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Ahead of January’s traffic crunch downtown, here’s some advice for first-time winter bike commuters

Seattle Bike Blog - Tue, 12/11/2018 - 16:42

Is it the Period of Maximum Constraint or the Seattle Squeeze or the Jenny Jam? Doesn’t really matter what you call it (well, Mayor Jenny Durkan would really like you to call it the Seattle Squeeze), you should be figuring out right now how you are going to avoid driving to or through downtown Seattle.

Biking is a great option, but Councilmember Mike O’Brien made a good point earlier this week:

O'Brien: if you're not a bike commuter, being asked to try out bike commuting for the first time in January is "a pretty heavy lift."

— SCC Insight (@SCC_Insight) December 10, 2018

There’s a reason most bike commute programs start in Spring. It’s just easier to convince people to start biking to work when it’s sunnier. But with the Viaduct closing January 11, we don’t have that luxury.

But with all the doom and gloom talk about the Period of Maximum Car Squeeze, I agree with today’s Seattle Transit Blog Editorial: This is an opportunity. And as the Move All Seattle Sustainably (“MASS”) coalition said in a press release today, “This multi-year traffic crunch should be a catalyst to move rapidly towards the carbon-neutral, multimodal transportation system Seattle needs.

Under Mayor Durkan’s leadership, SDOT squandered its chance to have a fully-functional Basic Bike Network operational by the time the Viaduct comes down January 11. Sure, I can dream that she will boldly direct SDOT to make the nearly impossible happen and build a pilot bike network in just one month. But as Donald Rumsfeld once maybe said, “You Maximum Squeeze with the bike routes you have, not the bike routes you might want.”

So in that spirit, Seattle Bike Blog asked readers for their advice to someone commuting by bike for the first time in the dead of winter:

One thing I did several years ago was to aim for biking at least once a week to work through winter. Helped make sure my bike was kept in working order, avoided terrible weather and kept my bike clothes some place where I'd actually find them. Now I bike most everyday yr round

— Scott Amick (@ScottA_SEA) December 10, 2018

Protected bike lanes along their routes. I biked all winter in pouring rain, pitch dark, and even snow when I worked adjacent to the Burke Gilman Trail.

— Garland (@garlandmcq) December 10, 2018

Do a low cost “experimental” bike lane on 4th Ave using the current far left travel lane? Do the same on all center city BBN routes? Surely we could site some concrete barriers and planters before Jan 11!

— Rachael (@raludwick) December 10, 2018

Also, bike sharing seems like an obvious way to help new people! Someone giving free credits on those?

— Becky (@beckedm) December 10, 2018

One idea (credit someone else for this) – just bike the days it’s not actively raining – it’ll end up being more often than you think!

— Becky (@beckedm) December 10, 2018

Make a little hype embrace-the-rain how to / survival kit video … “Rain Riders: Live Where You Live”

— Paige (@ravinekid) December 10, 2018

Also, everyone who rides in the winter should have a good set of lights for their bike. Can there be a program to give those away to folks who take some kind of pledge to ride in January?

— Becky (@beckedm) December 10, 2018

I just replaced my bike that was stolen in December of ‘16 last week. I was a daily commuter and turned into a daily driver. I’m currently transitioning back to bike commuting. I’ve found that having your gear out and in sight helps, that and not paying for gas helps too.

BikeCraft vendor spotlights: Velo Gioielli, Orquidia Violeta, White Noyes Crafts

Bike Portland - Tue, 12/11/2018 - 12:37

Welcome to the final installment of our 2018 BikeCraft vendor spotlights, brought to you by our friend Elly Blue from Microcosm Publishing. The big event is this weekend, and if you’ve been following along you know that organizers have put together something special. They’ve got a new, larger space (Taborspace!), great vendors — many of whom you won’t find anywhere else, and lots of merry surprises in store. I look forward to seeing you there! – Jonathan

Take it away Elly…

Velo Gioielli – Etsy shop

Brian Echerer is one of the masterminds behind BikeCraft’s recent reboot. Somehow in between running around securing our venue and cajoling food trucks to come feed us delicious tacos and grilled cheese, he’s been hard at work crafting more of his gorgeous art, combining spokes and chainrings with gems and stained glass into intricate masterworks. Be sure to ask him about his obelisk.

What are you bringing to BikeCraft? What’s the most important thing people should know about it?
Bike art and spoke bracelets, the things every cyclist needs. The most important thing to know is by supporting BikeCraft you are supporting amazing local people.

Tell us about yourself—what events in your life led you to be doing this bikey craft?
I have a passion for road cycling and love watching the grand tours on TV. Nothin better in my life than having a stage on the tv while I am working on bike art at the same time. I just love bikes.

What’s your favorite BikeCraft memory?
So I was out of work and I had been making spoke bracelets for my cycling club. I saw the BikeCraft event call for makers in 2009 and signed up. My mother and I got to work making all sorts of bikey jewelry trinkets and that was the start of Velo Gioielli. BikeCraft was the start of it all and that first one was the best memory.

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Orquidia Violeta – Website

Adorable, bike-friendly and bike-themed clothes for kiddos — I totally fell in love with Orchid’s designs at last year’s event and spent half of Saturday texting with my sister to figure out my nephew’s size and style preferences. Also, I would totally wear one of these cozy ponchos in an adult size, just saying.

What are you bringing to BikeCraft? What’s the most important thing people should know about it?
I’m bringing fun kids clothes! Colorful wearable artwork sewn in Portland by me, using salvaged materials collected by bike. This year I made push-bike ponchos. They fit 2-5 year olds and are made from cozy wool and fleece. They have bright hoods and reflective bits, and an appliquéd pocket for treasure!

Tell us about yourself—what events in your life led you to be doing this bikey craft?
I’m a Salvadoran-American textile artist and I sew one-of-a-kind pieces that I sell around town. I operate my business entirely by bike, so kids clothes are easy to transport. I prefer selling to customers directly, like at BikeCraft. Connecting personally, I can help select the perfect gift. I love to watch my artwork go off into the world toward unknown adventure!

What’s your favorite BikeCraft memory?
BikeCraft is a fun sale with great vendors and customers. But it’s extra awesome that everyone arrives on two wheels. At most craft sales, I am the only vendor cycling, but at BikeCraft we have that shared experience. Portlanders are working hard to make the city more bikeable for citizens of all ages and colors. I appreciate that every day, and try to reciprocate through my craft and through this sale!

White Noyes Crafts
We met Julie Noyes at last year’s BikeCraft, where she was one of the first to sign up to vend this year. She’ll be debuting her bikey handknits at the fair — they’re so new, there aren’t any photos yet!

What are you bringing to BikeCraft?
I am bringing my hand knit items; hats and fingerless gloves. Also some handmade bikey ornaments and handmade books.

