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Cannondale Midwest Safari with Allan Thom

Bike Hugger - Tue, 11/14/2017 - 18:28

The car is a 1989 Porsche 911 “Safari.

The bike a 2018 Cannondale Slate Force 1.

And, the escapism is very well played.

I’ve not ridden the 18 Slate, but Mark had this to say about the genre. And, hey it’s cool to have a gravel car for a gravel bike, right? Sure

The car and the bike are metaphors for each other, they are both expertly modified machines that come alive when the pavement ends.” Equally at home crushing gravel under the all-terrain tires of his car or bike. Allan Thom finds himself on the gravel backroads he loves in search of an adventure.

Read the rest of the story and see my post on another bike from Cannondale, the Slate. They sure got the demographic right for the riding road bikes on dirt scene too, Allan Thom is the CEO of Weathertech.

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Industry news: Urban Arrow in Portland, Framebuilder Supply’s grant, Velotech expands, Left Coast makes house calls

Bike Portland - Tue, 11/14/2017 - 14:39

Who’s ready for some local industry news?

Here are the latest tidbits we’ve come across from Portland’s ever-changing bike business landscape.

Framebuilder Supply names first-ever “Women Build Bikes” grant winner

Framebuilder Supply owners Tony Tapay and Mike Cobb want to see more women among the building ranks.

(Photo courtesy Jackie Mautner)

“When Mike and I attended the recent Handmade Bike Show here in Portland,” Tapay said in a company statement, “at one point we were all asked to fine into a room for a group picture. Other than a food vendor and a PGE rep, there were no women.”

To fix that, Tony and Mike have announced Jackie Mautner as the recipient of their first ever Women Build Bikes grant. Mautner was nominated by other women in the Portland bike industry. They chose her in part because of her answers to a list of questions.

When they asked Mautner, “What do you believe you bring to the framebuilding world that is unique?”, here’s how she replied: “I hope to build the community of women, transgender, and non-binary folks within the framebuilding industry. Creating spaces where we can support one another on our own individual and/or collaborative journeys, as well as breaking down barriers to achieving our goals such as under-representation.”

Mautner, whom you might recall from an interview here on BikePortland a month ago, will receive a $1,200 credit toward materials at Framebuilder Supply.

Velotech acquires

Portland-based Velotech, owners and operators of Western Bikeworks,,, and, has expanded its retail footprint once again.

New website.

They now own This comes about one year after Western Bikeworks took over the local tri shop, Athletes Lounge.

Velotech says they’ll operate as a separate division and it will replace Athlete’s Lounge as their main triathlon brand. Here’s more from Velotech:

“This is an exciting time for triathletes in the Pacific Northwest,” said Gary Wallesen, Athletes Lounge General Manager. “We’ll continue the TriSports rewards program, and have already moved customer accounts and loyalty points over to our system. We’ve relaunched the website with the goal of offering a wide range of great products at the best prices, a wealth of resources for training and competing, and exceptional customer service.” The Athletes Lounge retail store is located in Tigard, a suburb of Portland, and will rebrand as TriSports’s brick-and-mortar headquarters.

Dutch e-cargo bike brand has Portland connection

When I was recently in Amsterdam, I couldn’t believe how many Urban Arrows I saw. These electric, bakfiets-style bikes were everywhere. Now you’re likely to see more of them in Portland because the Dutch company has named Portland resident Ed Rae as its U.S. agent. Many of you might already know Rae. He’s a familiar face at local bike events and he was the North American sales rep for Brompton for the past eight years.

An Urban Arrow in the wild in Amsterdam.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Here’s more on Ed’s new gig at Urban Arrow via

“We see the U.S. rapidly accepting and accommodating use of the bicycle in a much broader context than sport, race and recreation,” said Henning Thomas, the company’s international sales manager. Urban Arrow bikes are designed from inception as e-bikes, as opposed to electric conversions, the company said.

Rae said, “While there may still be controversy about e-bikes for some applications and locales I think we all agree for cargo and transit, such as a parent moving children and a batch of groceries, or a business delivering product, or tradesman appearing at worksite and more, the additional power and range is welcome or even essential.”

“The growth we all want and need isn’t going to come from yet another wheel size or shock design for off road, nor from another added cog or further 50 gram reduction in road bikes,” he said. He said for bike retailing to survive the industry must “bring into stores some of the 90 percent of people who never darken the door of bike shops.”

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--> --> --> Left Coast Bicycles now makes house calls

Portland-based mobile bike shop Left Coast Bicycles has found as niche by showing up at workplaces to perform service and maintenance for employees for many companies in the region. Now company owner Aaron Michalson will come to right to your front door.

(Photo: Left Coast Bicycles)

The service aims to rid people of the hassle of taking their bike into a shop. All you do is book a time and one of their mechanics will pick-up your bike and give it a full tune-up.

Left Coast Bicycles was founded in 2012. Michalson is a retail bike shop veteran who realized that he could service bikes at people’s workplaces while encouraging employers to promote more biking to work. “Our business clients realize bringing a mechanic to their business is a great way to express support for biking as a way of life and is a effective means to help put biking-as-transport on equal footing as other transportation modes.”

Left Coast is a full-service mobile shop that is 100 percent bike-powered using a fleet of cargo-trailers operated by 2 full-time mechanics and several on-call staff when things get busy.

Have a local industry tip? Send it in and we’ll consider it for the next round-up.

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

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Meet the BikeCrafters: TiGr Lock, Orquidia Violeta, and piggyflowers

Bike Portland - Tue, 11/14/2017 - 12:54

In case you haven’t heard, Portland’s bike-centric holiday gift fair is back! BikeCraft 2017 is December 15-17 at the Bike Farm (1810 NE 1st Ave.) and it’s powered by Microcosm Publishing.

