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A one-woman show about bikes, played on bikes, is coming to Portland

Bike Portland - Wed, 11/01/2017 - 11:14

A performance piece that “extols the liberating power of the bicycle for women over the last 150 years” and “a theatrical song cycle about the bicycle as muse, musical instrument, and agent of social change,” will make its Portland debut on November 10th.

Portland theater company Boom Arts is hosting Canadian artist Evalyn Parry who will perform her solo work, “Spin”. In addition to her three shows there are bike rides and other events planned throughout the weekend. Local organizations, businesses and personalities including Gladys Bikes, The Sprockettes, Microcosm Publishing’s Elly Blue and PBOT Sunday Parkways manager Linda Ginenthal will be involved.

Here’s more about the show:

One part documentary and another part musical activism, Spin is inspired in part by the incredible true tale of Annie Londonderry, the first woman to ride around the world on a bicycle in 1895. parry spins a fascinating web of stories that travel from 19th-century women’s emancipation to 21st-century consumer culture, peeling back layers of history to reveal a surprising and contemporary heart to her theme of liberation.

A vintage bicycle, hooked up to simple electronics and suspended in a mechanic’s stand, is played – from fenders to spokes to vinyl seat, from whirling pedals to bells – by percussionist Brad Hart, providing a captivating sonic accompaniment to parry’s songs and monologues. Staged by award-winning director Ruth Madoc-Jones, with stunning visual projections by acclaimed designer Beth Kates, this unique show has delighted audiences across the continent.

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And here’s the full line-up:

Friday, November 10:
– Bike to the show with The Street Trust!
– Pre-show performance by The Sprockettes, Portland’s premiere mini-bike dance team!
– Post-show discussion with Linda Ginenthal, Sunday Parkways Program Manager, Portland Bureau of Transportation

Saturday, November 11:
– Bike to the show with feminist bike shop Gladys Bikes!
– Pre-show reading from Biketopia by Elly Blue
– Post-show discussion with Janice Dilg, History Built

Sunday, November 12:
– Family matinee performance followed by interactive kids’ activity
– Special under-18 ticket price: $8
– Best enjoyed by 8 and up, but everyone is welcome

Tickets are available online and are $20 general admission and $8 for kids under 18.

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

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Living with vehicular violence in America

Bike Portland - Wed, 11/01/2017 - 09:25

(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

What happened in lower Manhattan is a nightmare.

Unfortunately it’s a recurring one for many of us who ride bicycles in cities.

The idea that cars are weapons is not new to us. What’s new — now that even more innocent lives have been lost — is that thinking of cars as weapons isn’t as radical of an idea as it was 24 hours ago.

Cars are weapons. When someone drives one it becomes a loaded weapon. But unlike guns, cars are used by nearly everyone, everywhere, everyday. And unlike guns, cars don’t attract attention from authorities and they carry none of the constroversial stigma that guns do. On the contrary, cars and trucks are incessantly glorified in ways that normalize reckless disregard for everyone on the road except the all-important, all-powerful person behind the wheel. “Keep streets mean,” is Dodge’s irresponsible tagline.

Yesterday everyone saw just how “mean” streets can get when a man opened fire with a rental truck on that bike path. It has been officially tagged terrorism by authorities, making it just the latest in a disturbing global trend. Terrorist groups like ISIS encourage followers to use cars to inflict mass murder. These extremists have found our gaping weak spot. Like a Trojan Horse, weaponized automobiles are an easy way to breach America’s trillion dollar homeland security complex.

The disturbing thing is we didn’t need extremist propaganda to point out this vulnerability.

Just like America’s absurd inability to reign in gun violence has made us a laughingstock abroad, so too has our inability to reign in car abuse. Now we must add tool-for-mass-murder to the mile-long list of negative impacts we are all forced to live with due to the relatively unregulated use of motorized vehicles in this country.

What happened in Manhattan can happen in Portland.

On April 3rd of this year, Henry Nikila intentionally drove his car into a crowd of people in southeast Portland, injuring three of them. Why? They yelled at him to slow down.

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Now more than ever we should create spaces in our cities where people can walk and bike and exist without the threat of vehicular violence. This is NW 13th in Portland, a street that should be carfree more often.