Tell us about yourself—what events in your life led you to be doing this bikey craft?
I have always been an artist, but about two years ago, my friend gave me a knitting lesson and I’ve been grinding out product ever since. I moved here from Vermont, so having a warm but lightweight hat is a necessity. I wanted to create something that bike commuters could fit under their helmets (please wear your helmet) and stay warm.

What are you most excited about at the event?
I am excited about getting my gear out there, and also contributing to a “warm” holiday season.

Learn more about BikeCraft at the official website.

— Elly Blue/Microcosm Publishing

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Family Biking: Beyond mama bear rage and toward healthier responses to bad drivers

Bike Portland - Tue, 12/11/2018 - 11:51

Try “Wow, someone’s in a hurry” in place of “Slow the f— down!”
(Photos: Madi Carlson)

As the days get shorter, wetter, and colder it feels like more people are driving faster, less predictably, and more assholishly.

Our Family Biking column is sponsored by Clever Cycles.

➤ Read past entries here.

I used to get all heated-up about people driving unsafely around me and my kids. You know, like a protective mama bear. Grrr. I once angrily pantomimed hanging up a phone at a woman talking on her cell while running a stop sign in front of us and I’ve even thumped the trunk of a car after its driver barreled into the crosswalk against a red light, coming within an inch of my front wheel.

The thing is, reacting angrily just leaves me with a bad taste in my mouth, not to mention doesn’t set the best example for my kids. So I’ve drastically changed my reactions. I’m not perfect and slip from time-to-time (mama bears gonna mama bear), but keeping my cool has vastly improved my quality of life despite still sharing some roads with people misusing two-ton battering rams.

Some diverters divert better than others.

The idea to write this column came to me last week when I watched a man drive his minivan over the diverters at SE 17th and Clinton. He approached the intersection very slowly and without signaling, so I assumed he couldn’t decide which way to turn. But as I rolled up to the median (where bicycle riders can cut through, but drivers can’t) he forced his car over the cement “barriers” next to me. I couldn’t help myself — my eyes went wide and my mouth dropped open as we passed one another. It wasn’t the calm reaction I’d like to display for my kids (fortunately they weren’t with me at the time).

Now I have a few go-to responses that make me seem more like a well-grounded mom than a raging mama bear.

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Smile and wave
Biking with my middle schooler four miles each morning exposes us to at least a couple people each day primed to skip their stop signs (usually crossing Clinton, which is a greenway for crying out loud!) until they notice us on the road. I smile and wave at them all as they belatedly stop and look chagrined. Initially this felt inauthentic, as if I was waving “Thanks for not killing us,” but it’s just so commonplace for people driving to ignore the right of way that I’ve accepted it as The Way Things Are. Now it’s a pleasant excuse to wave to someone who might wave back.

Speed bumps don’t really slow people determined to speed.

“Someone’s in a hurry”
When we see people speeding I’ve taken to saying, “Wow, that guy is really in a hurry.” I’ve gotten so good at it, I say it when I’m with other adults. I’ve even caught myself muttering it aloud when I’m all alone. It’s much easier on the soul than shouting, “Slow down!”

Making a game of counting red-light runners.

Tally the red-light runners
We bike out of our way to avoid using busy streets, but we can’t avoid crossing big ones. For the aforementioned four-mile middle school commute we cross three big streets with lights and two without. While waiting for our light to turn green we calmly count and comment on the people who drive through yellow and red lights. It really sucks how many people run red lights, but it serves as a good opportunity for me to remind my kids to always check the intersection, even when the light is green.

“That was scary”
I often think back to something Katie Proctor (co-founder of Kidical Mass PDX in 2010 and more recently proprietor of Books with Pictures comic book store) wrote years ago on Facebook. She presented the idea of saying, “You scared me!” as a way of sharing your feelings and acknowledging the severity of the situation without being so accusatory as to invite a defensive response. I checked in with her for an update since Facebook’s search function leaves a lot to be desired and I couldn’t remember exactly what she said back then. Here’s what she says now:

“These days, I might even lean toward ‘Wow, that was scary!’ over ‘You scared me,’ as a way to center your shared experience — whatever just happened probably scared the crap out of both of you — and that then gives you room to de-escalate: ‘Can we take a minute to catch our breaths before we talk about it?’ Which will make any following conversation more productive.”

I still love this sentiment, as well as her advice to train oneself to yell “You scared me!” — in place of what you might otherwise yell — to model good behavior in front of kids.

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Obligatory word on safety
You know I don’t make a habit of talking about safety, but I do like to use appropriate opportunities to point out that intersections are The Worst. Two of the most common types of bike crashes are left hooks: when an oncoming car driver turns left into a person on a bike who was heading straight, and right hooks: when a person turns right, not noticing that there was a person on a bike to their right heading straight.

I love getting around by bike and feel carefree while doing it, but I also don’t trust anyone driving near me to notice me or to obey the law. I might look oddly suspicious as I check one-way roads for wrong-way drivers before I cross them and act stubbornly exasperated when I get into “you-go-no-you-go” hand waving wars with people who have failed to stop for me at intersections that I refuse to trust to now stay stopped.

Tl;dr: You can’t be too safe, but it doesn’t take any of the joy out of getting around by bike.

About that photo at the top of this post: It happened a week ago, and an hour after I’d nearly been plowed into in that very intersection. I’ve never been hit by a car, and this was the closest I’d ever come. Thank goodness the kids weren’t with me because I may have forgotten my collection of suitable reactions. I was only with my dog Pixie and I had to slam on my brakes to avoid being left-hooked by a woman I had mistakenly thought noticed me. I fumed for a while as I pedaled away. By the time my son and I got back and saw the aftermath of this crash I was able to take it in calmly with him. We surmised no one had been injured and I told him about my earlier near-miss. And then the subject switched to his latest hobby, making up titles for Avengers/Harry Potter mashup movies (“Avengers: Accio Wands!”) and things were the same as they ever were.

What about you? How do you react in these sorts of situations? Please share 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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15 more communities considered “bicycle friendly”

Biking Bis - Tue, 12/11/2018 - 11:28

The League of American Bicyclists has added 15 more communities to its list of Bicycle Friendly Communities.

The 15 are among a list of 61 towns and cities in 27 states honored by the League in this week’s announcement. The others either renewed their status on the Bicycle Friendly list or improved their standings on …

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Tell PBOT what 122nd Avenue should look and feel like

Bike Portland - Tue, 12/11/2018 - 10:05

One of the projects under consideration would swap one of these existing lanes that go under I-84 for a two-way protected bikeway and sidewalk.
(Photos: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

The Portland Bureau of Transportation has opened the online open house and survey for their 122nd Avenue Plan. If you missed the November 7th open house event, this is your chance to weigh in on the project. They have funding to make changes and our voices can help them make the most informed decisions on how to spend it.