Last week we shared our first in a series of vendor intros written up by Microcosm Co-owner and Marketing Director Elly Blue. Here are three more…

Orquidia Violeta – Orchid Velasquez (website)

I first met years ago at a Portland Society meeting, where she introduced herself as a maker of “veggie onesies.” She still makes adorable outfits for tiny babies and has expanded into other kids’ clothes like ponchos and headbands with the power to make a small child look like a delicious piece of fruit. Each item is a unique work of art.

What’s your bike craft?
I sew hand-dyed kids clothes from recycled fabric, with vegetable and push-bike appliqué pockets.

How did you get started?
I design and sew hand-made wearable artwork. I started fifteen years ago. I ride a bike for transportation. I have sewn other bikey items in the past, but I’m currently focused on kids.

What’s your favorite thing about what you do?
I love to work with color, and see little people wearing my craft.

What’s your biggest challenge with it?
Everything I make is one-of-a-kind, so it’s hard to operate like other businesses.

What does bicycling mean to you?
Bicycling is freedom. I can go anywhere, anytime, and it’s fun. I pick up fabric, commute to a shared sewing space, deliver to stores, and sometimes sell at farmers markets – all by bike!

piggyflowers – Shannon (website)

Shannon, aka piggyflowers, is returning to BikeCraft this year to fill the demand for sturdy, attractive, reflective flowers to decorate your bicycle basket, hair, clothes, cat, etc. People who are into stuff like this—well, we know exactly who we are.

What’s your bike craft?
I make Petal Brites: reflective flower accessories for bikes and more.

How did you get started?
I made my first Petal Brite when the fuzzy centers fell off the flowers on my bike basket garland. I covered the bare spots with reflective stickers and my garland wasn’t just pretty, now it had a safety feature! I thought other people would like reflective items that were not only practical, but pretty. I opened an Etsy shop and started selling Petal Brites in 2011.

What’s your favorite thing about what you do?
I love making Petal Brites! Whether it’s working with flowers that catch my eye or bringing a customer’s special request into bloom, I know it’s complete when the combination makes me smile. I also love it when my customers let me know they are happy with their Petal Brites and share photos of them in use.

What’s your biggest challenge with it?
Because I have a day job, finding time to devote to my Petal Brites is challenging, especially coordinating photo shoots and photo processing with my husband. But his photos are always worth the wait.

What does bicycling mean to you?
I started commuting by bike when my daughter was 11 months old because I missed getting regular exercise. I was working full-time and didn’t want to spend more time away from my daughter going to an exercise class. I had a short commute and riding my bike took 10 minutes longer than driving so it was the perfect way to fit exercise into my day. Eighteen years later, my bike is still my preferred way to travel. Bicycling keeps me physically and mentally healthy. I love my bike.

TiGr Lock – Jim Loughlin (website)

One of the coolest things about BikeCraft is getting to meet folks who are producing something totally new and different with a ground-up business model. Jim Loughlin and his brother are a Kickstarter success story and they make bike locks that don’t look like any I’ve seen before. I’m really looking forward to checking these out.

What’s your bike craft?
My brother and I make bike locks. Not a very crafty kind of item, but it feels like a craft business to us. We put a lot of thought into design, production process, sourcing raw materials, how things function. We form and assemble each lock by hand. Our finger prints are literally on every item we ship.

How did you get started?
Our dad got started in the lock business on a more industrial scale in the 1970s. We joined him later in life. The idea for the TiGr came out of work we were doing for a different security challenge. Being lifelong cyclists we’ve been thinking about bike locks for quite a while. We introduced the original TiGr Lock idea via Kickstarter in 2011.

What’s your favorite thing about what you do?
Working with my brother.

What’s your biggest challenge with it?
My brother can be a pain in the @#$.

What does bicycling mean to you?
Freedom. As a kid, I loved to use my bike to get myself where I wanted/needed to go without having to ask an adult for ride in a car. As an adult I love being able to get places without having to buy gas, or worry about traffic.

If you’re ask excited about BikeCraft as we are, don’t forget to snatch up a few tickets for the special Friday night preview party (and benefit for the Bike Farm!).

Thank you Elly for these great Q&As. For more details and a full list of vendors, check the official BikeCraft website and stay tuned for more vendor profiles.

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

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Truck operator in Water Avenue fatality cited for dangerous turn, failure to signal

Bike Portland - Tue, 11/14/2017 - 11:26

The man driving the garbage truck that was involved in the collision that killed Tamar Monhait on August 21st has been issued two traffic citations.

The Portland Police Bureau has cited Paul Thompson for a Dangerous Left Turn and Failure to Signal a Turn. The former is a Class C traffic violation that comes with a presumptive fine of $260 and the latter is a Class D violation that has a presumptive fine of $110. If Thompson challenges the citations in court the fines could be dropped to $130 and $60 respectively.

After a fatal collision, it’s standard procedure for the PPB to defer any citation decisions until after the District Attorney completes their investigation. On October 26th the Multnomah County DA declined to pursue criminal charges against Thompson. The DA found no evidence that Thompson engaged in the behaviors required to reach the legal threshold to prove a criminal recklessness or negligence.

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Monhait was operating her bicycle at a safe speed within the bike lane prior to the collision. However, investigators determined she was under the influence of intoxicants, was not wearing reflective or high contrast clothing, and did not have a legally required front light on her bicycle. Those factors and others were noted in a memo issued by the DA that explains why police chose to not pursue elevated charges against Thompson.

Even though Thompson was operating a large truck in the central city and made a dangerous turn across a bike lane without using his signal, the PPB felt his actions did not even warrant a (non-criminal) Careless driving charge. As defined in ORS 811.135, someone is guilty of careless driving if they drive, “in a manner that endangers or would be likely to endanger any person or property.”