On August 10th 2016, Russell Courtier used his Jeep to intentionally run over and kill Larnell Bruce. Bruce was black and Courtier had ties to white supremacy groups. The murder was ruled a hate crime.

And we’ve reported on numerous cases of intentional vehicular assault and of people who — for whatever reason — drove their cars onto bike-only paths.

To those of us who use bicycles as our daily vehicles, it doesn’t matter why people do these things. It’s the result of their actions we can’t stop thinking about.

Whether fueled by an ideological mission, malice, distraction, racial hatred, or road rage. Whether drunk with anger, alcohol, or religious fervor — there’s always one constant: the immense destructive potential of the automobile.

With anger in America — and anger towards America — at a breaking point, our transportation bureaus must act more like our police bureaus. Their job is no longer to just build roads, but to do whatever it takes to protect all the people who use them. There’s no homeland security until our bikeways and walkways are protected.

We don’t lack solutions, we lack the will to implement them. One solution stands out as both obvious and reasonable: More use of concrete barriers and steel bollards to keep drivers of cars and trucks away from vulnerable road users.

We use metal detectors to keep guns and knives out of buildings, we need bollards and barriers to keep cars out of bikeways.

An article in New York Magazine this morning makes the case:

The horror on the Hudson River Greeenway was an attack on pedestrians and cyclists. It was also eminently preventable. Sayfullo Saipov’s guns were fake, but his truck was real, and he used it to drive block after block after block, unimpeded by car traffic, free to crush Citi Bikes and their riders. He could do so because this ostensibly “protected” bike lane … isn’t…

In recent years, guided by Mayor Bill de Blasio’s allegiance to Vision Zero, the city keeps doling out new bike paths that are separated from ordinary traffic by raised curbs or parking spaces, or else just indicated by stripes of paint. That’s not enough…

We can’t crazy-proof all of New York, but the city could do a far more thorough job of safeguarding places where cyclists and pedestrians cluster.

We can choose to ignore the imminent threats Portlanders face on our streets everyday. We can keep planning and processing and promising forever. Or we can do something real and tangible about it. If our lofty “Vision Zero” proclamation is to have any shred of credibility, we’ll choose the latter.

For insights and updates from activists in Manhattan, follow @brooklynspoke, @transalt, @carolinesampo, @naparstek, @psteely, and @NYC_safestreets on Twitter.

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

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NYC bike path becomes scene of terror

Biking Bis - Tue, 10/31/2017 - 14:49

A New York City bike path used by bicyclists and pedestrians alike became the scene of a horrific attack Tuesday, leaving at least 8 dead.

A man reportedly drove a rented flatbed truck for nearly a mile along the West Side Highway bike path on Monday afternoon. After the truck rammed a school bus, the …

Continue reading »

A Commute Across the Duwamish

Bike Hugger - Tue, 10/31/2017 - 12:52

135s are usually categorized as portrait lenses for studio work, but if you take one to the streets, the subjects are as sharp as the schedules they keep. On an assignment for Sony Mirrorless Pro, I shot the morning commute across the Duwamish river.

Sigma 135 attached to an a7R.

Like the commuters, I cross it at least once every ride. The Duwamish is an industrialized estuary and Seattle’s only river. It’s estimated that less than 1/2 of Seattleites know the river exists or that it’s on the Superfund list.

Best known for the tech companies here, the tides of the Duwamish are a reminder that Seattle is really a port town and a hub of trade since the gold rush.

Be it gold, bits, or groceries delivered in an hour, Seattle has always boomed and busted. I don’t think I’ll see a bust again, been through 2 in my time here, but will photograph the industrial side of Seattle before it’s gentrified into condos and office buildings.

Deep in a 5-billion-dollar boom, the commuters rushed across the bridge to work and the construction cranes downtown, while tugs pushed freight along the Duwamish River and people fished for chum salmon at the port.

There’s a blue-collar essence to Seattle lost in the hum of tech like Amazon, jets at Boeing Field, and the smell of Starbuck’s coffee with whiffs of pungent cannabis grows.

Sigma 135: at the Port of Seattle.

I rode the Tern GSD and true to its name, it helped me get shit done, like a photo shoot.

