a bicycle. But it looks like they did exactly what they were supposed to. I'm looking forward to sharing our roads with JBeRoe once she passes.<\/scr"+"ipt>"); //]]>-->
(Photo by J. Maus/BikePortland)
Welcome to the Weekend Event Guide. As per usual, we've combed our inbox and the Internet to find the best bike rides and events coming your way this weekend.
As you can see by the big rides happening, spring is just around the corner and it's time to get out there and dust off the winter cobwebs. Speaking of which, if your bike isn't quite ready for prime-time, Citybike's free Open Shop night is this Sunday.
Whatever you end up doing, we hope bikes are a part of your weekend. We've been in Washington D.C. all week but we hear it's been pretty wet around these parts. Unfortunately the forecast calls for more rain, so hopefully some windows of dryness open up.Friday, March 7th
Block Bikes First Anniversary Sale and Birthday Celebration - 10:00 am at Block Bikes (7238 N Burlington Ave in St. Johns)
Head up to St. Johns to help Block Bikes co-owner Ben Helgren celebrate his birthday and the 1st anniversary of his shop. Along with special deals on products and bikes, there will also be cake. The sale (and hopefully the cake) last all weekend. More info here (FB).
Reach the Beach Training Ride - 8:30 am at Sellwood Riverfront Park (SE Oaks Parks Way)
Join ride leaders from the Portland Wheelmen Touring Club for this beautiful loop ride from Sellwood down to Oregon City and back. There are 35 and 50-mile options. If you're riding Reach the Beach in mid-May, you'll meet other folks working toward the same goal. More info here.
Three Speed Ride - 11:00 am at Woodlawn Park (6854 NE Claremont Ave - meet under the bridge)Bring it.
(Photo: Society of Three Speeds)
The Society of Three Speeds is leading their first ride of 2014. While vintage 3-speeds are encourages — and all existing members of the Society will have one — you're welcome to show up on any type of bike. If you're not a member yet, you can sign up at the ride. The route is a relatively flat 12 miles and will be led by an expert guide. For clothing tips (vintage attire and nice clothes are the order of the day) and more information, check out the Society's website.
Dalles Mountain 60 - 10:00 am at Holstein’s Coffee Co. in The Dalles (811 E 3rd St)
If you missed the Salem Gravel Grinder last month, you don't want to miss The Dalles Mtn 60. Organized by VeloDirt, this informal, unsanctioned ride is a local classic that will likely see a few hundred participants. This is billed as a "Friendly introduction to gravel riding." Check out the route, cue sheet, and get your questions answered in the comments on the VeloDirt blog.Sunday, March 9th
Dirty Circles Road Race - All day in Woodland, WA
This is the second of a three race series intended, in the words of its organizers, "as a relaxed early season race designed to give everyone a way to spark the fires for a successful road season." More info here (PDF).
Monogamous Sects Ride - 5:00 pm at Laurelhurst Park (3701 SE Oak St.)
The nice volunteers from Bike Temple will lead another one of their super-interesting explorations of local churches and religions. This month's ride will stop into a service at the Portland Atheist Church to answer the question, "What is a church service like without a God-theme?" This ride welcomes everyone. More info here.
Open Shop Night at Citybikes - 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm at Citybikes Annex (SE 8th and Ankeny)
The free Open Shop event at Citybikes is a great place to learn how to work on your own bike. The shop has taught Portlanders how to be self-reliant for decades and trained mechanics will be on hand to answer questions and assist you (but they won't pick up the tools, that's how you learn!). If you're not a newbie, you can also show up just to use their work bench. More info here.
Did we miss anything? Please drop us a line and let us know. Or feel free to promote your event in the comments below. And as always, thanks for reading and riding.<\/scr"+"ipt>"); //]]>-->
(Photo by J. Maus/BikePortland)
The "De Ronde PDX" and its companion ride the "La Doyenne" will once again test your fitness and your sanity with a grueling two-ride weekend that promises over 15,000 feet of climbing.
Organizers of the unsanctioned, unpermitted rides have just announced the dates as April 5th and 6th. That gives you about one month to get your legs and lungs ready for the challenge.