I asked the lead DA on this case, Nicole Jergovic, why the police didn’t cite for careless driving (and the additional consequence of causing death to a vulnerable roadway user). Jergovic said the rationale for a finding of careless is similar to what was laid out in the DA’s memo. “We’re looking at the same fact base that applies to the criminal case,” she said. After all is said and done, in the eyes of the DA and the police, the only things Thompson did wrong were to not use his turn signal and not yield the right of way.

Monhait’s family is seeking $24 million in a lawsuit against the trucking company who Thompson was driving for. Lawyers for the trucking company, Republic Services Alliance Group/McInnis Waste Systems, Inc., blame Monhait for own death.

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

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One fatality, one serious injury collision on outer southeast roadways over the weekend

Bike Portland - Mon, 11/13/2017 - 15:16

View of police flares from crash investigation at SE 148th and Division.
(Photo: Sarah Iannarone)

One person was killed and another person sustained life-threatening injuries in two separate crashes this weekend. Both of them happened about one mile apart in southeast Portland.

On Saturday evening around 5:40, Portland police responded to a collision near the intersection of SE 148th and Division. They discovered that a bicycle rider had been hit by a driver and was lying on the ground. “Based on preliminary information,” read their statement, “officers believe the motorist and bicyclist were both traveling south on Southeast 148th Avenue when the bicyclist was struck by the vehicle.”

The man was believed to have “serious life threatening injuries.”

About 24 hours later, officers responded to another crash about one mile north at the corner of SE Stark and 146th. This one also involved a vulnerable person — a walker — who had been struck by an automobile user. A 40-year-old man was pronounced dead at the scene. “Based on the information learned during the preliminary investigation,” reads the statement, “officers believe the pedestrian was on Southeast Stark Street when he was struck by a vehicle traveling on Southeast Stark Street.”

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PBOT engineering plans (15% design) for 148th and Division.

In March another person was killed while walking across Stark just two blocks away at 148th.

The Portland Bureau of Transportation ranks Stark and 148th as the 10th most dangerous intersection in the city. 148th and Division is ranked 12th.

PBOT is currently working to implement a Safety Action Plan for Outer Division. Among the updates planned for 148th are a closure of an existing southbound slip lane and new school zone beacons.

We’ve reached out to the PPB for updates on both of these collisions but have yet to hear back.

Sunday’s fatality brings the yearly tally of Portland traffic deaths to 39*. By this date last year we had 36 deaths and 44 total.

NOTE: This post originally stated the death total as 43; but we have gotten clarification from PBOT that — while 43 people have died — the officially recorded total so far is 39. This is because several of this year’s deaths fall outside PBOT’s criteria. Fatalities are excluded from the official count when: a person dies more than 30 days after the crash, the death is ruled a suicide, a motor vehicle is not involved, or if it occurs in a parking lot.

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

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The Monday Roundup: Equiticity, beating bike theft, Montreal’s new mayor, and more

Bike Portland - Mon, 11/13/2017 - 11:49

This week’s Monday Roundup is sponsored by Urban Tribe cargo bikes, which are now 15 percent off for BikePortland readers.

Here are the best stories that came across our desks last week…

Middle finger hero: Here’s the story behind Juli Briskman, that woman who flipped off Donald Trump’s motorcade last month.

“Equiticity” for mobility justice: The founder of Chicago’s “Slow Roll” movement has started a new group whose first project will be dockless bike-share libraries in communities of color.

Side guards in Seattle: Our northern neighbors are not just talking about side guards on trucks like we are, they have actually began to install them (and from a local manufacturer to boot!). (H/T Seattle Bike Blog)

Beautiful streets: Seattle has a new street design manual that looks really fantastic.

Montreal’s new mayor: People are buzzing about Valérie Plante and her potential to make biking better in what has traditionally been North America’s most bike-friendly city.

End of the automobile era: When a former VP of General Motors says cars as we know them will be obsolete in five years to make way for autonomous modules, it’s probably worth hearing him out.

E-bikes are a revolution: At least that’s the feeling of one reporter from The Economist who used one around London for a week.

Encouraging distraction: Why the hell is the Arizona DOT sending traffic alerts via text message to people’s phones?

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Get out of our bike lanes! People who drive for companies like Uber and Lyft think they can park anywhere. A San Francisco lawmakers wants to establish clearly marked pick-up zones to help fix the problem.

Treat them right and hold them accountable: An employment court in London has ruled that Uber drivers are employees — not the independent contractors the company has always insisted they are.

Beating bike theft: Vancouver BC has embraced Project 529 and put in the necessary work to make a significant dent in bike theft.

Great streets don’t have cars: Inspired by the City of London’s plans to make Oxford Street carfree, Citylab has this how-to guide for how we could do the same thing here in Portland. Burnside? NW 13th? Sandy? Pick one!

GOP tax plan: We already know the petty move from the GOP to axe the paltry Bicycle Commuter Tax Benefit; but did you see how they also carved out a loophole for auto dealers?

Victim blaming bill: A lawmaker in Chicago wants new fines for people who use cell phones while walking across the street. Thankfully he’s not being taken serious. Yet.

Wool giants merge: Smartwool’s parent company has bought Icebreaker.

Video of the Week: Even in bike utopias like Nijmegen there are still tactical urbanists at work (and they use duct tape!):

Thanks for all the submissions folks.

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

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Tamika Butler, racism, and the segregation of public space

Bike Portland - Mon, 11/13/2017 - 10:01

Tamika Butler after her talk at PSU Wednesday night.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

“Why don’t more African-Americans ride bicycles?”

That headline from a national advocacy organization asks a question that’s common to many planners, policymakers, and advocates. It’s a question that helped spark a discussion about equity that has been a focus of many programs, studies and initiatives over the past decade.

For the most part the response to that question has centered around standard stuff like research and data, attempts to uncover the barriers to bicycling faced by people of color, and how organizations can be more inclusive. Those are important parts of the work; but what if we’ve been avoiding the root cause?

