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After a long week, these Portlanders de-stressed by playing in mud on their bikes

Mon, 10/08/2018 - 12:09

(Photos: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

For many Portlanders who care about our country, last week’s new cycle was very stressful.

The Junior T’s (children of Team Lazy Tarantulas) showed up in force!

What better way to escape for a few hours than attempt to ride a bicycle on mud as slick as ice? That’s what many people did yesterday at the second race in the Cyclocross Crusade series held at Alpenrose Velodrome in the hills of southwest Portland.

It’s been a while since I focused on capturing images of a cyclocross race, and I picked an epic one. After a dry opening day on Saturday, rain returned on Sunday and soaked the top layer of dirt on the technical, hilly course. As late morning rain fell, it became difficult to even walk on some in some areas (I slammed on my butt several times just getting these images).

I could barely imagine what it was like for the intrepid souls who braved the conditions.

The most insanely slick section was the northwest corner of the course that featured a muddy, off-camber scramble punctuated by a straight downhill. Challenging does not begin to describe this section. The way people approached it provided hours of entertainment to spectators: Some tried to tip-toe; some just mounted their bikes at the top and bombed bravely down, some slipped and fell spectacularly, others just instantly gave up and slid down on their backsides. Through it all, faces full of smiles far outnumbered those full of frustration.

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There was one particularly cruel (or sublime, depending on your skill level and idea of fun) section around a tree that gave even the top riders fits. No method proved reliable for navigating around this tree. Some people tried holding on and swinging around it, others tried the tip-toe method. Only a select few tried to ride it…

But it wasn’t all muddy mayhem. Cyclocross is a beautiful sport that combines so many athletic elements — speed, strength, balance, grit, grace, skill. There was a lot of all those things on display Sunday…

To everyone who completed yesterday: We salute you!

View the full gallery over on our Facebook page.

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

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The Monday Roundup: Sexism, scooter lane, space helmet, SW Corridor and more

Mon, 10/08/2018 - 09:56

Here are the most noteworthy stories we’ve come across in the past seven days…

Do our part: A major new climate report paints a dire picture and reminds us that everyone in the transportation universe needs to stop placating auto abusers and start aggressively transforming our system into one that is cleaner and more efficient.

The Dutch example: Saying that, “using a phone is just as dangerous on a bike as it is in a car,” the infrastructure minister for The Netherlands is pushing for a cell phone ban for bicycle riders.

Sexism at the races: A veteran race announcer was fired after women voiced concern over sexist remarks made over the loudspeaker at a major cyclocross race.

How to pass other riders: I hate that I have to share this; but unsafe and rude passing on bikeways continues to be a big problem. This how-to from Bicycle Times has some good tips.

Political reality: As planners and politicians gathered inside and LA’s Mayor made a big speech at the NACTO conference, concerned road users staged a protest outside as a reminder that there’s much more work to be done.

Sign of things to come: A transportation reform group in Kansas City, Missouri has installed a temporary bike and scooter lane on a two-block stretch of their downtown.

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Best e-cargo bikes: In case you’re curious, Wired has a nice breakdown of four excellent electric-assist cargo bike options — ranging from $1,800 to $7,000.

End of an era: The leader of NYC’s venerable nonprofit Transportation Alternatives, Paul Steely White, will leave his post after 14 years to take a job with micromobility startup Bird. White follows other advocacy leaders who’ve taken jobs with similar companies.

Too bad it’s necessary: Reliance Foundry shared an overview of the “human bollard” movement as urgency ratchets up for protected lanes nationwide.

Spacey helmet: A nifty new helmet designed for those reluctant to wear them looks like a baseball cap and was created using aerospace technology.

SW Corridor failings: Michael Andersen puts it simply in his latest piece for Sightline: “Apartments are banned from half the land around stations on Portland’s next rail line. If that won’t change, the line shouldn’t be built.”

Take back the streets: Madrid is the latest city to take significant steps to improve options to driving in its urban core with their Sustainable Mobility Ordinance — a host of law changes that aims to make streets safer and biking and walking more convenient.

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

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New shuttle service will take you from Portland to Sandy Ridge

Fri, 10/05/2018 - 16:27

Now you can get some of this without having to drive.
(Photo: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

Love riding the trails at the Sandy Ridge Trail System; but don’t love the hour or so drive it takes to get there?

Or maybe you’ve wanted to ride there but don’t have a car and/or are philosophically opposed to driving to ride?

You’re in luck, because the great Fat Tire Farm bike shop in northwest Portland has launched a new shuttle service. And to make it even better, they’ve got a fleet of awesome rental bikes you can use on the trails.

Here are the details:

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– Shuttle runs every Friday and Saturday (starting now!) through the fall season
– Shuttles leave at 11:00 am from the shop at 2714 NW Thurman and return 5:00 pm the same day.
– Rates are $40 per person or $20 with a rental from the FTF fleet.

This is a great new way to hit the trails at Sandy Ridge! Not to mention a cool way to maybe meet new riding buddies on the shuttle ride to and from.

For more info, check out the shop’s website or give them a call at (971) 300-1216.

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

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Opinion: Let’s focus on the system, not on “them”

Fri, 10/05/2018 - 13:54

Blatant attempt to inject something beautiful into the news cycle.
(Photo: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

After what transpired in Washington DC this week I’m feeling a horrible mix of emotions: Sadness, disgust, frustration, paralysis, hatred, and anger.

My inclination watching Susan Collins’ speech today was to shout and curse at her image on my screen. I wanted to go online and say bad things about her and people I vehemently disagree with.

The state of our body politic has made it hard for me to focus on local bike news. But since this website has been my main outlet of communication with so many of you for the past 14 years, my inclination is to come here to write something instead of on my social media accounts.

I don’t wade into politics here because my goal is to create an inclusive and productive space here and I’m loathe to introduce such a divisive topic. I also don’t like to take up space on important issues that aren’t on my beat. At the same time, I feel dishonest if I don’t share something here that I’m feeling so sharply and I assume is being felt just as strongly by many of you.

Beyond creating a space to air our feelings and acknowledge the moment we’re all in together, there’s just one thing I want to do with this post: I want to say something about how we treat each other.

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Those of you who follow my work know that I care deeply about treating people — even people I disagree with — with respect. That’s why I still read your comments (all 436,038 of them as of 1:30 pm today!) and take time to respond and moderate them as needed. That’s why I’m very careful to choose nonjudgmental words when I describe people and their actions.

(This isn’t to say I’m always an angel. I’ll criticize someone if I feel it’s warranted; but only if I respect them enough to spend the energy to do it. Without that respect, I’ll usually just ignore them.)

My inclination watching Susan Collins’ speech today was to shout and curse at her image on my screen. I wanted to go online and say bad things about her and people I vehemently disagree with. But what then? Would it fix anything? Or would it make things worse? I believe part of the reason we’re at this point as a society is because there’s so much of that hate flying around — especially online. I don’t want to be a part of that.

The systems we’re fighting against have been made stronger because so many of us use our time and energy to fight with each other, instead of against the system that made us angry in the first place. And those who benefit from the current system want to keep it that way.