Sigma 135: on the Spokane Street Bridge. Sigma 135: with a pint at Naked City. Sigma 135: on the bike path. Sigma 135: fishing at the Port of Seattle. Sigma 135: crossing the Duwamish. Sigma 135: tugs pushing freight. Sigma 135: train drawbridge. Sigma 135: bike share. Sigma 135: Concrete plant.

Read more about this morning commute shoot on Medium or Sony Mirrorless Pro, and I’ll have a full review of the Tern GSD soon.

The post A Commute Across the Duwamish appeared first on Bike Hugger.

After outcry, Saltzman promises new plan for bikes on Willamette Blvd – UPDATED

Bike Portland - Tue, 10/31/2017 - 09:34

In just one day last week over 415 Portlanders signed a petition calling for safer cycling conditions on North Willamette Boulevard. And Commissioner Dan Saltzman (who oversees the Bureau of Transportation) agrees with them.

As we reported on Thursday, the grassroots neighborhood group Friends of Willamette Blvd, had spent years cooking up their ideas to improve cycling access on this crucial link in the bike network. Then when PBOT suddenly started a paving project on one section of the street, they saw an opportunity and swung quickly into action. To their credit, PBOT will often update lane striping for better bicycle access when they do repaving projects. But it’s not a given, and often the new, more bike-friendly striping only happens as a result of either a sharp staffer or community memnber flags the opportunity.

After an overwhelmingly positive response to their petition last week, volunteer advocate Kiel Johnson with Friends of Willamette Blvd sent an email to Commissioner Saltzman on Friday. “The City has an immediate opportunity to improve the street for people who walk, take transit, and bicycle,” he wrote. “Now is the time to re-purpose the low-use on-street parking to improve safety, comfort, and access for people traveling actively.”

Johnson than listed the names of the 415 people who had signed the petition. He received a response from Saltzman less than four hours later.

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Willamette Blvd in 2014. It has gotten very minor improvements since then, but it should be so much better than this.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

“Thank you for flagging this issue for me and for sharing your concerns and your ideas for making Willamette better and safer for all,” the commissioner replied. “Our office has been hearing all year about the dangers to cyclists and other road users from the potholes on Willamette, but you are absolutely right that the timing of this repaving is a perfect opportunity to make the road safer, a street that better serves people walking, biking and taking transit and allows more Portlanders to enjoy its impressive views.”

“Thank you” is nice to hear; but proof of Saltzman’s sympathy and grasp of the issue will only be evident with changes that live up to his words. To that point, he added a hopeful comment. “I have already directed PBOT staff to implement a plan to meet these objectives. Staff will begin this work and will be in touch with you and adjacent neighbors early next week.”

We’re looking forward to seeing what PBOT comes up with.

The Friends group is hoping for buffered bike lanes on both sides and a large shoulder on the south side. When PBOT last approached a major bikeway update on Willamette they proposed shifting the standard lanes south to make room for a two-way bikeway on the north (residential) side. Both of those scenarios would require space currently used for parking cars. Even though the existing lane used for parking cars sees extremely low use and even though almost everyone who lives on that stretch of Willamette has a large driveway and/or a sidestreet they can park on, it remains to be seen whether PBOT will have the courage to repurpose the space.

UPDATE, 2:46 pm: PBOT has released the plans. Looks like they did it! The official striping plan is essentially the same as Friends of Willamette Blvd asked for:

Here’s more from the project website:

To improve the safety, accessibility, and comfort for people walking, taking transit and bicycling, PBOT will be re-striping N Willamette Blvd to include a shoulder area on the south (bluff) side of the street for transit access and pedestrian space (see image, below). The re-striping plan will also add a buffer area to the bike lanes on either side of the street. The additional space required for re-striping the street will require removing automobile parking on N Willamette from N Rosa Parks Blvd to N Woolsey Ave (see project map, below). Access to driveways, parking lots, and on-street parking on adjacent side streets will not be impacted by the changes. These changes are expected to occur after November, 10th 2017.

Repaving will take place from late-October 2017 to mid-November 2017; restriping to follow repaving work.

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

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Eddy Merckx Corsa

Velospace - Tue, 10/31/2017 - 02:35
Frame / Size / Year:
Eddy Merckx Corsa - 57cm cc 1983

PBOT adds bike lanes, crosswalks to tricky SE Holgate intersection

Bike Portland - Mon, 10/30/2017 - 15:43

Fresh and green on SE Holgate. (Photos: BikePortland reader)

The Portland Bureau of Transportation has finished an update to the intersection of Southeast Holgate and 41st/42nd.