This is what we’re up against.

Imagine 122nd Ave with wide bikeways and transit-only lanes!

Specifically, PBOT wants your feedback on three things: which cross-section options should get further study; where new crossing treatments should be installed; and what to build in 2020 with the $3.3 million they currently have set-aside for the project.

Do you like being informed about projects? Please support our work today.

122nd Avenue has become a focus of PBOT for several reasons. For starters, statistically it’s one of the most dangerous streets in Portland. Between Marine Drive and SE Foster, 122nd has four of our top 30 highest crash intersections. Since 2010, there have been over 400 people injured while traveling on 122nd, including 127 people walking and biking. Nine people have died in the past 8 years alone. If you’ve ever ridden on it, the stats don’t matter because you can just feel how dangerous it is. Every time I’m out there, it’s an eye-opening experience.

Current conditions of I-84 underpass are not so good.

Back in September, I rode under the I-84 overpass and was appalled by the conditions. Overgrown vegetation and trash constrained an already dark and intimidating space. Riding in the main roadway wasn’t an option because driving speeds are high and there is no shoulder room at all. Thankfully, this underpass area is on PBOT’s radar. As you can see in their graphic below, one of the projects under consideration is to reconfigure the roadway and install a two-way protected bikeway and sidewalk on one side of the street. This is the type of thing PBOT needs to hear from you about. Do you think this should be a high priority?

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122nd Ave doesn’t meet new City of Portland guidelines for crossing spacing.

The city is also looking to add more — and safer — crossings. 122nd currently doesn’t meet the new “spacing guidelines” for crossings that were developed through PBOT’s Pedestrian Master Plan. Those new guidelines call for crossings no more than 800 feet apart. The current average is 935 feet, or about four blocks.

Through surveys and the public open house, PBOT has heard so far that crossing safety, congestion and bike safety are the top three priorities.

What do you think? If you haven’t already commented on this project, now is your chance. Here’s the online open house and survey (it says 30 pages, but it’s really only five). It will be available through January 6th, 2019.

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

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Bird to host e-scooter rally and press conference Wednesday

Bike Portland - Mon, 12/10/2018 - 13:24

From the press conference invite.

A leading electric scooter company will host a rally at City Hall on Wednesday at 12 noon. Bird says the event will feature speakers from nonprofits Forth Mobility (formerly Drive Oregon, an EV advocacy group) and The Street Trust. The event is billed as a way to, “Unify in demand for immediate end to ban on sustainable transportation alternatives.”

Bird was one of three companies that participated in the City of Portland’s e-scooter pilot program. Despite what appeared to be a successful experiment, Portland decided to take all scooters off the streets about one month ago.

Now Bird and The Street Trust want to get scooters back in the news. Here’s the text of an invite Bird is sending around:

Join us on Wednesday, December 12 at noon at City Hall for a press conference in support of bringing scooters back to Portland! We’ll have speakers from Bird, The Street Trust, and more.

Portland’s e-scooter pilot program was a huge success in giving Portlanders new convenient, sustainable alternatives to car travel and the city’s leaders have shown tremendous foresight as they plan to incorporate these new modes of transportation into the city’s streets.

Let’s show them how much we appreciate their work making Portland a leader in sustainability and that we hope we can get scooters back on the road as soon as possible so we can continue to have more convenient, environmentally-friendly, and affordable transportation options!

Word has it that representatives from Lime will also speak at the event.

I’m not aware of what (if any) major announcement will be made. But it’s not surprising to see scooter providers angling to curry favor in the Portland market. PBOT is currently working on phase two of a scooter pilot and they’ll ultimately have to choose which companies will have the privilege of operating here. Both Bird and Lime would appear to be likely candidates, especially if they were to be acquired by Uber as reports suggest.

Consolidation in the market makes it look like PBOT’s choice could come down to two behemoths: Uber or Lyft. Lyft recently completed its purchase of Motivate, the company that operates Biketown. And Uber already owns Jump, the company that built the bikes (and technology in them) that Biketown uses.

It’s interesting to note that Bird has at least two staffers who come from transportation advocacy ranks. Last October, the veteran leader of New York’s nonprofit group TransAlt, Paul Steely White became Bird’s director of policy and advocacy. And Bird has also hired Portlander Fiona Yau-Luu, a former Metro staffer who was once board president of Portland-based nonprofit Oregon Walks.

In other e-scooter news, the Willamette Week reported on Friday that the City of Portland collected more than $100,000 in fees and fines from e-scooter operators during the pilot program.

UPDATE, 4:22 pm: A bird spokesperson has contacted us to clarify that The Street Trust is not a host of the event. “Bird will host the event and has invited Portland riders to attend a news conference at City Hall this Wednesday at noon. Speakers will include representatives from Bird, The Street Trust, and Forth Mobility.” (Note that the initial Bird spokesperson who contacted us wrote, “… the press conference Bird and The Street Trust are hosting…”).

UPDATE: Good context for this event has been shared in a comment below from The Street Trust Executive Director Jillian Detweiler:

The event on Wednesday is organized by Bird and The Street Trust was happy to be invited to participate and help get the word out.

The four-month pilot demonstrated people like getting around by e-scooter and e-scooter trips are replacing automobile trips. The response to e-scooters was far greater than we could imagine.

To date, I have been unable to obtain a schedule from PBOT for analysis, public input and decision-making about the future of e-scooters. While good analysis and public review are warranted, The Street Trust believes much of what needs to be done can occur even as e-scooters are returned as a transportation option.

I hope a demonstration of support for e-scooters will lead PBOT to share its plan for moving forward on a permanent e-scooter program.

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

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Man recovering from Harvard Ave E hit and run Friday seeking folks on bikes who stopped to help

Seattle Bike Blog - Mon, 12/10/2018 - 12:15

Approximate location of the hit and run, via Google Maps.

Did you see or stop to help a man injured while biking on Harvard Ave E at E Allison St Friday morning around 9 a.m.? Ariel and his wife Roï are trying to get in touch with the people who helped him and may have seen the person driving, who fled the scene.

Ariel is recovering from serious injuries to his shoulder, ribs and lungs. Several people on bikes stopped and stayed with him until help arrived. Roï reached out to Seattle Bike Blog to help get the word out. If you are one of those who stopped, please email tom@seattlebikeblog.com and I will forward your email to them.

More details from Roï:

My husband, Ariel, is a regular bike rider and uses his bikes for his day to day commute. [Friday] around 9am he was hit by a car – it was a hit and run…Ariel was riding downhill on Harvard Ave E towards University Bridge (alongside the I-5 to Ariel’s left), and the car was coming uphill in the opposite direction, and has taken a turn left at Harvard Ave E and E Allison St (which is where it ran over Ariel).

Ariel is hospitalized in Harborview and suffers shoulder and ribs fractures, and pneumothorax injury.