For my small part in this swirling mess of polarization and tribalism, I plan to resist the temptation to tear other people down. Like I’ve said for years in our comment policy here on BikePortland: Let’s vigorously disagree, but do it with tact and respect for the person on the other side of the screen — or the aisle, or the windshield.

Instead, let’s use that energy to make the system work better.

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

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Brexit uncertainty, US regulations among reasons for Islabikes’ retreat

Fri, 10/05/2018 - 09:50

Islabikes are a common sight at local schoolyard bike racks.
(Photos: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

It’s been a tough year for Portland’s bike industry.

In May, local cargo bike maker Metrofiets called it quits. Then in July, bike shop and community gathering spot Velo Cult announced it would no longer have a retail location. And on Tuesday of this week we reported that UK-based Islabikes decided to close the local office and warehouse that housed their North American headquarters. And yesterday we shared the messy road that led to the end of Renovo Hardwood Bicycles.

I don’t enjoy reporting these type of stories, but I do think the community deserves to know a reasonable amount of detail about them. Given Islabikes’ popularity and large role in our community (as a sponsor and partner of many local events), I felt like their official statement wasn’t enough. Earlier this week, I reached out to Islabikes General Manager Tim Goodall and asked him to share more about why they’ve decided to leave.

Goodall cited Brexit (the UK’s decision to leave the European Union) and a pesky US federal government regulation as two of the main reasons.

“We refused to send bikes that were non-compliant and we also refused to compromise our geometry to meet the requirements,”
— Islabikes GM Tim Goodall on a CPSC regulation that requires children’s bikes to have a coaster brake

As we’ve reported, Islabikes said they want to focus on the UK and EU markets. Behind that intent is what Goodall now says is a concern about the impacts of Brexit. The decision to leave the EU came via a very narrow voter referendum in 2016 and and the official exit is scheduled to occur in March 2019. However, the UK and EU must sign an agreement before it can happen and the debate over that agreement is far from over.

“The uncertainly of Brexit gives any company operating between the UK and EU pause at the moment,” Goodall shared with me via email yesterday. “Islabikes needs to dedicate time and energy to ensure that we’re growing those markets during whatever transition comes.”

I also asked Goodall if their decision had anything to do with a soft US market for high-quality children’s bikes that are much more expensive than big-box and “toy” store options. “The first few years were very strong and encouraging and we definitely think there is room for high-quality kids bikes in the US,” he said. Since Islabikes launched in 2013 several other high-quality children’s bike brands have launched. Was that competition the last straw? “The fact that so many brands with similar missions have sprung up definitely made the piece of the pie we have a bit smaller!” Goodall explained, “But the fact that those brands have come about is also encouraging. Islabikes mission from the start has been to provide children with a better experience riding bikes – there are more and more quality options out there for young riders.”

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Islabikes GM Tim Goodall setting up a customer in 2013.

Then he mentioned a surprise reason: A Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) requirement that children’s bicycles (defined as “sidewalk bicycles” by the CPSC) must be equipped with a footbrake (a.k.a. coaster brake, which activates by pedaling backwards). This regulation means all of Islabikes’ popular 14 and 16-inch models must be shipped with a coaster brake.

“We refused to send bikes that were non-compliant and we also refused to compromise our geometry to meet the requirements,” Goodall explained. “Over the past two years we’ve spent vast sums as well as countless hours in an attempt to enact a rule change.” Goodall says the coaster brake requirement is “woefully outdated” and even without a US presence Islabikes hopes it changes someday.

Leaving the US wasn’t part of the plan for Islabikes, but the political uncertainty of Brexit forced them to re-visit their decision.

“The fact that we are letting down our customers weighs heavily on our minds and in no way was the decision taken lightly,” Goodall shared.

We are bummed to see them go. Not only does Islabikes have a great product, the company is full of integrity and Goodall himself is a testament to that. “We relish the connections we have made in our five years in Portland,” Goodall shared with us. “From Sunday Parkways to Kids’ Cross – we have loved seeing our customers out doing what they do best – riding bikes with a smile on their face.”

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

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Out of cash and employees, Renovo calls it quits

Thu, 10/04/2018 - 16:11

Renovo founder Ken Wheeler in his booth at the 2012 North American Handmade Bicycle Show in Sacramento.
(Photos: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

The ride for Renovo Hardwood Bicycles is over.

The website is gone. No one responds to emails. The building at SE 8th and Ash that has housed its factory since 2008 is for lease. And there’s a lien notice posted to the front door.

According to the notice, Kenneth Wheeler of Renovo Designs LLC owes $34,864.53 in rent that hasn’t been paid since May.

This is a sad ending to a company that was once one of the bike industry’s shining stars.

Wheeler launched Renovo at the 2008 North American Handmade Bicycle Show (NAHBS) in Portland. With experience and success making hardwood lighting fixtures and airplanes, Wheeler figured out how to make bicycle frames with a CNC machine. When I first visited his shop in February 2008 he proudly watched his CNC machine at work and said it would be done with the frame in five minutes. Not only were the frames beautiful and relatively easy to produce (or so it seemed), Wheeler said they tested stronger than high-grade aluminum.

He was clearly on to something.

After NAHBS, Renovo’s brand grew quickly. Three years later Wheeler had inked a partnership with German carmaker Audi; opened a showroom in the tony city of Sausalito, California; and graced headlines all over the world.

Not surprisingly, orders rolled in.

“When I got there we had about 85-90 bikes in the queue and zero cash. We had a lot of unhappy customers, then restricted cash flow. That stuff tends to snowball.”
— Tyler Robertson, former employee

Sales peaked in 2012. Unfortunately that’s also when things began to go awry due to a combination of production issues and the challenge of meeting customer demands.

Tyler Robertson, a former employee in charge of marketing who worked for the company in the summer of 2014, recalled in an interview today that they faced, “massive delays in production.” While the CNC construction method sounds quick and easy (Wheeler told me back in 2008 that his CNC process, “Lends itself to high volume production”), the truth was much more complicated. “It was a really hands-on, meticulous process,” Robertson said. Adding to the problem were customers frustrated by longer than expected delays. Robertson says they were promised a bike in six-to-eight weeks; but some people on the list had been waiting as much as two years. As word spread of the delay (there are several very negative Yelp reviews during this period), many customers cancelled their orders.

Renovo was counting on those orders to meet payroll and other expenses. As orders dried up, so did their main source of revenue.

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“When I got there we had about 85-90 bikes in the queue and zero cash,” remembers Robertson. “We had a lot of unhappy customers, then restricted cash flow. That stuff tends to snowball.”

“It’s a complicated mess.”
— Ken Wheeler, company founder

The backlog wasn’t just because of demand. Production problems started to bubble up as early as 2012, according to former employee I spoke with today who asked to remain anonymous. The allure of Renovo’s production model was that you could just put the wood in the CNC machine, hit a few buttons, and a bike frame would pop out. But wood is a “tricky material,” the former employee shared with me today. “The problem with CNC’ing wood is that, especially with the multi-laminate, it’s tremendously difficult to machine wood in a consistent fashion with the tolerances needed for a bicycle.”

Each frame was made-to-order both in terms of size and wood selection. Add the fact that they were built as two separate halves that had to be accurately joined together and you have a very complicated process.