What if we aren’t making enough progress because we’re too uncomfortable to acknowledge the racist foundation of our land-use policies, transportation system and planning culture? What if the white privilege of many planning and advocacy professionals has led to the segregation of black people out of bike lanes? What if many black people do bike, but in places white people don’t usually associate with “cyclists” or “commuters”?

Those are just some of the questions that bounced around my head as I biked home from a talk given by Tamika Butler on Wednesday night. Butler was chosen by Portland State University’s Inititiave for Bicycle & Pedestrian Innovation to give the Anne Niles Active Transportation Lecture. She didn’t hold anything back.

“For me, as a black person, what does segregation feel like? It’s this feeling. This heaviness. It’s this constant thing on you.”
— Tamika Butler

Through a tapestry of personal stories, this former civil rights lawyer and director of the Los Angeles Bicycle Coalition created a raw and extremely relevant picture of what it’s like to be a young, black, gay woman in America. And she did it in front of a room full of people who desparately needed to hear it.

On the surface, most of Butler’s talk had nothing to do with transportation. But underneath, it had everything to do with transportation. The title was: “Urban Segregation and the Intersections of Race and Place.”

Butler grew up in Okinawa, Japan, then lived in Omaha, Nebraska before moving to Los Angeles where she currently leads the Los Angeles Neighborhood Land Trust, a nonprofit that builds parks in underserved areas.

In front of a mostly white crowd that included an impressive amount of advocates, planners, and agency staffers from the city, region and state (even saw a few Oregon Department of Transportation staff), Butler spoke in a way that mirrored her message. She fearlessly shared how her life is worse because she’s black, and urged white people to be just as fearless in helping make it better.

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“Segregation is about public space. It’s about the way we use our land. It’s about realizing this white woman doesn’t understand that the reason she never saw black folks swimming is because there were people in power who made policies that intentionally kept us away from them.”
— Tamika Butler

Butler went beyond the typical topics everyone in the room assumed a talk about segregation from a black woman would cover. Asked what the audience thought of when she mentioned segregation, Butler heard a familiar response: “Schools, red-lining, gerrymandering, white flight, interstate highways,” and so on. Those are the things white people think about. But for Butler, the issue is visceral.

“For me, as a black person, what does segregation feel like?” Butler shared. “It’s when you’re out in a rainstorm and you’re getting drenched and even when you come inside you just can’t get warm. You can’t get the chill off you. That’s what it’s like being a person of color everyday. It’s this feeling. This heaviness. It’s this constant thing on you.”

To illustrate her feelings, Butler shared a story about a co-worker who realized she’d gone swimming and said, “I didn’t know black people could swim.” After shaking off the shock, Butler explained to the woman that the reason that fallacy exists is because, “We we were in a different pool because your parents didn’t want you to swim with my mom.”

Returning to the audience, Butler said, “Segregation is about public space. It’s about the way we use our land. It’s about realizing this white woman doesn’t understand that the reason she never saw black folks swimming is because there were people in power who made policies that intentionally kept us away from them.”

Butler would intersperse stories like this with direct calls to the professionals in the room. “I think that in order to do our best work as folks in this space, we have to be willing to understand the stories of the people who often aren’t at the table,” she said. “We have to be willing to confront the racist history that our country and the systems that we have created in our country were built upon.”

Butler referred to this book by Richard Rothstein in her presentation. The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America (2017, Liveright)

Racism is at the root of land-use policy in America. Butler’s worry is that the system will never be dismantled if people are too afraid to even say that word. “How do you change systems if you aren’t able to talk about what’s really at the root of those systems?” she lamented, after telling us about a 90-minute meeting on equity she attended earlier in the day where the only people who brought up racism were the people of color.

“I don’t want to talk about equity,” she said. “I want to talk about racism. I want to talk about why it shuts down the conversation.”

And if your feelings are hurt after reading this far, Butler doesn’t care.

While acknowledging gun laws and black-on-black crime, she spoke about how black people have been forced to live in unhealthy — and ultimately deadly — neighborhoods, “Because white people don’t want us somewhere else. When they don’t have to see us, and when they don’t have to hear about our pain, they don’t have to do anything about it. And that is really tough.”

“You zoned to allow oil drilling, to allow toxic plants,” she continued. “You zoned to make it such that there are people who look like me in Michigan who still don’t have clean water? And you want me to worry about how you might feel?”

That’s what Butler calls “centering whiteness” and she’s not having it. “I mean, I kind of think white people should feel bad. Because the policies were intentional.”

Butler said she understands that talking about white privilege and racism makes people feel uncomfortable. “But the reality as a person of color,” she shared, “especially in planning spaces, especially in transportation spaces — it is always uncomfortable. But we can’t make you uncomfortable for a second because you’d rather conceptualize racism in transportation as being something that happened a long time ago? You would rather conceptualize it as being about making buses that were no longer segregated and now we’ve fixed the problem?… I don’t even put racism on my first slide even though that’s all I’m talking about because segregation makes white people feel better.”

There’s no debate in Butler’s mind: Transportation is a racial justice issue. And it’s about life or death for people of color — especially in today’s America where white supremacy is alive and well. The reality of our times added a sense of urgency to Butler’s admonitions.

“We can’t even get a flat tire on the part of the highway where we’re not supposed to be, or else, somebody’s gonna’ say we look like a dangerous dude. And they’re going to kill us!” Butler continued. “We have to realize that’s all about transportation, and it’s all about racism.”

To truly tackle equity, Butler said the people who have historically had the least, must be given the most. “You’ve got to give us more because for so long you planned your cities, you planned your institutions, you planned your curriculums, you planned everything to keep us down.” Butler said she wants a seat at the table to make a decision, not just to be a decoration.