When Ariel was hit, a group of bicyclists was there and they talked to him to make sure he’s OK and stayed until help arrived. Some of them took pictures – we are hoping they captured the car that hit Ariel, because the driver stayed at the scene for a minute or two before he took off – while the bicyclists were already there. I was wondering if perhaps there’s a way to reach out to bicyclists who were there to contact us? Any help is appreciated!

The Monday Roundup: Winter biking tips, Merkley’s EV dreams, deadly trucks, Rapha woes, and more

Bike Portland - Mon, 12/10/2018 - 10:14

Welcome to the week! Here are the most noteworthy items we came across in the past seven days…

Winter biking: Lynda Lopez shares her experience trying to stay joyful while riding in very cold temps. Don’t miss the comments full of great winter riding tips!

Sensible subsidy: The Canadian town of Banff offers its residents a subsidy so they can buy studded bicycle tires and keep riding in winter.

Minneapolis FTW: Our friendly rival city just laid down the gauntlet: Their newly passed comp plan outlaws single-family zoning. Woah.

WashDOT head gets it: Someone needs to get WashDOT’s Roger Millar on a train to Portland ASAP to tell our leaders that making it easier to drive on freeways by expanding them is a waste of money.

I-5 bridge meeting: State lawmakers from both sides of the Columbia river will sit down for talks on how/if to replace the I-5 bridge. Is this is a serious attempt to start talks? Or, as the article reports, just a last-ditch effort to avoid paying a $140 million bill owed to the Feds in planning fees from the CRC debacle?

Merkley’s EV push: U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley isn’t just eyeing a run for president, he’s also keen on phasing out the sale of gas-powered cars.

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F*** these trucks: Jalopnik sounds the alarm about the trend in truck design towards absurdly large front-end grills. Everyone who cares about traffic safety should be alarmed by this.

Meanwhile, in the EU: EU lawmakers have passed new regulations that will make cars safer — not just for people inside but for those outside as well.

Rocky road at Rapha? A UK retail industry publication reports that Rapha — a high-end cycling apparel brand with its North American headquarters in Portland — lost $25 million in sales in the first six months of 2018.

Fareless country: In a bid to reduce congestion and entice commuters out of their cars, Luxembourg wants to make transit free for everyone.

Truth hurts: A stinging satirization of bike un-friendly Los Angeles has been served up by The Onion, who says that city has created lanes where bicycle riders can roll around in agony while recovering from being hit.

A lost voice of cycling: Paul Sherwen, a well-known and respected commentator of the Tour de France and other major cycling races, has died.

Tweet of the Week: Watch to the end…

Bravo to this Judge who threw a drunk driver’s mom in jail for laughing at victim’s family in courtpic.twitter.com/4GoWr7JN8G

— laney (@misslaneym) December 6, 2018

Thanks to everyone who sent us links!

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

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PPB Captain gets driver’s license suspended as part of reckless driving, DUI charges

Bike Portland - Fri, 12/07/2018 - 13:38

(Image: KATU)

On June 28th just before 2:00 am, off-duty Portland Police Bureau Captain Steven Jones was arrested for DUI after crashing his city-issued SUV in the Lair Hill neighborhood. A witness reported that Jones was driving “at a high rate of speed” on SW 3rd Avenue near Arthur when he lost control and veered onto the median, crashing into a light pole and a tree.

Cpt. Jones, a 23-year veteran of the bureau who was in charge of the Professional Standard Division, was driving with a blood alcohol content of .10.

“As law enforcement officers, we are held to a higher standard,” PPB Chief Danielle Outlaw said in a statement after the incident. “This will be thoroughly investigated.”

Today, the Multnomah County District Attorney’s office said Jones has completed a diversion program for his DUI charge. He filed a plea of “no contest” to reckless driving charges on December 5th. As part of his plea agreement Jones has agreed to pay $38,239 in restitution to the City of Portland and has received one year of probation and a three-month suspension of his driving privileges. Once he completes the probation his reckless driving charges will be dismissed.

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This is very troubling.

At the end of every PPB statement about a major injury or fatal crash, is this line:

The Portland Police Bureau is committed to working with our partners in government and the community to create safer streets and work towards reducing, and eventually eliminating, traffic fatalities as part of Vision Zero.

There’s something very wrong with PPB culture when one of their leaders thinks it’s acceptable to drink alcohol then get into a car and drive it recklessly through our city. We’re relieved no one was hurt or killed by Jones’ selfish and irresponsible behavior. We can only hope he’s learned an important lesson and that he’ll devote himself to raising awareness about the serious and rampant driving abuse epidemic in our city.

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

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Bankruptcy leads to closure of all three Performance Bicycle stores in Portland region

Bike Portland - Fri, 12/07/2018 - 13:03

Signs are up at the Beaverton store.
(Photo: Andy Kutansky)

Some people hoped a bankruptcy filing last month by the parent company of the Performance Bicycle might not result in the closure of all stores across the country.

But today the list is out and the news isn’t good: Advanced Sports Enterprises says it will close all 102 of its stores in the United States. That includes locations in Portland (Mall 205, 9988 SE Washington St.), Tualatin (7690 Montgomery Rd.) and Beaverton (3850 SW Hall Blvd.). The closure leaves Portland with just one bike shop (Outer Rim Bicycles) east of I-205.

Performance is a well-known retailer in the bike industry that was founded as a mail-order catalog in 1981.

According to Bicycle Retailer and Industry News (BRAIN) magazine their parent company filed for bankruptcy on November 16th. Here’s more from BRAIN:

Patrick Cunnane, the CEO of ASE, said… the company was unable to turn around the retail business, which has seen sales declines for the last six years. “We were undercapitalized from the start.”

… “We tried to be more local and less national,” he said. Stores raised some retail prices to match the market and improve margins, and developed procedures to turn inventory better.

ASE was able to integrate the Performance and Nashbar back end systems and warehousing, but was unable to fully integrate the retail and wholesale back ends. “Sometimes you have to spend money to save money, and we didn’t have the money to invest to achieve the savings we wanted,” he said.”

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When BRAIN first reported the story, leaders of ASE made it seem like some of the stores would survive the re-organization.

But an email sent today from Gordon Brothers, a company hired to liquidate Performance’s inventory, made it clear that all the store will be closed.

“The Company has made the strategic decision to close all 102 Performance Bicycle stores,” the email says. “Today marks the first day of a major sale at all Performance locations.”

Discounts will start at 40 percent. And as they say, everything must go.

Beaverton resident Andy Kutansky will miss the Beaverton store. “The employees were always friendly and hosted shop rides on the weekends,” he shared with us in an email today. “Someone in the store said it had been open 30+ years or so! Today they seemed sad and I was sad with them.”

This news comes on the same day that the bicycle industry’s (once) largest annual trade show, Interbike, has called it quits.