None of the production difficulties were insurmountable, but each step meant more hands-on work to ensure quality, which in turn led to more delays.

Reached on the phone today, Wheeler said offering custom bikes was, “A stupid idea.” He said it was complicated to keep track of 20-40 custom bikes on the production floor at any one time. Managing customers’ needs was also difficult. “Our record was 128 emails from one single customer about his bike.” He told another story of a customer’s wife who threatened to sue Renovo for fraud after they took so long to deliver a bike.

Wheeler in his shop in 2008.

Hoping to stem the tide and scale-up production, Wheeler decided to stop selling custom frames in 2014. In a company press release, Wheeler joked about the backlog: “Struggling to control this unruly beast has kept Advil profitable.”

Unfortunately that shift didn’t fix the Renovo’s production problems.

As each new “ready to ride” model was released, the company would publicize six different sizes on its website. “Of those six,” the employee told me today, “Only 2-3 of the sizes were fully programmed into the CNC machine. There would be errors in terms of programming.” If the CNC work wasn’t perfect, the two halves of the frames would not line up perfectly, increasing the chance for misalignment and adding even more production time to get it right.

“Things came to a head when production staff felt like their safety concerns weren’t being heard.”
— a former employee

By 2015 the company had reached a breaking point. Wheeler shared with me today that he was under so much stress he had a heart attack. He feels he did everything he could to increase production and boost sales. They hired an outside PR firm, added staff, and continued to get rave reviews for the bikes in major magazines. Despite those efforts however, Wheeler said sales never returned to their 2012 level.

“If you don’t have the sales,” he said. “Nothing else matters.”

In 2016, Wheeler met Al Spinks, a Renovo customer who also happened to be a wealthy, fifth-generation farmer from Texas who loved to ride bikes. Spinks offered to invest in Renovo to help them get over the hump. Wheeler eagerly accepted. He used the money to increase production, do more marketing, research and development, launch new models, and hire an engineer who previously worked at Shimano. (Bicycle Retailer & Industry News magazine wrote about Spinks’ investment in March 2018.)

But according to a former employee, the large infusion of cash led to a new problem: Pressure to meet production quotas that led to a difficult working environment.

After his heart attack in 2016, Wheeler took his first real vacation over Christmas in 2017 and realized he didn’t want to return to the stress Renovo caused him. His partner Al Spinks was interested in taking over the company, but some of his other investments hadn’t been going well. Ultimately, “Money stopped coming from him,” Wheeler said.

By this past spring, a former employee told me, “Things came to a head when production staff felt like their safety concerns [both in terms of their personal safety and their ability to ensure a safe product] weren’t being heard.” In March of this year seven members of the production staff walked out. “After that,” the employee shared, “the place was on life support.”

Tensions between remaining employees and ownership continued into April when all three of the engineering staff left the company. From a staff that once numbered 12 employees, just three were left to make one final sales push at the big Sea Otter Classic event in April. “We went to Sea Otter and nothing came of it,” Wheeler said on the phone today. “And that was the end.” By May all remaining employees were gone. Wheeler continued to negotiate an exit with Spinks. Then on July 2nd, Spinks, just 53 years old, had a surprise heart attack and died.

Renovo’s headquarters on SE 8th and Ash.
(Photo: Paul Souders)

Thinking back on the last 11 years, Wheeler said today that he feels he did everything he possibly could to make Renovo a success. What I’ve shared in this story is only part of the drama and difficulty this company faced. There was the broken CNC machine and the parts needed to fix it that seemed to never arrive, the difficulty in hiring machinists, the disagreements between Wheeler and his employees, a stubborn sales decline, and so on. “It’s a complicated mess,” is how Wheeler described it today.

“My only consolation is that I — we — did the very best we could do to make it work. I didn’t want to let our customers down; but I couldn’t solve it. It just didn’t work… That’s not totally unusual in the world of business.” Especially in today’s bike business. Just one year ago, Renovo was a subject in an Oregon Business story that chronicled the tough climate for bike builders in Oregon.

What about bikes themselves? Everyone I talked to for this story had nothing but great things to say about them. Wheeler seemed to take solace in the fact that — through all the ups-and-downs — everyone loved the bikes. Even the guy whose wife threatened a lawsuit. “We ultimately shipped him the bike and he posted pictures of it on our Facebook page!” Wheeler beamed.

UPDATE, 11:03 am on 10/5: Several former employees have shared scathing allegations of misconduct from Ken Wheeler on company review site Glassdoor.

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

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Weekend Event Guide: Crusade kickoff, Simworks pop-up, pumpkin ride, and more

Thu, 10/04/2018 - 08:44

Things could get a bit crazy at Alpenrose this weekend.

The weekend is near. We hope you’ll have the time and ability to indulge your love of cycling. The fall colors are peeking out and we’ve got some season-appropriate suggestions in this week’s guide.

Here are our selections…

Friday, October 5th

Cyclocross Crusade Kickoff Party – 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm at Hopworks Urban Brewery (SE)
Get your Crusade off to a fun start with a get together at HUB where you can hook up with racing buddies, get registered, grab your number, and enjoy fine food and drinks. More info here.

Saturday, October 6th

Cyclocross Crusade #1 – Alpenrose (Day 1) – 8:30 am to 5:30 pm at Alpenrose Dairy (SW)
What better place to kick off the 25th Crusade season than at Alpenrose — where ‘cross racers first toed the line in 1997! This is going to be yuuuge! From the team pits, to the great spectating and racing — get out there and be a part of the magic. More info here.

Endless Summer Saturdays – 9:00 am to 5:00 pm in Parkdale, OR
Join the kickoff ride of The Club Roule’s Endless Summer series with a spirited 50-mile, 6,000-foot elevation jaunt from Parkdale up and around Lost Lake. More info here.

Simworks Fender Pop-up at Golden Pliers – 12:00 pm to 7:00 pm at Golden Pliers Bike Shop (N)
Japan-based distributor of very fine cycling components and accessories, Simworks, will set up shop in north Portland’s Golden Pliers Bike Shop to do fender installs while a local sushi place creates their edible wonders. More info here.

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Cyclocross Crusade #2 – Alpenrose (Day 2) – 8:30 am to 5:30 pm at Alpenrose Dairy (SW)
Weren’t able to make it out to Saturday’s event? You’re in luck because it happens again on Sunday. No excuses! More info here.

Bike the Levees – 10:00 am to 1:00 pm at Blue Lake Park (E)
Do you know your levees? The Multnomah County Drainage Districts and the Columbia Slough Watershed Council will lead this 15-mile ride where you’ll learn about our local levee system (a.k.a. those things the Marine Drive Bike Path is on). Registration required. More info here.

Pumpkin Patch Ride – 11:00 am to 3:00 pm at Golden Pliers Bike Shop (N)
Tis the season! Enjoy spiced cider and donuts at the shop before rolling out to Sauvie Island to find the pumpkin of your dreams. Some cargo space will be provided, but everyone is encouraged to bring their own bags, baskets, racks, cargo bikes, trailers, and so on. 25 miles round-trip. No-drop, group ride. More info here.

Stay plugged into all the bike and transportation-related events around the region via our comprehensive event calendar.