The "De Ronde" is the original ride. It weaves 54 miles through Portland's West Hills and offers over 7,200 feet of climbing, including some of the steepest pitches in the county. Some of the grades are so steep that some riders simply fall over and many others are forced to dismount and walk. Last year, organizers hatched a plan to offer even more free suffering with "La Doyenne." That route offers similar statistics and takes riders on a loop in Happy Valley (southwest of Gresham).
Since its first edition in 2007, the De Ronde has become a cult classic with hundreds of riders following a route marked by yellow stencils of the Lion of Flanders.
We've covered the event extensively here on BikePortland over the years. For a glimpse of what it's like, see our past stories and photos. OPB has also did a great story a few years back that's worth checking out.
— Check the route and more details at RondePDX.com.<\/scr"+"ipt>"); //]]>-->
in the lobby of this year's Summit.
(Photo by J. Maus/BikePortland)
—BikePortland's coverage from Washington D.C. is made possible by Planet Bike.
Each year as I fly home from the National Bike Summit I think back to what trends and topics left the biggest impression. There are so many threads weaving through the bike movement right now that it's hard to pick out just a few. That being said, below are my key takeaways from this year's Summit...Time to change the bike-centric lens
People who love bicycles — especially those who advocate on their behalf for a living — tend to be a passionate lot. Because of that, every problem is approached with bicycling as the default cure. Bikes are such a potent force that surely, once everyone avails themselves to their power, they'll adore them just as much as we do.
Unfortunately, that approach often backfires.
"If you want more women to bike, don't put bikes at the center of your analysis; put women at the center of your analysis."
— Terry O'Neill, National Organization for Women
As bicycling has begun to move beyond the usual suspects in America, advocacy groups and project planners are finding out — sometimes the hard way — that not everyone sees bicycling as the cure-all. This isn't to say that the case for bicycling isn't strong. It's a wonder-drug if there ever was one. But there's seems to be a growing awareness that cycling might make more gains if the argument was "re-centered." Terry O'Neill, the president of the National Organization for Women had one of the most repeated quotes of the summit when she said (and I paraphrase), "If you want more women to bike, don't put bikes at the center of your analysis; put women at the center of your analysis."
O'Neill is talking about a subtle, yet important shift in perspective. Here's what I think she means:
It's the difference between a bike company offering a line of "women's bikes" that are just pink and small versions of the men's bikes, versus actually asking women what they want. Or, it might be the difference between entering a neighborhood with a "bike project" to cure street ailments, versus starting an honest conversation about how the street is used, what its users think needs fixing, and what tools should be used to do the work.
Put another way, instead of seeing a problem — like an unsafe road (where a new bikeway might help) or a social/community issue (like a lack of bicycling in hard-to-reach communities) — and instantly putting forward biking as the savior; go into the process with biking in your back pocket. Then, listen to the perspectives and issues of other people around the table and ask them if they think bicycling could be part of the solution. If they do, you'll have arrived at that destination in a much more collaborative way and the next steps will be much more fruitful. If they don't, then you can learn their concerns and hopefully work through them together. Either outcome will lead to more productive and peaceful results.<\/scr"+"ipt>"); //]]>-->
--> Statistics are out, stories are in
"If you have to explain something, you've already lost." I don't recall who said that at the Summit, but they were talking about the limitations of statistics in making the case for cycling. Instead, storytelling is often more effective. From videos to photos to hashtags spread across many different mediums, advocates are realizing that stories can have more impact than statistics. The Summit agenda reflected the rise in storytelling with sessions titled, "The Power of Storytelling," "Streetfilms U," and "Video Advocacy."(Photo by Dmitry Gudkov taken from slide
presentation by Aaron Naparstek)
And we learned about many real-life examples..
When advocates in New York City were faced with the most powerful bikelash in American history (a congressman and a network news anchor teamed up to fight a bikeway in Prospect Park), they fought back. Their main weapon didn't include an angry defense of cycling or stats and studies proving the merits of the bikeway. Instead, the turned to photographs. They enlisted a photographer (in this case Dmitry Gudkov) who published a series of portraits of normal, everyday people using the bikeway. While the opposition tried to paint users of the bikeway as eccentric hippies, and even terrorists (seriously), these images proved otherwise.
Another example came from the Boston Cyclists Union. They were very concerned that bikeways weren't being prioritized following a snowstorm. The response from MassDOT was that no one bikes in winter anyways, so why plow them? To prove them wrong, advocates simply started posting photos to social media along with the hashtag #winterbike. The campaign worked.