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

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Jobs of the Week: Lakeside Bicycles, Community Arts and Recreation Alliance

Bike Portland - Fri, 12/07/2018 - 11:08

We had two new jobs listed this week.

Learn more about each one via the links below…

–> Bicycle Mechanic – Lakeside Bicycles

–> Executive Director – Community Arts and Recreation Alliance (Portland Townsend, WA)

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For a complete list of available jobs, click here.

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

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

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

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Adventures in Activism: Tools of the trade

Bike Portland - Fri, 12/07/2018 - 10:51

Portland transportation activist Ted Buehler uses his trusty measuring devices (in his bike basket) to uncover the dangers of rail tracks.
(Photo: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

“Who’s running Portland right now? You. Pick a problem that really matters to you. Seek organizations addressing it and give them anything you’ve got: time, money, intellect, energy, even tweets. But don’t sit this out. You must engage.”

That’s what Portland activist and former city council candidate Sarah Iannarone posted Wednesday in response to a Willamette Week cover story on Mayor Ted Wheeler’s first two years in office.

How can you “engage” in transportation advocacy? You’re in the right place, since one of our missions here at BikePortland is to get you inspired and informed enough to have a valuable role in local policy and project decisions. But you need tools. Our activism editors Catie Gould and Emily Guise of BikeLoudPDX have put together a list tools they use to sharpen their activism skills.

Take it away Catie and Emily….

For every person who considers themselves a transportation advocate, there are ten more who are interested in learning more but don’t know where to start. Below you’ll find some of the best tips and resources we’ve come across or learned in our advocacy work:

Research

Do you live on a high crash corridor? How many people have been injured at a particular intersection? The City of Portland’s Vision Zero Crash Map is the first place I look to. Clicking incidents on the map, I can find the date and location an injury or fatality occurred, which helps me find related news reports on Google. BikePortland also maintains an updated fatality tracker with links to official Portland Police Bureau statements. The news doesn’t cover all of these incidents, and many people in your neighborhood might not know the extent of the injuries and/or deaths happening in their own community. Talking about it with your neighbors can help build momentum for change. Major road changes need strong community support.

Know what’s coming

North Willamette Blvd was restriped as part of a paving project because activists spoke up.
(Photo: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

When streets are repaved, the lines will need to be redrawn anyway, so it could be an opportunity to implement better facilities. Sometimes just knowing what’s coming (or what’s been proposed in the past), is half the battle.

For example, one year ago, advocates and neighbors on Willamette Blvd saw the street slated for a repaving project and seized the opportunity to push for a restripe of the street that added safer and wider bike lanes. This was a cost-effective upgrade to the street, which had identified the need for better bike facilities in 2011.

As far as resources to find where the restriping opportunities are in your neighborhood, unfortunately there’s no single website where you can find all the scheduled projects. However, there are two maps that we find helpful. The City of Portland’s Get Portland Moving map shows upcoming repaving projects. And their Fixing our Streets map includes (already funded) repaving projects, crossing improvements, and road repairs.

PBOT’s Projects in the Pipeline website is another good resource. Keep in mind that it’s not an exhaustive list, and most of the projects listed there are already baked and might not have the great potential for change. To see projects previously vetted and prioritized by PBOT, we like to check the 2030 Bicycle Plan and the Transportation System Plan. The TSP is also where we find road classifications, which often dictate what type of bikeway is possible on a given type of street.

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Transportation standards are important to know if you want to argue with a city engineer that, actually, a four-foot bike lane is not standards-compliant and it should be wider. It’s much more likely transportation officials will take your proposal seriously if it can be backed up with industry standards in the same manuals they lean on to make decisions.

The biggest (by heft and importance) guide is the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). You can download this behemoth as a PDF here. This is the main standards guide for the vast majority of the country and although it doesn’t have much to say about active transportation, and it’s often mocked by more progressive urbanists as a relic of a bygone era, it’s still a required resource.

My personal favorites are the guides published by the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) (pictured above). With their gorgeous graphic design and focus on active transportation and transit, these are coffee table books for transportation nerds that are also extremely informative and useful. Pro tip: sign up for the publisher’s email list to be notified of sales (I was able to get 50% off!). The Multnomah County Library also has copies available to check out.

For a guide with a less official status, the free Tactical Urbanism Guide to Materials and Design is aimed at those looking for ideas to temporarily redesign streets, like what Better Block PDX did on 3rd Ave and Better Naito. This is a very handy guide for putting in temporary designs to test infrastructure ideas and demonstrate that they’re not so scary, after all.

One last guidebook worth knowing about is PBOT’s new Protected Bicycle Lane Design Guide. Jonathan wrote about the draft version when it came out back in June. Unfortunately it appears PBOT has taken it off the web. Perhaps they’re doing some major re-writes? Right now the best version we can find is via a slide presentation about it created by Portland’s Bicycle Program Manager Roger Geller.

Know your measurements

A measurement wheel and spray chalk illustrate how a bike lane could be added to the street.
(Photo: Ted Buehler 2017)

How wide a street is can provide opportunities for reconfigurations to make travel more efficient and safe. You can generally get the cross section measurement from PBOT, especially if there is an active project going on. For example, the 122nd Ave Safety Project, which recently had an open house presenting new road configuration concepts, has an Existing Conditions Report with the dimensions for the different cross-sections along the corridor.

Using Google Maps to measure NE Sandy and 57th Ave intersection.

If you want to measure it yourself there are a couple decent methods. You can get a rough estimate of road widths in Google Maps using the measure function. Simply right-click anywhere on the map and select “Measure Distance”. Then make your next click the end of your measurement. You can even tweak the line to make it curve with the street to get a more accurate measurement.

Another handy tool is a measuring wheel. It records the distance traveled as you walk across the street and can be purchased for $30 or less.

Carry a tape measure with you! You never know when you’ll be riding around and encounter a bike lane or turn that feels too narrow or you are in love with a lane that is comfortable for group riding. “How wide is this anyways?” Occasionally stopping to measure things will help you connect your comfort level with dimensions. To me, reading a dimension in a report doesn’t mean much until I can relate it with a similar sized road that I am familiar with. Additionally, there are still many bike lanes around the city that were designed to older standards and are narrower than what we would build today.

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A sketch I made recently for NE Prescott and 37th using the tracing paper method.

What’s your vision for a street in your neighborhood? Here’s how even terrible artists (like me) can make compelling visuals.

Streetmix is a free to use online tool that allows you to build your own streets. Pick your lane types and slide them across the screen to change the order. This artwork will look familiar because professional planners use it too. Images can be downloaded or linked-to via a sharable URL.

For a top-down view, my favorite way to visualize an idea is to print out a image from Google maps, then cover it with tracing paper. Trace over the major lines, and then fill in a new design. You can find drawing supplies and tracing paper for about $10 a roll at craft stores. It scans well too, so you can send your sketches over email and post them online.