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

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Promised over a decade ago, Portland embarks on NW Flanders Bikeway project

Wed, 10/03/2018 - 13:26

PBOT Project Manager Scott Cohen at the kickoff planning meeting September 20th.
(Photos: Reza Farhoodi)

Making good on a promise made over a decade ago, the City of Portland has finally started planning a new bikeway on NW Flanders between Waterfront Park and 24th. And at a meeting late last month, Portlanders got their first chance to see it.

The origin of the project goes back to the 2005 Burnside/Couch Transportation and Urban Design Plan. As the legend goes, bike advocates cut a deal with the Bureau of Transportation: Couch was originally designated as the major east-west bikeway through this part of town; but PBOT wanted it to be the couplet with Burnside, so the agreement was to switch the bikeway a few blocks north to Flanders.

The plan was adopted. The couplet was never completed and the Flanders bikeway was all but forgotten.

Here’s a graphic of the bikeway from the Bicycle Improvements chapter of the Burnside/Couch Transportation and Urban Design Plan:

(City of Portland)

Now, with the construction of the Flanders Crossing bridge over I-405 imminent, the city is finally making good on their promise. According to PBOT, they have $2.4 million to spend thanks to System Development Charges. The goal is to create a “low-stress bikeway” that will encourage more people to ride bikes and to, “Provide people of all ages and abilities a safe, comfortable place to bike in the Central City.”

PBOT has already built around 80 miles of neighborhood greenways, but those are in residential areas. The Flanders bikeway would be a different animal since it would have a more dense and urban context.

Pearl District Neighborhood Association member and safe streets advocate Reza Farhoodi was at the project’s kickoff meeting last month. He said he was “impressed” with the initial proposals — especially in Old Town and the Pearl. Farhoodi shared an image of PBOT’s project map that lists existing auto traffic volumes and traffic diverters proposed along the route. The map (below) shows that PBOT wants to implement significant measures to reduce the number of people who drive on Flanders.

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The map shown at the meeting.

PBOT’s greenway design mandate (as adopted by City Council with the 2015 Neighborhood Greenways Assessment Report) is to get the number of people driving cars to about 1,000 per day. As you can see on the map, the average daily traffic (ADT) on Flanders today is way above that. To discourage driving on Flanders they’ve proposed alternating one-way sections and two full driving closures: one at the North Park Blocks and one just east of 17th.

“The full closure at Park Blocks would be a wonderful placemaking opportunity at the intersection of the Green Loop.”
— Reza Farhoodi, Pearl District Neighborhood Association

“The full closure at Park Blocks would be a wonderful placemaking opportunity at the intersection of the Green Loop,” Farhoodi shared with us via email. “And I think the alternating one-ways is a potential solution for designing future neighborhood greenways in Central City and Northwest where there is a lot of pedestrian activity and high-density development.”

One sticking point that remains is the crossing of Naito just south of the Union Pacific Railroad tracks at the Steel Bridge. PBOT has spent years negotiating with UPRR to make a crossing at this location and now they have a design and the funding to make it happen. But PBOT Project Manager Scott Cohen made it clear at the meeting last month that UPRR is still not satisfied and there are interim plans to jog the route to NW Davis to get across Naito until a final plan for a crossing at Flanders can be ironed out.

If the Flanders Bikeway is built (construction estimated for fall/winter 2019), Farhoodi says having to use Davis to cross Naito, “Would certainly be sub-optimal.” “I consider the crossing to be the key component into making this a regional bike facility, and it would be absurd to spend millions elsewhere upgrading Flanders without completing this critical connection.”

We’ll be watching that part of the project closely. Expect more public outreach in the coming weeks and months. PBOT expects to have a final design completed by next spring.

Correction, 10/9: This post originally said that the West Burnside/Couch couplet was built. That was a mistake. The couplet was never built (it was on the east side, however).

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

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We talked to over 100 people about making Better Naito permanent

Wed, 10/03/2018 - 09:53

It was hard not to feel a wave of optimism about biking in Portland after talking with so many people who wanted to support this project.
(Photos: Armando Luna)

This is the latest installment of our Adventures in Activism column, written by Catie Gould and Emily Guise.

“Make Better Naito permanent! Sign a postcard!”

“People told us about how Naito got them biking more, and how they change their route after it closes.”

For a full week last month, you might have heard this appeal from volunteers from BikeLoudPDX at the Salmon Springs fountain. They were there during commute hours to talk to people about a permanent Better Naito. We just concluded the second year of the city’s seasonal installation — which makes less sense every year as we talk more about needing a connected, low stress bike network.

The night before the week of tabling kicked off I had a hard time sleeping. I had not done much of this type of thing and I was unsure how it would go. Are people sick of hearing about Naito? Are we wasting our time trying to get it installed year-round while a permanent design is in process?

My worries turned out to be unfounded.

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On the first day as I was setting up our table someone stopped by asking where they could sign. That trend continued every morning as someone came over within minutes of our arrival. For as long as we were there each day, a steady stream of people stopped to sign. Not everyone had heard of “Better” Naito or that it was only seasonal. People told us about how Naito got them biking more, and how they change their route after it closes. What connected all these users is that they love this lane, and they want to use it year-round.

I don’t usually find myself downtown during the day so it was nice to just be present in the space. We were lucky that every day there was beautiful weather, and lots of people were still using Naito. Traffic seemed pretty usual for anywhere, and not any visibly worse northbound.

As late as Wednesday there were no signs indicating when Naito was going to be removed. One woman told me last year how she had rode right out into traffic like normal, totally unaware the Better Naito had disappeared. She called the city to ask why there had been no signage, worried that someone else could be hurt if they just followed their routine. We couldn’t have anticipated that Better Naito wouldn’t be around the whole week, and must have told hundreds of commuters ourselves that it was going to be removed over the weekend.

Of the 130 people we talked to, we collected just one opposing view of Naito. One man on his bike stopped by to fill out a postcard and told me that Better Naito was awful, and it didn’t work at all. “How so?” I mused, thinking he might be referring to the lack of a zone to make turns in-and-out or people walking across the entire width of the lane. No. That wasn’t it. He said the traffic had gotten terrible. He drives down Naito all the time. Yet today he was biking on a beautiful morning, demonstrating the elusive modal shift of our dreams.

Very few people we spoke to knew about the Central City in Motion project or that a permanent version of Naito was one of the potential projects. With the last online open house already closed, it was difficult to tell people how to get involved in the design process. There is little publicly available information to point them to.

Many people thanked us for just being there to organize some support for year-round Better Naito. In its few years of existence, it has solidly implanted itself with Portlanders who prefer it to the waterfront path or southbound bike lane. It was hard not to feel a wave of optimism about biking in Portland after talking with so many people who wanted to support this project.

I hope our city council feels the same way.

In related news, don’t miss this story in The Oregonian about what the Naito family thinks about the project — even after the grandson of the streets namesake was hit while biking on it.

— Catie Gould (@Citizen_Cate) and Emily Guise (@Eguise): Read more from their Adventures in Activism column.