The rise of storytelling is likely linked to the growing power of social media where it's much easier to get something visual to go viral. It might also be due to the maturation of advocates who are starting to see the limits of statistical brow-beating. And ask yourself what stoked your first love of cycling — I bet it had nothing to do with numbers or charts.At the table, not on the menu*
For the last few years, the League has assured Summit attendees that the bike movement was a force to be reckoned with. But given the bruises to biking in the last transportation bill and the lack of any major policy victories, those assurances seem more like empty pep rally cheers rather than a reflection of reality. Now, as Congress works on the next transportation bill, it finally feels like bicycling is going to get its seat at the grown-ups' table.
I could be wrong on this, but my hunch is based on several things…Rep. Greg Walden shakes hands with Cycle Oregon
Executive Director, and consummate advocacy
professional, Alison Graves.
(Photo by J. Maus/BikePortland)
Advocates have, frankly, gotten their shit together. Karen Brooks, the former editor of Bicycle Times Magazine, told me she remembers being at past Summits where advocates had to be reminded several times to dress nicely on the Lobby Day. "No spandex!" someone from the League would implore. Today, there's no spandex to be seen anywhere. America's bike advocates are looking sharp and they're ready for business. The League deserves all the credit for this. In hosting the Summit for so many years, they've created an army of well-dressed, well-prepared, and well-spoken lobbyists who are slowly but surely making an impression on Congress.
When I asked League President Andy Clarke what stood out to him after yesterday's lobbying efforts, he said more members of Congress than usual wanted to be present in the meetings. With dozens of lobbying meetings every week, lobby groups usually meet with a legislative aide, not the actual member. If these busy and powerful electeds are starting to deem bike groups worthy of face-time, that's a very positive sign.
Another example came from opinion researcher Douglas Meyers. He conducted dozens of confidential interviews with mayors to find out what they really think of bicycling in cities. "The extent of acceptance of this concept really bowled us over," Meyer reported. What's behind this embrace of cycling? A lot of factors; but economic development and cities trying to attract millennials has a lot to do with it. The widespread adoption of bike share systems in many major cities — and the rise in trips and biking awareness that always follows — could be another factor.
*Taken from quote by Rep. Earl Blumenauer.
These are just a few of my takeaways from the Summit. There are definitely others that deserve to be mentioned (I'll share more about the burgeoning equity movement in a separate post); but I'll leave it at that for now. Were you at the Summit? What major themes stood out for you?
— Hope you've enjoyed coverage from D.C. You can browse the rest of it here.Official sponsor of our 2014 National Bike Summit coverage.
As Portland wraps up its first major study of its unusual "yield to bikes" LED sign on Northeast Couch Street at Grand Avenue, a TriMet bus video of a recent collision at the intersection shows that the longstanding right-hook problem at the corner isn't solved yet.
Lane Werner, a nursing student at Linfield College's Northwest Portland campus who said he's chosen not to own a car, has been kept off his bike for three months after the work van in the video above turned in front of him at the light as he was overtaking it. The slow-motion collision was captured by a bus that was immediately behind.
The event happened at 9:30 a.m. on Dec. 4. Werner, who had the right of way in this situation because he was going straight and the van was turning, was knocked off his bicycle, which was crushed, and remains in physical therapy for both upper and lower back injuries related to his impact on the pavement.
Werner said the driver of the van has been cooperative, though he's still waiting for results from an insurance investigation. He said the police officer, Mike Cox, didn't file a police report, but seemed to give the incident more attention after watching the bus's video.
"Before they saw the video, it didn't seem like they were taking it very seriously," Werner said. "They thought I just ran into the side of his car while he was turning. And once the police officer came back with the video, he was like, 'Woah!'"
Werner said the van's driver had been parked in the bike box rather than behind the white line where motor vehicles are intended to park. Here's Werner's account of the crash from his perspective, recounted in an interview last week:
It was a perfectly clear, sunny, dry day. I was just pulling up. I noticed that the guy was moving a little bit. At that point, I'm like, OK, carelessness. I'm banging on the side of his car, trying to look in.<\/scr"+"ipt>"); //]]>-->
But as the van kept turning, its driver apparently unaware of Werner, Werner fell onto the curb beside the road. His foot was trapped beneath his bicycle, he said, though it wasn't itself crushed when the van rolled over the bike.