Flagging issues

If you want to get a specific issue or intersection on the City’s radar and into their fully-staffed TrackIt system, there are a few ways to submit a complaint. You can go through their webform, email safe@portlandoregon.gov, or use one of the handy phone numbers below. Program these into your phone right now! (Just be careful when making calls in public so you don’t end up being mocked in a viral video.)

503-823-SAFE (7233) for general transportation safety concerns
503-823-1700 for 24-hour immediate maintenance issues like malfunctioning traffic signals, overgrown vegetation on sidewalks, street sweeping, etc.
503-865-LAMP (5267) for streetlight outages
*See PBOT’s contact page for more helpful numbers and email addresses

Posting an issue to social media by tagging @PBOTinfo“>@PBOTinfo on Twitter is also a good way to connect with the City. Having a good photo is key!

PDX Reporter is another way to connect with PBOT about your issues and concerns. Once an easy-to-use app, the City has recently downgraded it to a website. It’s not as good of a resource as it once was, but it’s still an effective way to report potholes and other issues.

We hope you find these resources helpful. Have others to share? Please let us know in the comments.

— Catie Gould, @Citizen_Cate and Emily Guise @eguise

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ODOT tolling plan off to feds with support from Oregon Transportation Commission

Bike Portland - Thu, 12/06/2018 - 16:39

On the left, the cover of ODOT’s 48-page application to the FHWA. On the right are the proposed tolling locations.

Before the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) can begin any kind of congestion pricing on existing freeways, they must first submit a proposal to the Federal Highway Administration. At their monthly meeting in Salem today, ODOT’s governing body voted 5-0 in favor of that 48-page plan, marking a major step in the future of tolling in the Portland region.

In a presentation to OTC members by ODOT Region 1 Director Rian Windsheimer, the two main objectives of the plan were laid out. First, ODOT wants tolling to “create a revenue source to help fund bottleneck relief projects in the corridor.” They list two “priority projects”: widening of I-205 (Abernethy Bridge) between Highway 99 and Stafford Road; and the I-5 Rose Quarter project which will add lanes and shoulders between I-84 and I-405. The second goal is to manage traffic congestion in the I-5 and I-205 corridors.

Specifically, ODOT is asking FHWA for guidance and approval to toll I-205 “on or near the Abernethy Bridge” and I-5 “in the vicinity of N Going/ Alberta St to SW Multnomah Blvd.”

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A policy advisory committee convened by ODOT laid out three additional priorities of the plan:

improved public transportation and other transportation options for equity and mobility; special provisions for environmental justice populations, including low income communities; and strategies to minimize and mitigate negative impacts of diversion.

ODOT needs FHWA approval in order to take the next step in analysis. ODOT says exact tolling boundaries as well as rates still need to be studied. If FHWA supports ODOT’s proposal, the agency would then take a few years to refine the projects, assess environmental impacts and determine costs associated with tolling infrastructure. “Future analysis,” ODOT said in a statement after today’s vote, “will also focus on concerns raised frequently during the feasibility analysis phase of the project, including understanding equity impacts, needed improvements to mass transit services and other travel options and minimizing diversion impacts to neighborhood streets.”

A timeline shared by ODOT today puts tolling in place by 2024 if all goes according to plan.

Among the things we’re tracking with this plan is what type of projects will be eligible for funding with tolling revenue, whether ODOT is going far enough to meet Oregon’s greenhouse gas emission targets, and how tolling might impact neighborhood streets.

Learn more about ODOT’s work on congestion pricing here and read download a PDF of their application to the FHWA here. (The “Reason Statement” begins on page 19).

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

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Cascade: Support the Missing Link at a Friday court hearing

Seattle Bike Blog - Thu, 12/06/2018 - 14:55

From 2015.

The Ballard Missing Link of the Burke-Gilman Trail has (hopefully) one last legal hurdle to clear. Opponents have appealed the trail’s massive environmental study even after the Seattle Hearing Examiner said it was sufficient. Now the case is in the hands of King County Superior Court, which is holding a hearing tomorrow (Friday) morning.

If you have the morning clear, Cascade is inviting supporters to attend. Sounds like you’ll even get a pro-trail t-shirt out of it.

Final design for the trail is just about complete, 18 years after the Seattle City Council first approved this basic route. If this final court decision goes the city’s way, the city could begin construction next year.

Details from Cascade:

You know the story. The community has fought hard to complete the Missing Link of the Burke-Gilman Trail for decades. Now, on December 7th, Cascade and the Seattle City Attorney are defending an appeal from a few Ballard businesses seeking to block to completion of the Burke Gilman “Missing Link.”

When:  8:30 a.m. on Friday, December 7
Where:  King County Courthouse, 516 3rd Ave, Seattle, WA 98104

Come and show your support for completing the Burke Gilman Trail.  The proceedings will last 1 hour at the King County Superior Court, Courtroom W-1060.

We expect the opposition to turn out, so we need everyone. Invite your friends, co-workers, and family!

  • The hearing starts at 9am, but since seating is limited and we anticipate the hall will fill, we recommend arriving at 8:30am.
  • We will have t-shirts to help you show your support.

A tragic realization about a BikePortland reader and supporter

Bike Portland - Thu, 12/06/2018 - 11:49

Not just another headline.

Two days ago I received a strange email. It was simultaneously matter-of-fact and tragic.

“Hi folks,” it read. “My dad was killed by a truck (he was walking at a crosswalk). I would like to stop his autopay subscription of $10/month.”

It only took me a few minutes to realize this man’s father was 82-year-old Charles McCarthy, who was hit and killed by a truck driver as he walked in the crosswalk of East Burnside and 55th on October 11th.

I wish it wasn’t true, but when people die while walking I don’t usually pay as much attention to the case as I would if they were cycling. That’s an intentional editorial and mental health decision. (Reacting to traffic deaths takes a toll and I have limited professional and personal capacity to do it. I also don’t want to set the expectation that I will cover walking deaths with the same attention and depth as cycling deaths).

Even though I didn’t look too deeply into this case initially, I now wanted to know more about Mr. McCarthy. So I did what I often do in situations like this: I emailed the District Attorney’s office to find out if there were any updates on the case, I looked up his subscriber information, entered his email address in the “search comments” field of BikePortland’s admin dashboard, and checked to see if he’d ever emailed me.

Turns out Charles McCarthy was a big supporter of BikePortland. He’d sent in several one-time contributions over the years and he was one of our first subscribers in 2015. He would also email us from time-to-time with link suggestions for the Monday Roundup.

He had also commented here about 30 times between 2009 and 2016. I was amazed how much those comments revealed about him.

In a comment about the Tilikum Bridge he posted in 2009, Charles shared that he spent more time as a “pedestrian” than a “cyclist” and wanted physical protection between those two modes.