This is an offset intersection that has bike lanes running north-south. But the bike lanes used to disappear on Holgate, requiring people to enter the intersection unprotected (legally and physically) to make the crossings.

Here are two before shots:

To improve bicycle access across Holgate PBOT has striped buffered bike lanes on both sides of the street. The lanes and turn boxes are colored green and plastic wands have been installed in the buffer zone for added protected. PBOT has also added new, “crossbikes” at both intersections to further facilitate bicycle crossings.

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Holgate looking westbound.

The project is part of 12 updates PBOT promised for 2017 as part of their “High Crash Network” projects that are listed in their Vision Zero Action Plan. Funding for the project comes from the Fixing Our Streets program made possible by an increase in local gas taxes.

This is an area that’s not in my normal home/work/play zone so I haven’t seen this myself. Anyone ride here and care to comment about how it’s working?

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

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DA won’t pursue charges against driver of truck that killed Tamar Monhait

Bike Portland - Mon, 10/30/2017 - 12:44

Screen grab of video from the scene of the collision.

The Multnomah County District Attorney’s office will not pursue criminal charges against the man who was driving the garbage truck that ran over and killed Tamar Monhait on August 21st.

Deputy District Attorney Nicole Jergovic, in a memo released on Thursday (PDF), wrote that, “After a complete and very thorough investigation by the Portland Police Bureau’s Major Crash Team, it is apparent that Tamar Monhait’s death was an accident and the facts do not support a criminal homicide.”

This decision was reached despite the fact that a PPB investigator concluded Monhait had the legal right-of-way and that the garbage truck operator, Paul Thompson, did not use his turn signal (contrary to what he told PPB officers at the scene), admitted to trying to beat an oncoming train, cut the left turn sharply, and was described by a witness as taking the left turn “fast”.

In order to pursue charges, the DA would have to convince a jury beyond a reasonable doubt that Thompson’s actions were willfully negligent and reckless.

Paul Thompson had apparently not activated the turn signal before or during the turn onto SE Taylor, thereby not making any conspicuous indication of his intended change in direction to other road users.
— from the DA’s memo

In the four-page memo Jergovic lays out the salient facts in the case and shares the legal analysis that led her to her conclusion.

According to the memo, Thompson was driving southbound on Water Avenue at around 1:50 am and had initially wanted to turn left (east) on Yamhill. However, he changed his route upon hearing an oncoming southbound train. “His statements to [PPB] Officer Sandler,” reads the memo, “were that he was ‘trying to beat the train’ and using his two-way radio.” Thompson turned turned left just one block south of Yamhill.

Even though Monhait was riding and at a reasonable speed in a bike lane, Thompson says he didn’t see her until she was “right in front of him”. He also told the PPB he completed his radio call before he turned and that he was “not in a rush” at the time of the collision. Video of the collisio shows Thompson’s truck came to rest with its driver-side wheels across the centerline and resting in the oncoming lane. DA Jergovic said in a phone call today that cutting a corner sharply isn’t “something out of the ordinary for someone driving a truck of that size.”

A witness who was standing on the corner and saw the crash, told investigators that despite not visibly speeding, the truck operator, “did turn fast.” But that witness also said neither party in the collision was traveling too fast for conditions.

The police found no signs of intoxication with Thompson.

Monhait, on the other hand, had a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .128 — well above the legal limit. The lead PPB officer on this case determined that Monhait’s alcohol intake was a factor in the collision because, as noted in the memo, “alcohol is a depressant and can delay normal brain functions such as concentration, hand-eye coordination and reaction time.” While she was above the legal limit, and a fact about alcohol impacts were mentioned in the memo, there’s no proof that Monhait’s actions were actually influenced by her alcohol intake. The PPB officer on the case said Monhait was riding in the proper position on the road. The officer also mentioned that Monhait made no “evasive action” prior to the collision. Regardless of her BAC level, there’s no reason Monhait would have tried to avoid the collision because there was no turn signal used, she had the right-of-way through the intersection, and the truck operator made a “fast” and illegal left turn right in front of her.