In addition to the LED sign, which the city added after a series of right hooks on the downhill-sloping one-way street, the corner has a green bike box.
Things do seem to have gotten better at the corner since 2010, when someone stenciled "right hook lane" onto the pavement. (The indie traffic marking is no longer visible.) But it's an example of an intersection where a bike lane can actually make a corner more dangerous, because it makes it so easy for bikes to overtake cars on their right.The flashing LED sign at this corner, which has the same brightness as the traffic lights themselves, is in the upper right.
(Photo by J.Maus/BikePortland)
A 2012 city study of green bike boxes around Portland found that in several cases they've tended to increase crash rates, perhaps because they give people on bikes too strong a sense of security in their right of way. The box on Couch at Grand wasn't included in that study.
It's not clear from the video whether the bike-detector-activated LED sign at this corner, added in late 2011, was operating when Werner was hit.
"The flashing light definitely makes things salient," Werner said. "Whether people are conscious of it, I don't know."
In an email last week, city traffic-signal engineer Peter Koonce wrote that the city is about to wrap up a statistical study of whether the LED sign seems to reduce risk at the intersection.
"There is some data at the location and we are nearly complete with a conflict study (before and after) assessing whether the sign reduces conflicts," Koonce said.
It's not clear yet what the city's options might be at the corner. Werner said he wants to spread awareness of the right-hook issue.
"I would just like to feel like I was able to ride to school like I used to," he said.<\/scr"+"ipt>"); //]]>-->
In the end, the decision wasn’t mine to make.
The question: would I give up a major component of my lifestyle in order to advance my career? My employer was asking me to take a long-term assignment 13 miles away, in Vancouver, Wash.
I know myself. I absolutely cannot expect that I could continue biking to work at that distance.
I have lived in close proximity to my job for the majority of my professional life. The express purpose was freedom — freedom from dependence upon a car. I bought my first home in a close-in neighborhood (ironically, the urban location ensured a low price then — that was the 90s!). Since then, I have always been in a close-in location that affords the privilege of auto-independence.
Over the years, I slowly built up endurance and all-weather gear to make biking to work an enjoyable ritual, like reading the paper in the morning. It was an expectation, the simplest and most convenient way to get to work. And it was important. Over the course of 20 years and 6 employers, the accompanying bike commute had the final say in who I would work for and where.
Working in a client’s office in Vancouver makes business sense for my employer. I will make more money for the firm. But nobody thought to ask me if I owned a car. Compensation was not offered for the extra time and expense of driving to another state every day. There was no talk of how I would maintain my health and keep in shape when my only form of exercise disappears from my daily routine.
Businesses aren't typically founded on employee lifestyle, health and convenience. And idealism doesn't put food on the table.
Like the big-city stereotype of cut-throat competition, today’s business model assumes that employees will do whatever it takes to earn more money, build more prestige and climb higher on the professional ladder. They assume we live the accompanying middle-class, suburban, auto-centric lifestyle. But I don’t like to drive, let alone cut throats and climb ladders.<\/scr"+"ipt>"); //]]>-->
I value my time and how I spend it, maybe even more than my money. I bet there are a lot of folks here who think the same way. A look at the numbers, however, shows that more people don’t. About 80 percent of metro area commutes take place in cars. Indeed, the majority of the Portland Metro population live in a neighborhood where biking into the urban center is difficult to say the least. Those rare few who pedal 30+ miles a day must have iron butts and a will of steel. They are definitely the dedicated elite. I admit, I don’t have what it takes to be one of them.
My dilemma was eating me up. Ideally, careers improve with time, and my Vancouver opportunity was a stepping stone in the right direction. But how much was I willing to give up now for the promise of a rosier future? If I sacrifice this pillar in my moral structure, who’s to say the roof won’t cave in as I sink deeper and deeper into a materialistic pit, swimming in money while gasping for air?
"I accept my new label: "car commuter" (Oh, the shame!) I have gone over to the dark side."
Perhaps this pebble is just the first in what could turn into a landslide of sacrifices, eroding the hard-fought lifestyle gains of flexibility, stress-reduction and being true to convictions. Would I start traveling too much, seeing less of my family, working 60+ hours a week? In other words, killing myself slowly?