He lived in Minneapolis in the 1970s and once got a stolen bike recovered because it had been registered with the police. “My point: bicycle registration can be a good thing,” he wrote.

In 2011 we learned he was an active volunteer in the community who used a combination of modes — buses, bikes, walking and driving — to reach his many destinations. When TriMet service no longer met his needs, he reluctantly started to drive more often, but still purchased a monthly bus pass because, he said, “I think it is a civic duty to support public transit.”

Charles was one of many people who invested in the Kickstarter campaign for those Conscious Commuter e-bikes that never materialized.

The last comment he made on BikePortland, in 2016, stopped me in my tracks for how it related to his own death. It was in response to a story we did about a group of neighbors in north Portland who held a vigil for an elderly man who was killed while walking across a street. “When driving and stopping for a pedestrian who is crossing, I put on my 4-way emergency flashers, and if possible stick my hand out to flag the drivers in the lane to my left,” he wrote. “It sometimes seems to help.”

As a driver, it appears Charles was exceedingly safe around walkers. It’s too bad he wasn’t afforded the same level of respect.

I’m sorry our system failed you Charles. Rest in peace. And thanks for all your support.

16 of the 32 fatal traffic crashes in Portland so far this year are to people who were walking. Since Charles was killed on October 11th, seven other vulnerable road users have died. Five of them were on foot, one was motorcycling, and one was using a bicycle. You can see an updated tally with basic details on each of them at BikePortland.org/fatality-tracker.

Note: I’ll update this post if I get any substantive updates from the DA’s office. UPDATE, 12/7: The DA’s office says the crash is still under investigation by the PPB Major Crash Team and has not yet been submitted to the DA’s office for review.

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

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Seattle’s UPS eCargo Bike in Wired

Bike Hugger - Thu, 12/06/2018 - 10:09

My latest for Wired just dropped. It’s about how UPS launched an electric cargo bike solution to address Seattle’s traffic and air quality problems. And, to deliver their customer’s packages on time despite armageddon-level traffic. What you need to know about the UPS eCargo bike in Wired is you can buy one too. Or one similar to it like the Tern GSD or Radpower Wagon.

When I attended the launch event at their Seattle SoDo Hub, I learned UPS is piloting their e-assist program for a year. They’re timing it for Seattle’s Period of Maximum Constraint.

That ominous sounding constrained time hits on February 4, when the Alaskan Way Viaduct elevated highway along the waterfront is torn down and the 2-mile tunnel Seattle dug to replace it comes online. Crews are finishing the ramps that connect the tunnel to surface roads. For three weeks, the city won’t have a road to get through downtown on the city’s waterfront side. To dodge the traffic horrorshow, Seattleites are planning vacations. They’re renting Airbnbs to stay downtown and avoid driving, or planning to work from home.

They’re also riding bikes. Bike messengers have long known cycling is the fastest way to get around a traffic-choked city. More and more commuters are getting it.

UPS-spec’d Truck Trike Getting Around Town

The UPS trikes were designed and built by Truck Trike in Portland. A trike like UPS is using costs upwards of $10K, while the GSD is about 1/2 that, and the Radpower Wagon even less.

If you need to move your kids, packages, or just your laptop to work and back very soon, an electric cargo bike is gonna be the way to go. If not for the ease of moving around a gridlocked city, but finding parking.

As I shared in the Wired story, the execs at the event emphasized how important launching the e-assist trike in Seattle is because 111 years after their founding as a messenger company, UPS is going back to bicycles.

That’s how they got started in Seattle.

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Weekend Event Guide: Sales, Christmas spirit, KimmyCross, a cyclocross party, and more

Bike Portland - Thu, 12/06/2018 - 09:56

What this season lacks in light and warmth it more than makes up for in holiday spirit.

Time to make plans for the weekend. There’s so much to do among our wonderful community of fellow bike lovers that you shouldn’t let the cold and dark keep you from joining in the fun.

(Please note: We’re looking for a sponsor of this weekly feature and the BP Calendar. It’s a great opportunity for a company that wants to get valuable exposure, support our community, and support BikePortland! Please contact me if interested. jonathan@bikeportland.org*)

Friday, December 7th

Bike Ride to Fremont Holiday Fest – 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm at Salmon Street Fountain (SW)
Get into the spirit of the holiday by taking the long way home after work. This ride will go from downtown to northeast to soak up the Fremont Street Holiday Fest which will feature holiday crafts, games, carolers, Santa Claus, and more! More info here.

Saturday, December 8th

***BP PICK!!!*** Ruckus Composites Warehouse Sale – 10:00 am to 3:00 pm at Ruckus HQ (SE)
Beloved local carbon fiber repair shop will offer top-end frames at great prices. Check official event page for current inventory. Remember to tell them you heard about it on BikePortland! More info here.

North Plains Gravel Ride – 10:00 am to 3:00 pm in North Plains (Wash Co)
A group of unpaved road lovers will meet in North Plains for a 35-mile jaunt in the hills west of Banks. More info here.

Leisure League CX Social – 5:00 pm to 10:00 pm at Golden Pliers Bike Shop (N)
With cyclocross season officially over, Golden Pliers and friends will host what looks to be a wonderful get together featuring tattoos, pizza, a big prize raffle (to benefit Community Cycling Center), and World Cup CX viewing. More info here.

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KimmyCross18 – 11:30 am to 4:00 pm at The BeerMongers (SE)
This annual race is dedicated to Kim Matheson, one of the founding members of the BeerMongers Cycle Club who died unexpectedly of skin cancer in 2014.. Expect a “fly by the seat of your pants checkpoint race around the city.” You’ll get a list of tasks you must complete. Run whatcha’ brung! $10 suggested donation for the Melanoma Foundation. More info here.

***BP PICK!!!*** North Portland BikeWorks Winter Formal Sale – 12:00 pm to 4:00 pm at North Portland BikeWorks (N)
This bike shop on Mississippi St is having a blowout sale and if you dress in “formal” attire you can get 25% off anything in the store – including bikes! Be sure to stop by and check their goods. And tell them you saw their ad on BikePortland. More info here.

Corvidae Bike Club Toy Drive – 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm at Peninsula Park Rose Garden (N)
Our friends from Corvidae will meet and do a short ride to Kenton Station to deliver toys for their toy drive. An easy and fun way to socialize and help others in need. More info here.

North Portland Christmas Lights Ride – 5:30 pm at 7303 North Greenwich Avenue (N)
This ride is led by the Portland Wheelmen Touring Club (soon to have a different name?). Join an experienced ride leader for a tour of north Portland’s best light displays. Dress warm! 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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BikeCraft vendor spotlights: Becky Morton, Hippy Thread, ANTHM Collective

Bike Portland - Wed, 12/05/2018 - 15:51

Welcome to the latest installment of our 2018 BikeCraft vendor spotlights thanks to our friend Elly Blue from Microcosm Publishing. Below are just a few of the folks and fineries you’ll get to meet at the big event. Don’t miss our other vendor spotlights here, here, and here. And save those pennies!