As I soaked up Butler’s words, my mind flashed back to my experiences covering the North Williams Traffic Safety Project — especially when she said: “We have to recognize that when white people come into our spaces with their craft beer and their record players and their bikes, all of the sudden the way we’re treated in our own communities is different, because the reality is we were perfectly segregated to the other side of town; but now that you can’t afford your side of the town and you want to be on our side of town, now we’re an inconvenience.”

I’ve learned a lot about my own privilege and racism since the Williams project (and when I mistakenly identified an activist as a police officer). Hearing Butler’s words reminded me I still have much to learn. Her delivery wasn’t bombastic like a preacher, it was personal. Butler spoke from her heart. Even as she skillfully wove in comic relief (in the form of pop culture references that included Rihanna, Drake, and Justin Bieber) her fear and anger were palpable.

So, what exactly can white people do to make things better? Butler said the first step is to admit that you’re privileged, and as a byproduct, racist (“And it’s hard when your instinct is to say, ‘But I’m not a racist,” she said. “You are. We all are.”) Then apologize. Then get to work to dismantle the system. And that doesn’t mean just hashtags or changing your profile picture on social media. She doesn’t want more allies, she wants accomplices.

For white advocates, planners and policymakers it’s not just about just listening to people of color, or about feeling bad for a few hours, then returning to our good fortune of forgetfulness. We have to stand up, be ready to help, cede power, and do more to lift that “heaviness”.

“Everybody has to walk out of this room feeling they have something to do,” Butler said.

What will you do?

More on Tamika Butler: Recording of this talk is now available on YouTube. She was also a guest (with Keyonda McQuarters) on the Why Isn’t Anyone Talking About This? Podcast last week. This talk was recorded by the hosts at PSU. I’ll post the link when it’s up. Also see

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

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2018 Cannondale Synapse Dura-Ace

Velospace - Sat, 11/11/2017 - 20:25
Frame / Size / Year:
Syapse (carbon) 56cm 2018

Who climbs over a train when they’re tired of waiting? These guys

Bike Portland - Fri, 11/10/2017 - 13:56

#pdxcyclists jump a train near SE 12th and Clinton St. The train began moving 1-2 min. later.

— Mark Graves (@markwgraves) November 10, 2017

Today Portlander Mark Graves (who happens to be a photographer and reporter for The Oregonian) just happened to be waiting at a train crossing at SE Clinton and 12th.

You won’t believe what happened next. Or maybe you will. Heck, maybe you’ve done it?

As you can see in the video he posted to Twitter, several people — tired of waiting for the train to move along – picked up their bikes and then climbed up onto and then over the train!

This seems bonkers to me. I’ve been held behind a few trains in this area over the years and I have to admit I’ve let my mind consider doing this; but I’d be too scared. Scared of the potential injury consequences and scared of getting caught and/or shamed if someone saw me do it (can you imagine the field day on local media and Twitter if “the BikePortland guy” got caught doing this?!).

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When I first saw Mark’s tweet, I figured a lot of people would use the video to confirm their bias against “those stupid bicyclists.” The reality is, behaviors like this are mode-agnostic. People do just as crazy things in their cars. Our friend Jessica Engelman said, “I’ve seen people in cars drive up onto the sidewalk, make a U-turn, then go the wrong way up a one-way street when stopped at that intersection by a long freight train in an attempt to drive around. So yes, some people in cars attempt to do the same thing.”

Long waits for trains is a big issue in the central eastside and inner southeast. The railroad companies still use manual switches, which means a human has to come outo and adjust the tracks by hand. We’ve heard TriMet is trying to get new, automatic switches paid for in their Division Transit Project so their new, “faster” buses, don’t get caught waiting.

Have you ever done this? Any ideas on a better solution than portaging bikes cyclocross-style or doing dangerous things in our cars to get through?

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

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“Outrageous” to repeal tax break for 850,000 U.S. bicycle commuters, Rep. Blumenauer says

Bike Portland - Fri, 11/10/2017 - 11:56

There is no more staunch defender of the Bicycle Commuter Tax Benefit, a current federal provision that allows people to exclude (a whopping) $20 a month from taxable income for “expenses related to regular bicycle commuting.”

So when emerged that the Senate GOP’s tax plan would kill it, while retaining a $255 monthly commute benefit for parking cars, we knew Oregon Congressman Earl Blumenauer would have something to say about it. After all, he authored the current benefit and championed its passage in 2008. To Blumenauer, it’s a simple matter of equity.

“Stop the discrimination against people who burn calories instead of fuel,” he shared with a room full of advocates on Capitol Hill at the 2007 National Bike Summit.

Now the Senate GOP wants to renew that discrimination.

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Here’s the section from page 34 of the “Tax Cut and Jobs Act” (PDF):

This morning Blumenauer said this is “outrageous”:

“This is reflective of the larger GOP tax plan—taking something away from working Americans to pay for massive tax breaks for the 1 percent and their kids. With over 850,000 cyclists regularly commuting to work, there is absolutely no reason to wipe out incentives for one of the cleanest, healthiest, and environmentally friendly modes of transportation that exists today. This is outrageous. The Senate should drop this misguided proposal and work to improve the bike benefit.”

10 years after he fought to pass the bike commuting tax benefit, now he’s fighting to save it.

Keep it up Earl. We’ve got your back.

UPDATE: The League of American Bicyclists has issued an action alert to save the Bike Commuter Benefit.

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

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Plastic wands installed to protect bicycle users on NE Multnomah, NE 1st, and N Greeley

Bike Portland - Fri, 11/10/2017 - 11:21

Newly installed plastic wands create some physical protection for a bike lane on North Greeley Avenue just south of the Adidas campus.
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

The Portland Bureau of Transportation is on a bit of a plastic wand binge.