I have successfully avoided being a slave to my job so far. With this new proposition, I was grappling with how I could best serve my family, my employer and myself, in both the short and long-term. Not being a hypocrite would be a welcome bonus! As it turned out, all of the mental gyrations were for naught. I was told I could take the assignment or risk a vague, unnamed negative consequence.
Notwithstanding the decision to go to Vancouver, I still believe that lifestyle counts as much as salary. I vow to find a creative work arrangement that honors my core values. The burden of dragging a car around, the cost of gas, the time spent sitting still – somehow I will counterbalance these factors. I’ll let you know what I come up with! I am sure there are lots of readers with great ideas willing to offer advice.
So, at the risk of losing a job I love, I will trade in my hot pink pedaling rain boots for high heels on the accelerator. I accept my new label: "car commuter" (Oh, the shame!) I have gone over to the dark side. Will my pride be able to stand the transformation? How about my thighs?
—Read Cathy's earlier columns here.<\/scr"+"ipt>"); //]]>-->
(Photos by J. Maus/BikePortland)
—BikePortland's coverage from Washington D.C. is made possible by Planet Bike.
Oregon advocates might have the easiest job of any of the state delegations here at the National Bike Summit. No matter which of the seven offices they entered during the annual bike lobby day on Capitol Hill, they were greeted with smiles and support.
inspired version of the ubiquitous bike pin.
But even so, that doesn't mean that the 20 or so advocates took it easy or let their guard down. On the contrary, they lobbied like true pros. In fact, one main reason Oregon's congressional representatives are so friendly to cycling is because of the quality of our advocates. This was on display from the first meeting to the last.
The Oregon advocacy team was well-prepared and delivered a persuasive barrage of statistics, poignant personal stories, and examples of successes earned and challenges that remain. Economic development was a big theme; but beyond impressive dollar figures, stories were shared about how bicycling is vital to combating Oregon's childhood obesity crisis and about the importance of signature projects like the Salmonberry Corridor and the completion of the Historic Columbia River Highway.
To illustrate the importance of projects like the Salmonberry, advocate Stephanie Routh told House Representative Suzanne Bonamici (D-1st) how her grandfather's Tillamook County timber business was decimated years ago and how a new trail could help revitalize forest towns (a topic she shared more about with us back in December).<\/scr"+"ipt>"); //]]>-->
The big surprise of the day came during a meeting with Greg Walden, the sole Republican in Oregon's Congressional delegation. Before anyone could even sit down in his office, he asked eagerly, "What's the route for Cycle Oregon this year?" Turns out he and his wife did a bike-and-barge trip on e-bikes along the coastline of Croatia this past year. Rep. Walden loved it and couldn't stop singing the praises of bike touring and e-bikes the entire meeting.
Check out more photos below from Oregon's bike lobbying day on Capitol Hill:Randy Miller (left) and Rob Sadowsky strolling the halls of the Cannon House Office Building. Rapha Communications Director Chris Distefano wanted to tell Rep. Bonamici about how his company has brought jobs to her district. Miller and Sadowsky in the meeting Rep. Bonamici. Jeanette Kloos and Steph Routh. Rep. Bonamici shaking hands with Portland resident (and BikePortland Podcast producer) Lilian Karabaic. Around the table in Rep. Walden's office. Rep. Walden looking over materials about cycling in Oregon. Alison Graves (Cycle Oregon), Mychal Tetteh (Community Cycling Center) and Christopher Delaney (Humans on Bikes) discussing strategy outside Sen. Merkley's office. Pre-meeting hall traffic outside Sen. Merkley's office. Washington County Commissioner Dick Schouten shared stories about impending development at Intel and Nike and how company leaders want more employees to commute by bike. Brian Potwin and Christopher Delaney. It was Delaney's first-ever time on the Hill. "I love it!" he told me, "This [advocate for something he loves] is what I want to do with my life!" Community Cycling Center CEO Mychal Tetteh did a stellar job leading the Merkley meeting. Sen. Merkley has that powerful combination of genuine warmth and sharp intelligence.
— Hope you are enjoying my coverage from D.C. See the rest of it here.