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Meet the Team: The Club Roule gets rolling

Wed, 10/03/2018 - 08:41

Nice turnout at the weekly Roule Wednesday rides that ended in August.
(Photos: @RouleCycling on Instagram)


“Starting in October, we’re launching ‘Endless Summer Saturdays’ – because it’s always summer somewhere.”br>— Paul Wroblewski, team founder

It’s time for another profile of a local cycling squad!

Say hello to The Club Roule. Currently in their first full season, team founder Paul Wroblewski clearly has a talent for putting together all the pieces that me for a fun and inclusive group that looks like it will be around for many years to come.

Looking for new friends to ride and/or race with? Scroll down to learn more about The Club Roule…

How’d The Club Roule get started?

I had the idea for a new team in August of 2017. I raced solo and occasionally rode with various teams and groups, but couldn’t find one that really spoke to me. I realized that I was looking for something that felt like a community, but still attracted those with a competitive spirit without being rude or exclusionary. As I started talking to more and more people, I began to realize that a lot of other riders felt the same way. Cycling was a major part of life for each of us, but we hadn’t found our people yet. I decided that rather than wait for somebody else to make a team I’d want to be a part of, I would create a team that others wanted to be a part of.

What’s your squad all about?

Community first. #RouleTogether! Our squad has both racers and non-racers, novices and more experienced riders. The belief being that by riding together we can all find common ground by learning from and teaching each other new skills. The Club Roule encourages every member of the club to ride how they want to ride. Beginners who are racing against themselves and their own fitness goals, and elite competitive racers seeking podiums and glory; those who prefer the social aspect of the group ride, and those who savor the solitude of riding alone; weeknight warriors that ride to melt work day stress, and those who live with depression and anxiety and choose to ride for their mental health. As cyclists, we are all pushing ourselves – and in The Club Roule we are building a community that pushes with us.

I’m also particularly proud of the connections that we have made with people and businesses who didn’t have any prior engagement with the cycling/racing community. They have embraced our vision and worked with us to create a broader network that can help all of us continue to build Portland’s bike-friendly community. I’m also going to give a blatant shout-out to our wonderful partners who were willing to take a chance and join us for our inaugural season: Crema Coffee + Bakery, O2 Endurance, Olympus Wheels, PickyBars, Roule Cycling, and Tritech Bikes.

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Pre-ride hanging at Crema on SE 28th.

What type of riding do you do?

We’re primarily focused on road cycling since our club rides are tarmac focused. However, we have track, cyclocross, criterium, and time-trial racers on board, too. Our typical rides range from 20-50 miles with a fair amount of climbing. We’re also down for a good long-mileage gravel adventure from time to time and *gasp* a few of our folks are known to shred Sandy Ridge occasionally.

What type of riders and people are currently on the team, and who do you want to join?

I might be biased, but I think we have a pretty rad group! While each of us has different reasons for riding, we all like to have a community to ride with and be supported by. We come from various walks of life, but as in life, that diversity is our strength. We don’t care whether you’re a commuter who is interested in learning more about road cycling, a seasoned cyclist who is interested in learning how to race, or a veteran racer who wants to contribute to the growth of others, all are welcome. As we continue to grow, we’d also like to have a bigger W/T/F presence at rides and races going forward. Our hope is that folks will come ride with us, dig our vibe, and want to grow with us.

Flyer for an upcoming ride.

Please share your regularly scheduled rides that are open to the public:

Starting in October, we’re launching “Endless Summer Saturdays” – because it’s always summer somewhere. It will be a 30-mile, 2000′-elevation ride around Lake Oswego. We roll from the new Crema location at the Fair-Haired Dumbbell (11 NE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd) every Saturday at 9am. There is very intentionally no end date for this ride.

From May through August, we host a weekly novice-friendly group ride every Wednesday evening called “Roule Wednesday”. We’re planning to bring that back in May 2019 so stay tuned!

We’re constantly looking for new routes that we can all ride together, so give us a follow and come join us!

How can we stay connected to your adventures?

Website: roulecycling.com
Instagram: @RouleCycling
Twitter: @RouleCycling
Strava: strava.com/clubs/TheClubRoule
Email: info@roulecycling.com
Carrier Pigeon: Coming Soon!

Want to see your team here? Just send us a message with answers to these questions and a few good photos and we’ll do the rest.

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

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Man and young child hit while crossing SE 122nd at Midland Library

Tue, 10/02/2018 - 21:13

The crossing where tonight’s collision happened. The Midland Library is on the right.

We are not moving fast enough to make 122nd Avenue safer.

“Didn’t know that living in outer SE would mean saying a prayer every time you cross the street. What’s going on in this city?”
— Ana del Rocío, nearby resident

Portland Police say a man and a young child have sustained “critical, life-threatening injuries” and are being treated at a hospital following a collision that happened outside Midland Library just after 5:30 pm tonight.

According to photos we’ve seen via Twitter user @splindlypete (see below), the victims were crossing at the marked crosswalk and rapid flashing beacon just outside of the library south of Morrison Street. A large white van can be seen in the lane adjacent to the median, fully blocking the painted crosswalk striping. It’s too early to know for sure, but it appears like this could have been a classic “double-threat” situation where one driver stops, but another driver doesn’t.

The Twitter user who was on the scene said the young person looked to be about nine years old and was responsive prior to being loaded into the ambulance. The dad was unresponsive.

damn dude what's going on at the library pic.twitter.com/cTySvhWAlw

— pretty scarecrow (@spindlypete) October 3, 2018

it's somebody's work van, it's like a big white van with a hard hat on the dash pic.twitter.com/CyRQTQsCDF

— pretty scarecrow (@spindlypete) October 3, 2018

“Lot of of folks wondering how this could have happened,” wrote @splindlypete on Twitter tonight. “Those crosswalks are really unsafe. it’s not too hard for a driver in one lane to not see pedestrians that are in front of and slightly to the side of another car, and sometimes the lights go off when people are still crossing.”

This is heartbreaking — not only because these two innocent people are clinging to life; but because we know how dangerous 122nd is and we’ve endured these tragedies far too many times. According to crash statistics (which don’t begin to tell the tale) 122nd has four of the top ten most dangerous intersections and it’s one of only 13 streets citywide that’s earned a “high crash” designation for bikers, walkers, and drivers.

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SE 122nd and Stark, just north of the Midland Library crossing.
(Photos: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

Crosswalks with yellow signs and flashing lights — like this one on 122nd near NE Stanton — are common responses to safety concerns. But are they enough?

For years now, advocates and city planners have been aware of the dangers posed by this neighborhood highway. In 2014, following his participation in a Pedalpalooza ride that took a closer look at its pitfalls, reporter Michael Andersen wrote an article titled, “What would it take to make 122nd Avenue great?

It’s not that PBOT doesn’t have plans to make 122nd better, it’s that the threat is growing faster than our efforts to mitigate it.

Just a few weeks ago I reported on a press conference a few miles north of tonight’s collision. Electeds and agency staff from the City of Portland, Multnomah County and TriMet made speeches and cut a ribbon on an early phase of the Portland Bureau of Transportation’s 122nd Avenue Plan.