In the past week we’ve learned of white wands (a.k.a. delineators, plastic bollards, candlesticks) going up in the Lloyd District, near the Convention Center, and on Greeley near the Adidas campus in north Portland.

My first thought was that this was finally a moment I’ve been looking forward to for a long time: When PBOT systematically goes through their dozens of miles of buffered bike lanes and adds protection to them. Unfortunately PBOT says that time hasn’t come yet; but it’s still good to see them adding physical separators in specific locations.

PBOT Public Information Officer Dylan Rivera confirmed yesterday that they haven’t developed a standard design application for protecting bike lanes, “but have been able to install some on a case-by-case basis.”

I took a closer look at all three of these locations yesterday. Here are my thoughts, along with comments from Rivera.

NE 1st Avenue near the Convention Center

This is a stealth little connection between the Steel Bridge and the Lloyd District. NE 1st in the shadow of I-5 and the Oregon Convention Center gets people from the bike signal at NE Oregon and Interstate to the bikeway on NE Multnomah.

Here’s the PBOT rationale via Rivera: “We installed the wands on 1st Ave because a lot of people driving were using the bike lane as a de facto right turn lane there.”

This is a straightforward application of wands and it vastly improves the short stretch of bikeway they’re used on. Unfortunately there’s still a pesky one-block gap to Multnomah where bicycle users are thrown into a shared lane (with a sharrow). With these new wands, we’re now tantalizingly close to a continous, low-stress connection between the Esplanade and the protected bikeway on NE Multnomah.

NE Multnomah at 9th

Some of you might have noticed these new wands in one intersection on NE Multnoman outside of Lloyd Center Mall. They’ve been added to help people navigate through the mixing zones — areas at intersections where auto users merge into the bikeway to turn right.

The mere fact that we’ve added wands here shows the limits of paint-only bikeway design. Without the wands PBOT relies on yield carats, sharrows and turn arrows in hopes that the straight-going biker and right-turning driver interactions go smoothly.

Rivera said this specific application was done in cooperation with a National Institute for Transportation and Communities (NITC, based at Portland State University) study being led by Chris Monsere. “That study is looking at intersection treatments for protected bicycle lanes and Chris wanted to study the behaviors associated with a protected entry into a mixing zone,” Rivera shared. “In-house we consider that a good design and were more than happy to assist in this way.”

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--> --> --> Greeley south of Willamette near Adidas

There used to be wands here, but they’re gone now.

PBOT took advantage of a paving project on Greeley between Going and Killingsworth to add a buffer to existing bike lanes. Between Going and Emerson (right in front of the Adidas headquarters campus) they’ve now added plastic wands inside the buffered area.

Earlier this week we heard from longtime reader and highly experienced bicycle rider John Beaston (and winner of the 2017 Volunteer of the Year award from The Street Trust) about his concerns with this application. He cc’d us on an email to PBOT’s “Safe” email hotline ( that tracks and responds to livability concerns. “While we appreciate the effort to improve things,” Beaston wrote, “the new bike lane treatment on N Greeley has made things worse for transit users, people on bikes and drivers.”

“We hope this design gets another look and corrected, since it is not been engineered using principles of Vision Zero.”
— John Beaston, local resident

Beaston lives a block away and said he bikes and uses the bus on Greeley to get downtown. His main concern is that PBOT placed wands right in front of a bus stop. “Bus drivers must now stop in the travel lane due to the bollards,” he shared. “Transit users must now carefully cross a wide, fairly high-speed (slight downhill) bike lane. This has created a high-conflict situation where one did not exist previously. In addition, when a bus is stopped in the travel lane, cars now cross the double-yellow line to pass. The double-yellow area also has a northbound left-turn lane just south of the transit stop. There will definitely be conflict between left-turning vehicles and those passing a stopped bus.”

The wands in front of the bus stop are now gone. We aren’t sure if PBOT removed them or if they were victims of bus and car operators.

In his opinion, the “plastic bollards” are ineffective — especially because they continue to be dislodged and scattered all over the bike lane.

“We hope this design gets another look and corrected,” Beaston wrote in his email to the City, “since it is not been engineered using principles of Vision Zero.”

Rivera said the addition of plastic wands in this location, “Is consistent with Director [Leah] Treat’s directive that we ‘make protected bicycle lanes the preferred design on roadways where separation is called for….[on both] existing roadways as well as …[on] new construction.'” We asked Rivera to respond specifically to Beaston’s concerns but haven’t heard back yet.

One of our big concerns with these newly protected bike lanes is maintenance. There were piles of leaves (not to mention a dead wand or two) in the Greeley bike lanes. PBOT has at least one small bike lane sweeper; but we have yet to hear about a strategic plan to keep these new bikeways clean. The agency’s newly released Winter Weather Plans made no mention of cleaning protected bikeways.

And I’m not sure what’s better: Unprotected and clean bikeways, or protected and dirty ones. I wish we didn’t have to choose.

It’s great to see PBOT prioritize protection on bikeways, but the installation of these wands still needs a bit of work. Quality of bikeways matters just as much as quantity. We’ve got to this right if we want people to use these bikeways — and if we want people who don’t use them to respect them.

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

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Jobs of the Week: Go By Bike, ECHOS Communications, Trek Travel, Portland Pedal Power

Bike Portland - Fri, 11/10/2017 - 08:35

Want to work on your bike or work in the bike industry? We’ve got four great job opportunities for you to consider

Learn more about each one via the links below…

–> Cycle, Deliver + Cater Food in Downtown Portland – Portland Pedal Power

–> Bike Tour Guide – Trek Travel

–> Outdoor / Lifestyle / Bike PR Agency Seeks Intern – ECHOS Communications

–> PT morning bike valet attendant – Go By Bike

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For a complete list of available jobs, click here.

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

These are paid listings. And they work! If you’d like to post a job on the Portland region’s “Best Local Blog” two years running, you can purchase a listing online for just $50 by visiting our Job Listings page.