(Photo by J. Maus/BikePortland)
The new executive director of Portland Streetcar Inc (PSI) is a familiar face and name for many regular BikePortland readers. Dan Bower, formerly the head of PBOT's Active Transportation Division, will be PSI's first full time executive director according to a statement made by the non-profit today.
Bower will take over for the outgoing leader of PSI, Rick Gustafson, who announced his retirement yesterday. PSI has operated Portland's streetcar system since 1995.<\/scr"+"ipt>"); //]]>-->
While at PBOT, Bower was the key staffer behind many of the agency's largest bicycle initiatives. His many responsibilities included Sunday Parkways planning and a project that will invest over $6 million to update and improve bike access in downtown Portland. Notably, Bower was the point-person for developing Portland's plans for bike share. From securing the funding to negotiating the operations contract with Alta Bicycle Share — Bower was the man pulling the strings. It's unclear to us at this point how/if his absence might impact bike share and whether or not the tumultuous project played into on his decision to leave PBOT. Just yesterday, we reported that Portland's bike share plans are likely to be delayed once again and the system isn't expected to be launched until 2015.
Bower, who has been at PBOT for 11 years, was a central figure within PBOT's Active Transportation Division and his absence — and the relationships and institutional knowledge that goes along with it — will leave a big hole at the agency.
One possible silver lining is that Bower might be the just the right person to help PSI finally address the safety issues their tracks cause to bicycle routes all over town. Bower is a daily bike rider himself, which means it's highly probable he's crashed on the tracks he'll know have the control to improve.
Here's what Bower will be doing in his new role, according to an official description of the position:
The Executive Director reports to the Board of Directors and will be responsible for leading and managing PSI's development and operations. This seasoned professional will be instrumental in employing a "Customer First" approach to managing PSI while demonstrating the capabilities to oversee finance, operation, board development/engagement, and importantly, the key regional partnerships that include TriMet and the City of Portland. This is an excellent opportunity for an experienced transit and/or not-for-profit leader/administrator to use excellend relationship building skills to work closely and creatively with diverse stakeholders.<\/scr"+"ipt>"); //]]>-->
Transportation trivia night packed the Radio Room last spring.
(Photo: Mary Nichols)
Two years ago, Portland's biking-for-everyone advocacy group/bike shop decided to try a new kind of fundraiser: a transportation-themed bar trivia night at the nearby Radio Room pub.
Price: $10 per player, including a pint of Hopworks beer.
It turned out to be a pretty good idea. By the second installment, it seemed as if every transportation wonk in the city (including the mayor and his wife, whose team didn't win) was turning out for the fun. After three packed events at Radio Room, the Community Cycling Center will expand the event this month to the 700-capacity atrium of City Hall.<\/scr"+"ipt>"); //]]>-->
The City Hall trivia night is Wednesday, March 19, from 5:30 to 9 pm, at 1221 SW 4th Avenue downtown. Trivia starts at 6 pm. Hopworks beer will be available for suggested $5 donations after the first pint. CCC spokeswoman Melinda Musser said Wednesday that there'll be some free food available, though they haven't yet announced the donor. The event's lead sponsors are Kittelson & Associates and Lancaster Engineering.
Teams can have up to 6 players. Prizes include a Chrome backpack, tour passes from Pedal Bike Tours, a bike tune-up from Western Bikeworks and passes to Filmed by Bike.
"The grandest prize of all is a trophy to be taken home by the winning team," the CCC wrote in its official news release. "Team Maxx Tracks in your Face has closely guarded the trophy since August 2013, and it’s time for them to reclaim it or pass it on to a new winner."
You can RSVP for the event (and invite friends) on Facebook.
(Confidential to Maxx Tracks: oh it's on.)<\/scr"+"ipt>"); //]]>-->
(Photo by J. Maus/BikePortland)
—BikePortland's coverage from Washington D.C. is made possible by Planet Bike.
There's been a lot of talk in the hallways here at the National Bike Summit about the Women's Cycling Forum. Started just two years ago as a single panel discussion before the Summit, it has turned into a full-day of programming with well over 400 attendees. The sessions were packed, the energy was high, and its success has led to interesting conversations about how it compares with the Summit, it's larger and more established sibling.