At that event, I could only shake my head with concern as I watched all sorts of dangerous driving behaviors unfold around a newly installed crosswalk with a beacon. After the event I spoke with a PBOT staff person and shared my thoughts that, while these incremental improvements are nice, it will take much more than a few flashing lights to tame drivers on 122nd. To make a real impact, we must encourage people to drive less by making transit and cycling more competitive and we need to directly constrain auto use by lowering speed limits and making dramatic changes to the profile and design of the road itself.

PBOT has millions set aside for 122nd and their goal to make it a more human, multimodal street is admirable. But I’m afraid it won’t be enough, soon enough.

For people who live, work, and play on and around the 122nd Avenue corridor, every day that passes is another day of hoping something terrible doesn’t happen to them. No one should have to live like that — especially when the solutions to the problem are so obvious.

“Didn’t know that living in outer SE would mean saying a prayer every time you cross the street,” wrote local resident Ana del Rocío on Twitter tonight in response to hearing the news. “What’s going on in this city?”

If you want to help PBOT make 122nd Avenue safer, they’re hosting an open house at Midland Library (805 SE 122nd Ave) on November 7th from 5:30 to 7:30 pm. More info at their 122nd Avenue Plan website.

UPDATE, 12:06pm: According to Portland Police Bureau Sgt. Christopher Burley, the man who was driving the van has been cited for Careless Driving with Injury to Vulnerable Roadway User. The two victims’ injuries are now described as being, “serious but non-life-threatening.”

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

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Islabikes to close US headquarters office and warehouse in Portland

Tue, 10/02/2018 - 17:28

The busy warehouse as seen in June 2017.
(Photos: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

Portland will no longer be the U.S. headquarters of Islabikes. In an announcement made this afternoon, the children’s bike company said they will close their southeast Portland office, showroom and warehouse.

(Photos: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

Here’s the official statement:

Islabikes has decided to close the US office in Portland, Oregon to focus energy on the UK and EU markets. During this voluntary liquidation we will sell all remaining stock of bikes, accessories and parts in the US. It’s bittersweet, but there are great discounts to be had before closing this fall. At this time we have not set a closing date.

If you are considering ordering for the Holidays, order now, as once they’re gone, they’re gone!

We really appreciate the support from our customers over the past 5 years. Thank you for all the photos and videos of your kids enjoying their Islabikes and the emails and phone calls describing family vacations and adventures; we have so enjoyed getting to be included in those experiences.

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To the kiddos: thank you for being brave, confident, sometimes scared, hilarious, charismatic, and eager to ride your bike! Thank you for asking so many questions about your bikes. Thank you for coming out to race at Kids Cross and to try out bikes in our showroom. Your excitement for riding bikes is contagious.

If you have questions, please contact us at info@islabikes.com or on 503 954 2410 between 9am – 5pm PT, Monday through Friday.

Happy riding,

Arielle, Ben, Carrie, Dan, Mollie and Tim.

This is a big surprise to us. Islabikes opened here in 2013 and appeared to be doing well. They have been huge supporters of the local racing scene by sponsoring kiddie cross and a number of other events. The company helped establish the market for high-quality children’s bikes.

Their absence will definitely be felt. Stay tuned for further developments. We’ll update this post if/when we hear more about what led to this news.

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

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Tualatin-Valley Hwy claimed two more lives yesterday

Tue, 10/02/2018 - 13:52

Photo from crash scene where a man was hit by an SUV operator as he tried to walk across TV Highway yesterday.
(Beaverton PD)

One of our region’s most dangerous urban highways claimed two more victims in separate crashes yesterday.

At 3:28 am, the Beaverton Police Department says 28-year-old Uriel Santiago-Sarabia tried to walk southbound across Tualatin-Valley Highway west of 160th when he was involved in a collision with someone driving a Cadillac Escalade. After the initial collision, Mr. Santiago-Sarabia was then hit by two other drivers. The initial person who made contact with him stayed at the scene to help and police are still looking for drivers of the other two vehicles, thought to be a large truck and a sedan.

Photo of crash scene where Jim McGauvran was hit and killed.

Then at 9:15 pm, 28-year-old Jim McGauvran was hit while biking on TV Highway just east of SW 331st Avenue. According to a Washington County Sheriff statement, McGauvran was, “riding a BMX bicycle in the middle of the roadway” prior to being struck by a 55-year-old man who was driving a Jeep. The Sheriff’s office also states that McGauvran wasn’t wearing a helmet and that his bicycle was not equipped with lights (note: Oregon law does not require adults to wear helmets). McGauvran was transported to the hospital in critical condition and he died several hours later.

No citations were issued in either of these collisions.

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Wide and straight: the classic profile of a deadly highway.

TV Highway (Oregon Route 8) is owned and managed by the Oregon Department of Transportation and serves as a critical link to everyday destinations for people who live and work in the 16-mile stretch between Beaverton and Forest Grove. Unfortunately it’s also a well-known to safety advocates and planners as a danger zone. According to ODOT crash data (reported in Metro’s 2018 Regional Transportation Safety Strategy) there were 55 serious crashes on the eight-mile section between Cedar Hills Blvd and Canyon Road between 2010 and 2014, making it one of the top “High Injury Corridors” in the region.

In 2014 The Street Trust (then the Bicycle Transportation Alliance) made a safer TV Highway one of their five top priorities. They hired a Washington County-based staffer, Lisa Frank, who organized residents along the corridor to speak up for a project that would bring combination of protected bike lanes or off-street trail segments.

The Street Trust’s campaign for TV Highway seems to have ended in June 2016 when Frank left the organization (the link goes to a 404 error page). According to a blog post, Frank said their campaign resulted in, “multiple pedestrian crossings throughout the corridor, better bikeways, and sidewalk improvements.” Progress has also been made on a future rails-to-trails project that parallels the highway between Hillsboro, Cornelius, Forest Grove, and Banks.

Reached today for comment, The Street Trust Executive Director Jillian Detweiler said, “These are terrible tragedies. We strongly believe these deaths were not inevitable and TV Highway must be redesigned to protect vulnerable road users.” Detweiler also directed me to Washington County’s latest effort dubbed, Moving Forward TV Highway, which she says has several goals that The Street Trust helped elevate. It’s also no coincidence that The Street Trust’s new 501(c)4 “action fund” chose to endorse a candidate for Washington County Chair — a move Detweiler said came as a direct result of their experience with advocacy in the area.

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

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Family Biking: It’s bike-to-pumpkins season! Here’s where to go

Tue, 10/02/2018 - 10:32

Pumpkins on a bike!
(Photos: Madi Carlson)

Our Family Biking column is sponsored by Clever Cycles.

➤ Read past entries here.

Fall has arrived! That means we’re replacing outgrown rain gear, changing our minds about Halloween costumes every five minutes, and planning bike rides to pumpkins.

I was overjoyed to discover we could bike to a real live farm in nearby Boring, Oregon last October and that remains one of my favorite things we did all year. But that’s just one of many options in the area I’ll share in this week’s column and I’d love to hear your go-to pumpkins places, both near and far, simple and elaborate.

Our visit to Liepold Farms last year.