According to the memo:

Paul Thompson had apparently not activated the turn signal before or during the turn onto SE Taylor, thereby not making any conspicuous indication of his intended change in direction to other road users.

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The lack of visibility was a key consideration for the PPB and the DA in their analysis of this collision. There was repeated mention in the memo that Monhait was not wearing reflective or highly visible clothing:

She was wearing dark colored pants and a tan and white plaid shirt and a black purse. None of her clothing was reflective or high-contrast. Officer Maynard notes that he knows from experience that pedestrians and bicyclists often overestimate their visibility and believe they are visible to drivers when they actually are not. This is particularly true at night.

The driver was not intoxicated and he did not engage in reckless or criminally negligent driving behaviors. He was turning at an appropriate and lawful speed. He failed to signal his turn. But otherwise, the manner of his driving was unremarkable.
— from the DA’s memo

There’s no Oregon law that requires vehicle operators to wear high-visibility clothing; but in this case Monhait’s lack of visibility is likely a factor that would influence jurors.

The intersection was described as being “relatively well-lit” with overhead streetlights and lights from adjacent buildings. However, the east side of the street (where Monhait was hit) is noticeably darker than the west side.

Monhait was also not using a front light (which means she was in violation of an Oregon law). To determine how visible she would have been, officers recreated the collision by recording video from both a bicycle and truck operators’ perspectives:

Officer Maynard noted that while riding with no front headlight, he felt as though he would easily be visible to vehicles as they passed despite the fact that he did not have a front light. When he later viewed the video, he noted that it was actually much more difficult to observe him (a cyclist) than he had thought or expected.

Given what is known about the facts of the case, Jergovic determined that there is nothing in Oregon’s criminal code that is applicable to the actions of Mr. Thompson.

In order to pursue charges, the DA would have to prove “beyond a reasonable doubt” that Thompson acted with criminal negligence, which means (as per ORS 161.085(10)), “that a person fails to be aware of a substantial and unjustifiable risk that the result will occur or that the circumstance exists. The risk must be of such nature and degree that the failure to be aware of it constitutes a gross deviation from the standard of care that a reasonable person would observe in the situation.”

To find someone guily of criminal negligence in a case like this, the DA has to prove a certain mental state of the defendant. They do this by looking at all the actions and behaviors prior to and immediately following the collision. Because it likely comes with a prison sentence and serious consequences, a DA has to determine that the person did more than just make an innocent mistake. They usually require reckless and/or drunk driving to reach the criminal threshold. These behaviors would be enough to reach the all-important legal requirement of, “gross deviation from the standard of care that a a reasonable person would use.”

Here’s more from the memo:

Historically, most vehicular homicides are charged as Manslaughter I or II because they involve intoxicated drivers who also speed, make unsafe passes, run stop signs or red lights, and engage in other aggravated, aggressive driving. Under Oregon case law, Criminally Negligent Homicide cases typically involve similarly bad driving, but usually without intoxication. “Criminally Negligent” vehicular homicides are fairly rare since the level of bad driving required by this crime is usually accompanied by intoxication, which then elevates the conduct into the “reckless” category, resulting in a charge of manslaughter.

In Oregon, not every fatal vehicle accident can or should result in felony homicide or other criminal charges, even when caused by a driver committing traffic violation(s) and/or being inattentive. The law requires substantially more egregious conduct to charge a driver with a criminally negligent homicide, with its presumptive prison sentence and many other serious consequences. Drivers who are not charged criminally do not, however, escape the law’s punishment; they are held responsible by a civil lawsuit using the standard of ordinary or “civil” negligence. This lesser form of negligence is generally defined as a failure to use “reasonable care” when acting in a given situation. “Reasonable care” is “what a reasonable person of ordinary prudence would, or would not, do in the same or similar circumstances.” Wollston v. Wells, 297 Or 548 (1984).

“Criminal negligence” is, therefore, more than a mere civil negligence. Criminal negligence is a significantly higher level of misconduct with the much higher criminal burden of proof. In a criminal case the burden of proof is “beyond a reasonable doubt,” while in a civil case the burden of proof is only “a preponderance of the evidence.” It is unusual to have negligent driving rise to such a high level that it becomes Criminally Negligent Homicide when death results.