To be clear, the Women's Cycling Forum is a product of the League's Women Bike program, an event to make the summit, and bike advocacy in general, more welcoming to women. It was launched in response to a growing awareness that American women don't ride bikes nearly as much as their male counterparts.
When the National Bike Summit opened Monday night (just minutes after the Women's Forum concluded), there was a palpable change. The faces in the crowd became less diverse, a bit older in age, and much more male-dominated. And the speakers at the big dinner and evening plenary were all men. Then the next morning at the Opening Plenary the speakers were also all men. This didn't go unnoticed by many attendees.
After all the enthusiasm for Women Bike and growing awareness about the importance of including women's voices on the national advocacy stage, how could the League not include women in the two opening plenaries? If the League really embraced the spirit of Women Bike, why not integrate women leaders, speakers, and activists more fully into the Summit, instead of having a separate Women's Forum?
Some might see the lack of women at the Summit plenaries as a glaring blind spot and proof that the League has a lot of work to do. Others say the League did have a lot of women leaders at the Summit, they just scheduled all of them for the Women's Forum. Suffice it to say, this is an ongoing discussion among advocates and among the League itself.<\/scr"+"ipt>"); //]]>-->
This issue also came up during a recording of the Talking Headways podcast. Joining me on the show were host Tanya Snyder of Streetsblog USA, activist Doug Gordon of Brooklyn Spoke, and bike tour leader Suepinda Keith of Triangle Bikeworks in North Carolina.
"I'm the only person of color in my state delegation. I need to be in those [congressional] offices to speak up for low-income communities and people of color to make sure those voices are heard."
— Suepinda Keith
It was Suepinda's second time at the Women's Forum. She shared during the show, and during a conversation with me afterwards, that, as a woman of color, she felt very comfortable and empowered at the Women's Forum. Then, as the Summit started and she settled into the opening plenary, she felt much differently. "It felt yucky" were her exact words on the podcast.
"Inclusion was front and center at the Women's Forum," she shared, "I saw a lot more diversity and a feeling that 'we're in this together.' As a woman, coming into the Summit [plenary], I was scanning the room for people of color. They need to be here. And if they aren't, what are we doing to address that?"
But despite those initial feelings, Suepinda found her place at the larger Summit event. She attended every session she could that dealt with equity and women's issues (she's especially inspired by what activists are doing in Los Angeles). I could tell that Suepinda enjoyed her time at the Summit and she seemed invigorated by the new people she'd met and the information she could take home.
And today, Suepinda is joining the her fellow North Carolina advocates on Capitol Hill to lobby their members of Congress. She's a bit nervous about it and she's never done anything like this before. And, she said, "I'm the only person of color in my state delegation. I need to be in those [congressional] offices to speak up for low-income communities and people of color to make sure those voices are heard."
And here's why all this matters: Suepinda would not be lobbying on Capitol Hill today if it weren't for the Women's Forum event. It opened doors for her and gave her the building blocks to move past her usually shy and introverted personality (by her own admission) and become a strong voice for bicycling. She has some great stories to tell and I think they'll resonate loudly on Capitol Hill.
Suepinda's story is a great sign for the League. While they can continue to tweak how best to make the Summit more reflective of the inclusive and welcoming spirit of the Women's Forum, they've clearly made important strides in the right direction.
The City of Portland is currently lining up official schedules to set a date for its announcement of private sponsors for Portland's bike share system, two sources familiar with the plans said last week and Tuesday.
"We could announce any time," PBOT Active Transportation Director Dan Bower confirmed in an interview Tuesday. "We're really looking for a good venue."
Bower also said, in the city's most certain terms to date, that the city expects to again delay its launch date, this time to spring 2015. "To get it done this fall, I would need to be at city council tomorrow," Bower said.
The scheduling of a sponsor announcement, which Bower said will certainly happen by the end of April, will be a key moment for the 750-bike, 75-station system — a sign that its main obstacle is no longer a source of money but rather the need for Alta Bicycle Share to pair working hardware and software in the wake of its main supplier's bankruptcy.
Also Monday, Alta Bicycle Share confirmed for the first time that it has "successfully secured" a "soon-to-be-announced sponsorship team" for the system, a choice of words suggesting that multiple sponsors have agreed to put substantial private money behind the system in exchange for logos and other branding on the system's equipment.