Becky Morton

Becky may be familiar to you as the former proprietor of Bikeasaurus, the charming and very BikeCrafty shop in Southeast Portland that brought together all manner of bike-themed novelties and city riding accessories. We’re excited she’ll be bringing her newest venture to this year’s event: Soap bedecked with bicycles!

Becky.
(Photo: Paul Glahn)

What are you bringing to BikeCraft? What’s the most important thing people should know about it?
I’m bringing handmade soap. It’s all natural, vegan, and made with no palm oil. The flavors I’m bringing this year are: Pink Grapefruit, Douglas Fir, Rosemary Spearmint, Sweetgrass with Oats, and Lavender Tea Tree.

Tell us about yourself—what events in your life led you to be doing this bikey craft?
I’ve always loved the smell and feel of good quality bar soap. About five years ago, I started making my own and discovered that I love handmade soap even more. Since I became a soap maker, I’ve really enjoyed having soap on hand to give as gifts to friends and family: a practical, but lovely gift!

What’s your favorite BikeCraft memory?
BikeCraft was my favorite event as a vendor, back when I had my retail store Bikeasaurus. It was always a bustling and heartwarming weekend for me. Great community, creative merchandise, and lots of fun. I’m excited to be back selling my own bikey craft this year!

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Anne Williams – Etsy / Instagram

I was secretly crossing my fingers that this year’s BikeCraft would yield me a waterproof seat cover that doesn’t advertise a local grocery chain. And thankfully, first-time vendor Anne Williams has come through! These look great and I’m planning to snag one early.

What are you bringing to BikeCraft? What’s the most important thing people should know about it?
I’m making waterproof bicycle seat covers out of laminate cotton. My design comes in 8 exciting patterns for everybody’s taste and in two different sizes.

Tell us about yourself—what events in your life led you to be doing this bikey craft?
I’m French; I was born in Normandie, France. I moved to the Pacific Northwest 2 years ago to hike the Pacific Crest Trail from Mexico to Canada and I end up staying on the west coast after that. I always try to find the solution to a problem and being a commuter in the PNW is getting your butt wet and damaging your beautiful leather seat. My solution is creating a waterproof cover for the seat that is removable and washable too.

What’s your favorite BikeCraft memory?
I discovered BikeCraft last year. I was really impressed how every vendor was so creative around the same theme in their own way .

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ANTHM Collective – website

Mmmmm, wool jerseys are one of the best things about winter. Wool keeps you warm even when it’s raining, breathes well, and is comfortable after you’re done riding, rather than needing to be immediately removed as far from your skin as possible. I’m excited to see what this new, local brand has to offer. Welcome to BikeCraft, Brian and team!

What are you bringing to BikeCraft? What’s the most important thing people should know about it?
The main focus will be on our Wool blend cycling jersey. The Saltzman Jersey (Men’s and Women’s, short sleeve and long sleeve) debuted last year as a partnership with River City Bicycles. Since then, it has become the cornerstone of ANTHM Collective as the brand continues to grow. It is sustainably sourced with a transparent supply chain using the finest materials out there. Sewn and finished right here in Portland! We’ll also bring some other product types like headwear and our 100% Organic Made in USA t-shirts.
Tell us about yourself—what events in your life led you to be doing this bikey craft?

My relationship with bikes followed a pretty standard trajectory. Fun bikes as a kid gave way to transportation bikes as an adult. I came to racing late, but bikes have been central to my life for about 15 years now. Mostly of the non-paved variety.

Professionally, I had the good fortune of working with some of the greatest alpinists and big mountain skiers of this generation. Building products to keep them alive in the most extreme conditions opened my eyes to what could be accomplished with textiles and exceptional manufacturing. When my career transitioned away from those product types, I still needed that outlet for building beautiful and technical apparel. The natural progression was to marry my personal passions of sustainability and cycling by creating apparel under my own label.

What’s your favorite BikeCraft memory?

First time for ANTHM, first time for me. But very excited to join the gang.

Learn more about BikeCraft at the official website.

— Elly Blue/Microcosm Publishing

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After WA won #1 for a decade, Bike League changes its state-by-state report cards

Seattle Bike Blog - Wed, 12/05/2018 - 13:41

From the League of American Bicyclists’ 2018 WA State Report Card (PDF).

Perhaps tired of handing the top honors to a barely-deserving Washington State year after year, the League of American Bicyclists changed its annual state-by-state rankings into a set of 50 individual report cards that track each state’s progress. And by this new measure, Washington State isn’t doing so hot.

Washington had won the top spot in the League’s rankings an absurd ten years in a row. On one hand, this was an impressive feat by our state. But after years of winning the honor even without any tangible progress, it also started to feel a bit sad. Were other states even trying? Was Washington winning “best” or “least bad?”

So while it might take a positive headline away from Washington, it probably makes sense to stop ranking our state number one every year. Instead, the League is issuing each state a report card that tracks its own progress compared to the previous year. And their report isn’t as rosy:

Washington state, the only state to be ranked #1 in the ten years of our Bicycle Friendly State ranking, shows some weakness in its federal data indicators.

While the state’s federal data indicators are consistently above the national average and each one is in the top 10 over the last decade, both the rate of bicycling to work and the rate of bicyclist traffic fatalities are headed in the wrong direction.

The state certainly has the tools to reverse these trends in both
its advocacy organizations and the Washington Department of Transportation & Public Facilities, but the state is in danger of losing its long-time #1 ranking.

In a weird way, though, WSDOT seems to be doing better work on biking in recent years than it has throughout its history. Biking and walking elements rarely feel like afterthoughts anymore. Compare the quality of the 520 Bridge Trail to the I-90 Bridge Trail, for example. And while the department is still carrying out a lot of backwards freeway projects (often due to state legislature funding earmarks), top leadership takes biking and walking seriously. Remember when WSDOT Secretary Roger Millar said traffic congestion is due to a lack of affordable housing with access to better transportation options? That was awesome.

So, Washington, we have a lot more work to do. And maybe benchmarking our progress against ourselves (or bike-friendly nations around the world) would be more useful than comparing ourselves to the other 49 states.

More data from the report card (PDF):

Tour of California bike race host cities announced for 2019

Biking Bis - Wed, 12/05/2018 - 12:35

It’s hard to believe the Tour of California is celebrating its 14th year in 2019.

I remember anxiously awaiting the pre-race announcements for the event that was scheduled to start in February 2006. What was the route? What were the teams? Who would be the top riders (George Hincapie, Floyd Landis, and Levi Leipheimer competed)?

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