In her conclusion, DA Jergovic said, “The driver was not intoxicated and he did not engage in reckless or criminally negligent driving behaviors. He was turning at an appropriate and lawful speed. He failed to signal his turn. But otherwise, the manner of his driving was unremarkable.”

On the issue of a civil case against Thompson, Monhait’s family has already filed suit. In a story last week, The Portland Tribune reported that lawyers who represent the trucking company have replied to Monhait’s family, “accusing Monhait of negligence in failing to have a front head lamp on her bicycle, failing to wear a helmet and bright clothing, riding while being intoxicated, riding too fast, and lacking effective brakes on her bike. It claims the company was ‘improperly named’ as a defendant, that Monhait ‘failed to yield the right of way to defendants’ and ‘struck’ the truck, ‘causing her own death’.”

From here, the PPB will decide if Thompson deserves a traffic citation.

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

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The Monday Roundup: What Amazon wants, street harrassment, overcoming eyerolls, and more

Bike Portland - Mon, 10/30/2017 - 08:55

This week’s Monday Roundup is sponsored by Showers Pass. Don’t miss their annual warehouse sale on November 11th.

Welcome to Monday. Here are the stories that caught our eyes last week…

Problematic panacea: Victoria Transport Policy Institute Founder Todd Litman shares his top reasons to be skeptical of autonomous vehicles, including the Zombie Kangaroo Costume Challenge and the Titanic Safety Dilemma.

Wolf Whistles and Creepy Compliments: The Safe Routes to School National Partnership has resources that will help decrease and prevent the all too common phenomenon on harrassment while biking and walking to school.

“Vision Zero” easy to say, hard to do: A few years ago Vision Zero came into vogue and many mayors issued proclamations about it. Now we’re seeing that many of them were just blowing smoke.

More pricing policy momentum: A commission tasked with digging into mobility pricing for the metro Vancouver (Canada) region says the time is right to make some modes more expensive.

Dying for better bikeways: Montreal was by far the best city for cycling in North America years ago; but advocates think they’ve fallen too far behind and they want safer infrastructure (sound familiar, Portland?).

Paris loves e-bikes: Velib bike share was one of the largest and earliest success stories. Now all 20,000 bikes in the fleet will be upgraded to electric-assist.

3-D zebras: The internet has gone mad for this 3-D zebra-striped crosswalk painted in a town in Iceland, created in hopes of getting people in cars to slow down.

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The middle finger heard ’round the world: A woman riding a bicycle staked out Trump at his golf course and followed his motorcade with the specific goal of flipping him off as he came by. She succeeded beyond her wildest dreams:

A woman on a bike gestures as the motorcade with US President Donald Trump departs Trump National Golf Course in Sterling, Virginia

— AFP news agency (@AFP) October 29, 2017

Overcoming “eyerolls and stinky attitude”: Don’t miss this great interview with Portlander Aqua Dublavee about what it’s like to face fears as a new rider. It’s part of an interview series by Friends on Bikes.

What Amazon wants: The NY Times delves into what the behemoth company in a second headquarters city — and a lot of it has to do with being a place where employees can thrive without using a car.

Lawmaker, lawbreaker: Oregon State Rep Julie Parrish got pulled over and cited for distracted driving — a law she supported in last year’s legislative session.

Scope of distraction problem: Bloomberg has a sobering report about how the lack of federal data on the role of smartphones in traffic crashes is making it harder to tackle this public health epidemic.

Distracted walking a crime too: On October 25th the city of Honolulu, Hawaii became the first in the United States to begin enforcing a law against using a cell phone while walking.

Trackless rail: China has launched an urban train that runs on an invisible line underground. Imagine the reduction in injuries and improved safety of our streets if we had these in Portland!

This is the Thursday Night Ride: Excellent local photographer Eric Thornburg has come out with a beautiful short film that captures the who, what and why of Portland’s TNR.

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

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Paconi SLX New

Velospace - Sun, 10/29/2017 - 17:24
Frame / Size / Year:
Paconi / 59cm / ??

Cyclocross Crusade will feature adaptive bike race on Saturday

Bike Portland - Fri, 10/27/2017 - 13:06

(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

It’s a big weekend for cyclocross as the River City Bicycles Cyclocross Crusade series heads to Bend for their annual Halloween festivities.