The city still doesn't have a "signed sponsor agreement," spokesman Dylan Rivera said in an interview Monday. But with staffers down to brass tacks on announcing a sponsorship deal whose contours were verbally agreed to months ago, it's clearer than ever that the delay isn't due to a lack of private sponsor money.
Instead, several signs suggest that the city's main obstacle at the moment is somewhat subtler: the chance that Alta's new equipment might not work properly.A bike share equipment demo in Portland in 2010 that used an earlier, more functional generation of bike share software.
First, let's add up the factors behind the city's one-year delay.
The Portland Mercury has reported several times on the likelihood of a second delay. On Monday, The Oregonian quoted Transportation Commissioner Steve Novick as saying the city is "uncertain as all get-out" that a 2014 launch is possible, due to problems with Alta's equipment. In its winning proposal to the city, Alta said that bike share systems require at least six months between announcement and launch — timing that would, assuming an April launch announcement, bring Portland bike share into operation by October 2014 at the soonest.
In other words, Portland bike share would launch just as the rain begins, and at the exact time that Portland voters could begin voting on the biggest transportation ballot issue of the decade. (Rivera said Tuesday that Mayor Charlie Hales currently thinks the city council may actually pass a revenue measure in June rather than putting it to a public vote.)
How unlikely is the city to launch bike share immediately before a public ballot issue? Before you answer, consider consulting this Copenhagenize chart that attempts to summarize the usual pattern of public sentiment toward new bike share systems.<\/scr"+"ipt>"); //]]>-->
A delay into 2015, though embarrassing given the system's original 2013 launch date, would have two obvious advantages for the city, Alta, and the system's sponsors:
- Time to get working software out of Alta's recent deal with 8D, the company that created the imperfect but functional software behind the country's most successful bikesharing systems: in Washington DC, Minneapolis and Boston.
- A chance to more clearly disentangle the federally and privately funded bike share system in the public mind from the ballot issue.
In a statement emailed to BikePortland and the Portland Mercury Monday, Alta executive Mia Birk alluded to the first possibility:
We are very excited about our alliance with proven technology leader 8D, the original supplier of technology to the Bixi systems. We have worked hard and successfully secured a top-notch, soon-to-be-announced sponsor team. Although we are ready to launch bike share in 2014, we understand the city's goals and desires to do our careful research and due diligence.
We are also proud of the phenomenal success of bike share in the eight cities in which we operate currently and know that Portland — whenever it launches — is going to be a phenomenal success as well.
Bower said Tuesday that the city's desire to delay is due only to a desire for certainty, rather than a feeling that the equipment is actually unlikely to work.
"We think Alta's supply is going to be good; everything we're hearing about it is good," Bower said. "What they've offered us is actually pretty exciting. It's got some good features."
One thing neither the city or Alta seem to be telegraphing, at least at the moment, is the possibility of putting the entire bike share system on the November ballot as part of the city's revenue proposal.
"We're confident that we're launching this system," the city spokesman, Rivera, said Monday, adding: "The city is more concerned about the quality of the launch than the timing of the launch."Bicycle Transportation Alliance Executive Director Rob Sadowsky and Oregon Bicycle Racing Association Director Kenji Sugahara ride Capital Bikeshare in Washington, DC, in 2012.
That's an attitude that seems to be shared, one way or another, by all the major players.
Alta, for its part, essentially forced Bixi into bankruptcy itself when its affiliate operations in Chicago and New York withheld payments to their supplier in protest of Bixi's failure to provide fully functional software. Among other things, this opened the door to Alta's deal with 8D, the success or failure of which seems crucial for Alta Bicycle Share.
And then there's the Bicycle Transportation Alliance, the Portland advocacy group that got enthusiastically behind bike share in 2011 and would again be involved if the city decides to announce a sponsorship deal at the April 21 Oregon Active Transportation Summit, which the BTA hosts. A source outside the BTA said last week that this was one of several dates being considered.
BTA Executive Director Rob Sadowsky said Monday that he can't blame the city or its sponsor for waiting to launch until Alta has a set of equipment in working order.
"The best we can do is put out the best product we can," Sadowsky said.
Correction 5 pm: An earlier version of this post misattributed to another speaker Rivera's statement that Mayor Hales doesn't currently expect a revenue ballot issue in November.<\/scr"+"ipt>"); //]]>-->