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

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Weekend Event Guide: Showers Pass sale, trail work, Crusade finale, and more

Bike Portland - Thu, 11/09/2017 - 12:55

Trail work should be a part of everyone’s healthy trail riding diet.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

The Weekend Event Guide is sponsored by Abus Bike Locks. Thanks Abus!

What’s on your list this weekend? The weather looks a bit iffy, but you never know how it’ll end up so you might as well plan to ride.

If the national news has dampened your mood, let me make two suggestions: Evalyn Parry’s SPIN, a show about the bicycle’s impact on women; and the two trail work days on Saturday where you can do something to improve your community. And please support the Showers Pass Warehouse Sale on Saturday. They advertised it with us and we’re grateful for their business!

Check out our selections below. And don’t forget to check the full calendar for the latest updates…

Friday, Saturday, and Sunday

SPIN by Evalyn Parry at Triangle Productions (1785 NE Sandy Blvd)
A one-woman show about how bicycles have helped all women. There are three shows, including a kid/family matinee on Sunday. More info here.

Friday, November 10th

Midnight Mystery Ride – 12:00 am (Location TBA)
Join friends old and new on a midnight bicycle ride through Portland that ends at a mystery location. More info here.

Saturday, November 11th (Veteran’s Day)

Veteran’s Day Breakfast Ride – 8:00 am at St. Matthews Church (11100 NE Skidmore)
Join the Portland Wheelmen Touring Club for this annual ride out to pancake breakfast at Corbett High School via the Historic Columbia River Highway. Bring cash for the ‘cakes! More info here.

Showers Pass Warehouse Sale – 9:00 am to 12:00 pm (2101 SE 6th Ave)
Great timing for this 7th annual sale event. Get great discounts on SP gear that will keep you warm and dry this winter. Get there early to avoid crowds. More info here.

Powell Butte Trail Work Party – 9:00 am to 12:00 pm at Powell Butte main entrance
Hands on Portland and Portland Parks & Rec are hosting this event. Help clear trails of invasive ivy, rebuild fences, and buff out trails. They provide tools and coffee/tea/snacks. More info here.

Hidden Gems of the Springwater Ride – 10:00 am at Westmoreland Park (7530 SE 22nd)
Join Tom from Puddlecycle for secret spots along the Springwater Corridor path — including a railyard, the Belmont Goats, waterfall and more! 14-mile loop. More info here.

Fall Dig at the Dirt Lab – 11:00 am to 3:00 pm at Gateway Green (north of Halsey at I-205 path)
Help keep Gateway Green awesome. Join the NW Trail Alliance and Friends of Gateway Green to get the site prepped for winter weather. Kids OK, but leave the dogs at home please. Lunch will be provided. More info here.

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--> --> --> Sunday, November 12th

Cyclocross Crusade Series Final Race! – All day at Barton Park in Estacada (19009 SE Barton Park Road)
Not only is the final event of the series, there’s a chili cook-off theme so you know things will get interesting. Camping available. More info here.

The Sauvie Shootout – 9:00 am at Ovation Coffee (941 NW Overton)
Portland’s fastest weekend training ride. Be there to meet other roadies and test your fitness, no matter how strong you are. More info here.

CORVIDAE Bike Club Ride – 2:00 pm at Peninsula Park (corner of North Rosa Parks Way and Albina)
I haven’t learned much about CORVIDAE bike club yet. This is their monthly ride and it’ll be slow-paced. Organizers say, “This is a safe environment for all, no aggressive, sexist, racist, or any other kind of bullshit will be tolerated. We aim to promote bike safety and accessibility, and to inspire biking as a alternative to fossil fueled travel within Portland.” More info here.

Zoobomb – 8:30 pm at The Pyle (SW 13th and Burnside)
The one that started it all. Try if you haven’t yet. Rumor has it 60 Minutes will feature them in an upcoming episode. More info here.

Did we miss anything? If so, give it a shout out in the comments. And have a great weekend!

Stay plugged into all the bike and transportation-related events around the region via our comprehensive event calendar and sign up here to get this Weekend Guide delivered to your inbox.

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

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Portland Art Museum to unveil new plans for Rothko Pavillion expansion

Bike Portland - Thu, 11/09/2017 - 11:43

Current view of Madison Plaza with green line showing the public easement.

After it faced stiff opposition at a City Council hearing in April, the Portland Art Museum has revised plans for their $50 million Rothko Pavillion expansion.

Seven months later they’re ready to share a new one.

At issue is how the plans will impact Madision Plaza, a public easement between existing museum buildings. Madison Plaza is considered an important link in downtown bicycling and walking connectivity.

Earlier this year, PAM asked the City of Portland to amend the existing easement for SW Madison Street between Park and 10th. Initial plans for the new pavillion would have created a new structure to display art, host events, and serve as the museum’s main entrance. The pavillion would be open to the public for free, but access would be limited to museum hours (10:00 am to 5:00 pm Sunday through Wednesday and 10:00 to 8:00 pm Thursday and Friday) and people riding bicycles or walking dogs would be completely prohibited.

That plan proved highly controversial. Following a large outcry from nearby residents and other people who use the plaza, PAM put the plans on hold.

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PAM Executive Director Brian Ferriso is on the agenda of the November 14th Portland Bureau of Transportation Bicycle Advisory Committee meeting. He’s expected to share a “modified proposal” that will go before City Council (tentatively) on December 6th at 2:00 pm on December 7th.

We’ve reached out to several sources at PAM and elsewhere for a copy of the new plan, but have yet to hear back.

Other sources we’ve heard from are already mobilizing opposition to the new plan.