Liepold Farms in Boring, Oregon is just half a mile off the end of the Springwater Corridor Trail…granted that last half mile is pretty unpleasant: Richey Road starts at 35 mph and goes up to 45 mph and has a very small gravel-strewn shoulder. Did I mention it’s also slightly uphill? I consider it crappy, but worth it. And the multi-use trail part is terrific, 14 miles of trail from Cartlandia food cart pod. Here’s my Ride with GPS Cartlandia to Liepold Farms route with points of interest and bathrooms along the way marked.

Liepold Farms didn’t seem to have any bike parking during our visit last year, but it’s a huge space so we were welcome to make a bike pile near the info booth. The farm has it all with a hay ride, corn maze, oodles of pumpkins and apples for purchase, a plethora of food options at the weekend barbecue, and pet dogs are welcome! The 2018 Liepold Farms Fall Festival opened September 23rd and runs all October from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. most days.

The Portland Nursery kid activities are in a cozy rain-proof tent.

Portland Nursery. Nurseries are terrific non-farms places to get pumpkins. The Stark Street location of Portland Nursery has a terrific Apple Tasting Festival with tons of kid activities:

Portland Nursery Annual Apple Tasting Event

1st Weekend Kids Tent
Friday October 12, 10:00am – 5:00pm

  • Pumpkin Painting
  • Scavenger Hunt
  • Games
  • Coloring

Saturday-Sunday, Oct. 13-14, 10:00am – 5:00pm

  • Face Painting
  • Pumpkin Painting
  • Scavenger Hunt
  • Games
  • Coloring

2nd Weekend Kids Tent
Friday October 19: Field Trip Day, 9:30am – 1:30pm

  • Ms. Pearl’s Variety Show
  • Penny’s Puppet Show
  • Olive & Dingo Musical story time

Saturday-Sunday, Oct. 20-21, 10:00am – 5:00pm

  • Face Painting
  • Pumpkin Painting
  • Scavenger Hunt
  • Games
  • Coloring

We visited on a disgustingly rainy day last year and even still had a great time choosing big pumpkins and painting little pumpkins. I was very impressed by the amount of bike parking, but I hear it doesn’t accommodate all the bikes when the weather is nicer.

Portland Nursery caboose-adjacent bike racks had plenty of room on a rainy day last year.

You heard it here first: I’ll be leading a Kidical Mass family bike ride to the festival on Saturday, October 20th. Details available on the BikePortland Calendar soon.

Rossi Farms has a paint-buffered bike lane and a gorgeous view of Mt. Hood when you visit once the sun has moved west (not pictured, I visited too early in the day).

Rossi Farms. Rossi Farms is primarily a special event venue, but usually hosts a pumpkin patch in October. They’re not decided on whether or not they’ll do pumpkins this year so I’m keeping an eye on their Facebook page. The farm is conveniently close to the I-205 Bike Trail, though there are a few busy streets to cross.

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Bushue’s Family Farm. This farm, like Liepold, is in Boring, but it’s a bit farther off the Springwater Corridor trail, requiring four miles of country road riding. I’ve heard wonderful things about the farm, though it doesn’t permit pet dogs.

Sauvie Island Pumpkin Patch. Sauvie Island seems to be the most popular pumpkin patch in the area and some people bike to it, but most people drive there. I have never biked on highway 30 and may never make it to Sauvie Island. However, TriMet line 16 gets one to within 2 miles of the pumpkin patch, which I find intriguing.

Claustrophobic, subterranean grocery store pumpkins.

➤ Grocery stores. I’d love to hear in the comments if you have a favorite grocery store pumpkin patch. When we lived in Seattle we liked getting pumpkins from our closest Whole Foods Market, in a make-shift hay bale patch in the underground parking garage.

Have I missed any other fun pumpkin places? Let me know 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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Component maker Chris King will open its doors for builders and fans next week

Tue, 10/02/2018 - 10:02

King employees 75 people at their factory and headquarters in northwest industrial.
(Photos: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

Portland’s largest bike industry company plans to throw open its factory doors next week.

“We’re not anti-innovation, but how many times do you want to slam a consumer with something new every year? We’re trying to see if we can be better stewards to the industry and the consumer as a whole.”
— Jay SyCip, Chris King Precision Components

The Chris King Open House and Builder Showcase began in 2016 as a way to mark the component maker’s 40th anniversary and highlight industry partners. This year the event has grown into a mini trade show that will feature 18 of the nation’s top custom builders and nine major brands. It starts on Thursday October 11th with an industry panel discussion, then a builder’s summit on Friday the 12th, followed by a public open house Saturday the 13th.

Chris King Precision Components Design Manager Jay SyCip says the growth of the event — from 350 people in 2016 to over 1,000 who attended last year — is a testament not only to the popularity of Chris King products but also to Portland itself. “The goal is to create something like a Portland Bike Week,” he shared with me in a phone interview last week. “Portland is an important part of the bike universe as a city.” SyCip hopes other local bike companies will follow their lead in future years and host open houses of their own in the same week.

The event follows an industry-wide trend of brands eschewing the large Interbike trade show and hosting their own, more intimate gatherings. A chance to hob-nob with the builders and vendors who buy their famous headsets and hubs will be valuable for Chris King; but SyCip wants the event to be about more than just doing business. Thursday’s panel discussion will focus on the health of the industry at large and how bike shops can stay relevant to bike-lovers.

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From new axle and wheel sizes, to frames that only fit a specially sized headset or bottom bracket — Chris King is concerned about the seemingly non-stop stream of changes that confuse customers and create headaches for bike shops. SyCip believes bike shops are a “barometer of the industry.” “We’re not anti-innovation,” he said, “But how many times do you want to slam a consumer with something new every year? Can we make a progression plan? Can we be more future-proof? We’re trying to see if we can be better stewards to the industry and the consumer as a whole.”

Since Chris King is one of the rare companies that still makes their own parts, they have a vested interest in seeing a more sane rate of change. “All we do is chase people’s tales,” says Sycip. “Every switch in the industry puts us back on our heels.” King also offers important perspective, given that their customers include people who still want the classic, 1-inch, threaded headset (similar to the model that launched the company in 1976); to some of the fastest professional bike racers in the world.

The idea of getting so many builders and brands in the same room is to encourage more collaboration and make sure that the “Innovate or die” mantra isn’t killing off customers.

1,500 people are expected at the Saturday open house which will run from 12:00 to 4:00 pm at their headquarters in the northwest industrial district (2801 NW Nela St). The event will include a bike show, free coffee and beer, food from Verde Cocina and Grand Army Tavern, and factory tours. The industry panel and builder’s summit on Thursday and Friday are by RSVP only (press is welcome to attend both events, email marketing@chrisking.com if you’d like more info).

Here’s the list of builders and brands that will participate:

Builders
– Allied Cycle Works
– Argonaut Cycles
– Breadwinner Cycles
– Caletti Cycles
– Co-Motion Cycles
– DeSalvo Custom Cycles
– English Cycles LLC
– Moots
– Mosaic Cycles
– Retrotec & Inglis Cycles
– Sage Titanium Bicycles
– Sklar Bikes
– Speedvagen
– Spooky Cycles
– Stinner Frameworks
– SyCip Bicycles
– Ti Cycles Fabrication
– Black Cat

Brands
– Santa Cruz Bicycles
– ENVE Composites
– SRAM
– Stages Cycling
– QBP (Quality Bicycle Products)
– SimWorks USA
– Smith
– Fox Racing
– Alchemy Bicycle Company

For more details, check the BikePortland Calendar listing or the Facebook event page.