Portlander Tim Davis posted on the Bike Loud PDX Facebook page that PAM has been in negotiation with the Portland Commission on Disabilities, “But the best we can hope for right now is for pedestrians to be able to cut through the Portland Art Museum property for free only during business hours — and that cyclists would never be allowed such access. This is absolutely ridiculous.”

It’s difficult to envision how the museum could create a continuous structure that would also allow for people to walk and bike through it 24/7. The museum’s Chief Advancement Officer JS May (who also happens to be board president of Cycle Oregon) told Council in April that, “Leaving an 8-10 foot wide open-air easement between the buildings would result in a pavillion that doesn’t solve the problem of connectivity between our two buildings that it’s design to address.” He also acknowledged the impacts the new pavillion would have: “There are definitely people who will be inconvenienced by the pavillion in the hours it is closed, we can’t deny that. The fundamental question is: Is the greater good of the city served by the pavillion being a destination for people and a public space, or is that not the case?”

“But there is a public space there now which is really lovely,” replied an unimpressed Commissioner Amanda Fritz.

Hopefully the new plans can improve the flow of the museum, without stopping the flow of people who use the existing plaza.

PAM will need three votes to get their ordinance passed. We hope to get a look at the new plans soon. Stay tuned.

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

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Phil Gaimon’s Book

Bike Hugger - Thu, 11/09/2017 - 11:09

Motor doping is back in the news this week, after a brief lull in headlines, and this time because of an accusation Phil Gaimon makes in his 3rd book, which has received very positive reviews.

Draft Animals: Living the Pro Cycling Dream (Once in a While) has been out since October of this year and people are either slow readers and just getting to the incriminating passage or it’s not number one with a bullet on the holiday reader best seller lists.

Either way, I haven’t read it, and not that engaged in racing anymore, but when he tweeted upset that people were just reading that one doping part, we had this exchange on Twitter.

in context that part was actually dismissing the whole motordoping thing, but that is what I think happened, so I had to say. Serves me right. Just not what I'd like the book boiled down to.

— Phil Gaimon (@philgaimon) November 9, 2017

So what’s going on is a “nothing new to see here” claim about Cancellara and eyeballs. Phil is a gadfly of an ex pro making a living riding a bike for fun and gets tons of eyeballs. Now that the book is getting more eyeball tonnage, it’s best to work the topic, and work it he does while also discussing his teammate Danielson’s doping.

In case you missed it, the conspiracy theories about motor doping started with Cancellara and suspicious behavior on his bike at a classic.

We’ve covered the topic since then and what’s important about the story is less the prevalence of motors in bikes, but that doping following the Omertà narratives that were initially dismissed as outlandishly false.

Not to say that there isn’t a little spectator value in the UCI’s new president Lappartient investigating claims of motor doping dating back to 2010.

What….are they going to test the bike’s B-sample?

Well, as it turns out, motors do exists in bikes, and I’ve seen them firsthand. The problem isn’t the cheating so much, but the suffering hero narrative sold to fans of the sport for a century. We’re supposed to believe those that race bicycles do so out of a some higher calling and with moral fortitude.

They don’t.

Despite what we’re sold, it’s not glamorous, but a blue collar sport more like another one driven by motors, NASCAR. The working hard aspect is what Phil’s book is supposed to be about. And, racing is rubbing, sure, and we shouldn’t be surprised by any new devious method to cheat.

What is surprising is that fans still believe that athletes don’t cheat and honestly the fact that Gaimon called out Spartacus so blatantly.

More on Motor Doping

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One year after we mourned Mitch York on the St. Johns Bridge, another person has died at the same intersection

Bike Portland - Thu, 11/09/2017 - 09:56

ODOT traffic cam view of the crash. Arrow points to Ford pick-up hit by speeding Kia driver.

A 71-year-old man died Saturday night while driving on the St. Johns Bridge. Keizer resident John Crook was the 41st person to die on Portland roads this year (we had 35 deaths at this time last year).

Crook’s death comes one year after hundreds of Portlanders biked onto the bridge and held a vigil for Mitch York, who was killed by a reckless driver at the same intersection.

In Saturday’s collision, police say Crook was driving a Kia Optima westbound on the bridge “at a high rate of speed” and failed to stop for the red light at Bridge Avenue. Crook ran into someone driving a Ford F-150. The impact from the collision was so powerful that the truck — at nearly twice the size of the small Kia — flipped over and landed off the roadway on its roof. The two people inside the truck sustained what police call “non life-threatening injuries” (a term that bothers me, because it glosses over what could be horrific, life-altering injuries).

This crash underscores that the design of the St. Johns Bridge, that advocates have been concerned about for many years, is unsafe for everyone. People drive dangerously on the bridge in part because the design lets them. The Oregon Department of Transportation, who ignored recommendations (from the City of Portland, advocates, Metro, and engineering consultants) for a safer cross-section in 2005, has kept the bridge as a four-lane thoroughfare. The wide-open design gives drivers a false sense of security and encourages dangerous behaviors that put human lives at risk.

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The St. Johns Bridge looking west.
(Photo: Joe Mabel/Wikipedia)

Joel Schrantz, currently serving a 42-month prison sentence for killing Mitch York, also thought he could approach the bridge at a high rate of speed.

The time has come to re-think the lanes on the St. Johns Bridge. There’s no reason to have four standard lanes on the bridge when streets on both ends have only two. It’s unfair for ODOT to hide behind “freight interests” while so many people suffer from the negative impacts of the current bridge design.

Thankfully, activists have not forgotten about the need to update the bridge. While ODOT remains the big elephant in the room (or should I say dinosaur), there are rumblings of renewed activism around this bridge.

We’re in contact with a St. Johns resident who’s pushing for a Better Block-style demonstration project that would test a two-lane cross-section on weekends when traffic is light. A group of students in Portland State University’s Masters of Urban and Regional Planning program have also expressed interest in making the bridge safer.

We hope to have more to report soon. Stay tuned.

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

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