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

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Advocates come together at The Street Trust’s Alice Awards benefit gala

Mon, 10/01/2018 - 13:06

Only when most people arrived by bike could you have a parking area that actually contributes to the pre-event mingling.
(Photos: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

“The Alice Awards are cool again,” said an attendee at Friday night’s Alice Awards gala hosted by The Street Trust.

This year’s Alice Award winners: William Henderson and Leah Benson.

The annual gathering has been a staple for many years; a date circled on the calendar of agency staffers, activists, electeds, industry leaders, and civic do-gooders. But there have been times in recent years when the event seemed to have lost its mojo. It started when the pendulum swung too far away from honoring advocates and too close to raising money. Small decisions like announcing winners weeks before the event in hopes it would lead to more ticket sales (if you know you’re going to win you want to make sure your friends/family are there to see it right?); not allowing winners to make speeches; and an overwhelming number of auction items (and the time — and blaring auctioneer — needed to sell them all), sapped the fun away.

But something felt different on Friday. Maybe it was the venue; an open and airy warehouse in the northwest industrial district with a large outdoor space that was perfect for pre-event mingling. Maybe it was the more casual foodservice; all-you-can-eat small plates available in themed stations crafted by (friend of the blog) Spin Events and Catering. Or maybe it was all the new faces at The Street Trust; the 13-person staff is 100% new compared to just a few short years ago.

Whatever the reason, I’m here for it.

Our transportation advocacy ecosystem desperately needs a large, well-funded and entrenched nonprofit that can flex muscle at the local, regional, and statewide level. The Street Trust is the natural fit for that role and the better job they do at it, the healthier our ecosystem will be.

The Alice Awards has always been a proving ground of sorts for local politicians. They have a chance to rub shoulders and grab the ear of some of the most dedicated advocates in the region. On that note, it was notable that the role of emcee for the night was taken up by Multnomah County Commissioner Jessica Vega Pederson (I can’t ever recall an elected official having this role at the event). A former state legislator, Pederson has been popping up everywhere lately and has thrust herself into her role as the County’s go-to elected official for all things transportation. And people have noticed. When recognized by The Street Trust Executive Director Jillian Detweiler, chants of “JVP! JVP! JVP!” rang out.

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Pederson was one of just several electeds in the room on Friday. She was joined by: Portland City Council Candidate JoAnn Hardesty, Metro President-elect Lynn Peterson, Metro councilors Bob Stacey and Kathryn Harrington (who’s running for Washington County Chair), Portland City Commissioner Chloe Eudaly and her Chief of Staff Marshall Runkel, former City Commissioner Steve Novick, Beaverton City Councilor Marc San Soucie, and Congressman Earl Bluemenauer’s District Director Tara Sulzen.

The Street Trust ED Jillian Detweiler with Multnomah County Commissioner Jessica Vega Pederson in the background.

We need these folks in the room. Nonprofits that work on other issues have gala fundraisers too. If we don’t, it’d be that much easier for powerful policymakers to forget about us. If these electeds don’t respect (and fear, to some extent) The Street Trust and the rest of us around this table, they won’t be willing to shoulder the political risk needed to change the transportation status quo.

In her remarks, The Street Trust’s Jillian Detweiler asked the crowd to consider what things would be like without her organization. “If there was no Street Trust,” she said, “the movement to make walking, biking and transit safe and convenient would not have a persistent, credible, principled voice making a difference in policies and projects small and large.” Detweiler used the words “active”, “fierce”, and “inclusive” to describe the type of work it will take for The Street Trust to, “achieve the future we want.”

Detweiler named three main priorities her organization plans to focus on in the coming year: Metro’s 2020 transportation bond (via the Getting Together Coalition), the City of Portland’s Enhanced Transit Corridors (which she calls the “Get buses out of traffic now!” plan), and Vision Zero.

But enough about politicians and professional advocates. At their core, the Alice Awards is about volunteer activists who go the extra mile. This year that honor belonged to Gladys Bikes owner and founder Leah Benson and the co-founder of Ride Report, William Henderson.

In her acceptance speech, Benson said the responsibility to serve women, trans, and non-binary people belongs to all of us, not just niche businesses like hers. For Benson, it’s all about bringing new people into the fold. “It’s important for all of us to take advantage of our resources, power, access, and privilege to bring new people to the table.”

Henderson also spoke of using what he has (“time, treasure, and resources”) to do more for the community. He left the audience with a call-to-action. “Ask this question about yourselves: What more can I do?… The capacity to give in this room — not just money — is enormous. Maybe even infinite.”

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

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The Monday Roundup: Florida’s cycling problem, deadly SUVs, efficient roads, and more

Mon, 10/01/2018 - 10:43

Welcome to the week!

Sponsored by:

Greenfield Health, a different kind of comprehensive primary care clinic with two Portland locations.

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

No commute: The latest numbers from the U.S. Census show that telecommuting has become the second most common way to get to work (behind driving alone) — surpassing public transit for the first time.

Teen scooter love: High school-aged Americans are in love with scooters — but the law isn’t on their side.

Cars kill trees: Officials in Salem say they have to remove famous cherry trees that line the courtyard across from the state capitol building because the roots are damaging the roof of an underground parking garage.

A license for safety: A high school in London wants to make license plates mandatory for all students who bike to class.

The problem with Florida: The Wall Street Journal takes an in-depth and sobering look into why so many people are injured and killed while biking on one particular stretch of road in Florida.

How many riders? Google it: In addition to helping cities calculate greenhouse gas emissions, Google plans to release estimates of bicycle ridership based on people’s use of its mapping services.

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Safer intersections: With Portland’s future including a lot more protected lanes, the question will be how to make intersections safer: We should steal knowledge from protected bike lane pioneers in New York City whose DOT just released findings of a research study on the topic (PDF).

Deadly SUVs: Turns out a major factor in the huge spike in road deaths for people on foot (up 46 percent nationwide since 2009) is the dangerous design of SUVs — and federal agencies have failed to make them safer.

TriMet’s unfair enforcement: After an Oregon judge ruled TriMet’s fare enforcement practices are unconstitutional, 13 state legislators are asking the attorney general to step in and stop them.

Transpo leadership defined: SF Mayor London Breed is tired of delays to road safety measures and says she will take a larger role in projects that would improve safety for vulnerable road users.

Seattle’s decline: Our neighbors to the north are having a hard look in the mirror after the latest U.S. Census numbers showed a decline in bike commute trips — especially for women.

Maximizing road capacity: An excellent illustration by Dr. Alejandro Henao uses a sports stadium to show how many people can travel per hour per lane by various modes of transportation.

New champion, old debate: Alejandro Valverde — who served a two-year suspension for doping — won the road cycling World Championships on Sunday; but many in the cycling world are not celebrating.

Thanks to everyone who sent in tips and suggestions.

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

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The post The Monday Roundup: Florida’s cycling problem, deadly SUVs, efficient roads, and more appeared first on BikePortland.org.