This year — in addition to the usual two full days of racing, legendary costume contest, and huge blowout party sponsored by Deschutes Brewery on Saturday night — organizers have something new up their sleeve: an adaptive bike race.

The Crusade’s Halloween party has been a benefit for the nonprofit Oregon Adaptive Sports for the past several years. According to Sherry Schwenderlauf with the Cyclocross Crusade, the Bend chapter of OAS reached out earlier this year in hopes of allowing its members to try their handcycling skills on the ‘cross course.

Schwenderlauf says about six people from Bend will take part in the event. Using handcycles, they’ll race for 30 minutes on a modified section of the course’s grassy bowl area near the brewery on Saturday afternoon after the other races have finished.

“We are thrilled to have the handcycles riders race on our course. It’s something new and exciting,” Schwenderlauf said, “We believe everyone should have the opportunity to try ‘cross!”

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In other adaptive cycling news, the City of Portland will wrap up is Adaptive Biketown program this weekend. The program, which launched back in July, allows people to rent handcycles, tandems, and recumbents. Participants need to make a reservation at Kerr Bikes on Water Avenue (near OMSI on the Esplanade) and get properly fitted before renting a bike.

In an announcement made this week, Biketown said this weekend is the final chance to take advantage of the program.

The weather is supposed to be gorgeous this weekend, so give it a try!

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

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Introducing the SaunaVelo: Portland’s mobile, bike-powered warming hut

Bike Portland - Fri, 10/27/2017 - 10:44

Simon Lyle and his SaunaVelo.
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Powered by leg muscles and fire, the SaunaVelo is the manifestation of many passions for southeast Portland resident Simon Lyle. At its core, the cedar wood structure that sits atop a bicycle trailer is simply a place to warm up. But it’s also a mobile community builder. After all, it’d be difficult to enjoy its warmth — usually done wearing only your skivvies — without getting to know the people huddled next to you.

For Lyle, the 37-year old builder who grew up near the Buckman neighborhood of inner southeast Portland where I met him yesterday, the SaunaVelo is a fun side-project. But it’s also much more than that.

Sketching out the plan.
(Photo: Simon Lyle)

“I’m obsessed with old wooden boats,” Lyle shared with me as we sat on the long benches inside the SaunaVelo. Several years ago he came across a photo of a sauna bike built in Prague, Czechoslovakia and thought to himself, “I could build that!”

As he began to draw up plans and gather the parts and materials for the subframe, ribbing, and wood stove, Lyle began to realize that a small structure with heat could have other uses. As a kid he hung out at St. Francis Park on SE Stark and 11th where his dad worked for 20 years as the maintenance supervisor for the church and apartment block that used to serve thousands of homeless Portlanders. “Witnessing how those people lived was a huge wake-up call for me,” Lyle shared.

Interior with the wood stove and copper fire shrouds at the far end.

A look at the trailer and hitch set-up below the custom wood door (yes, those are utensils).

Oops! This is where he banged the side on a bollard while biking on the Esplanade.

Warming up Willamette River swimmers at the opening of Audrey McCall Beach on October 13th.
(Photo: Simon Lyle)

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“My favorite comment was when someone said, ‘I don’t even know what that is, but I like it.'”
— Simon Lyle

A product of Portland Public Schools, Lyle got into the building trades and was mentored by local housing developer (and Portland Planning Commissioner) Eli Spevak of Orange Splot LLC. Now co-owner of his own construction company (along with his brother Rion), Lyle specializes in residential projects, tiny homes and accessory dwelling units (ADUs). One of his current projects is the Clackamas County Veteran’s Village. “At first I wanted a sauna,” he said yesterday, “But I also wanted a solution for sleeping in the streets.” Staying warm in a tiny house is tricky because insurance companies don’t allow heating elements, so Lyle hopes the heating lessons he’s learning with the SaunaVelo can be applied to other projects down the road.

At about four-feet-wide by-six feet tall, the SaunaVelo just barely fits through the bollards on the Eastbank Esplanade path. Lyle pointed out repairs he made to the right corner after smashing into one of them over the summer. With an estimated weight of about 200-300 pounds it has an 800 pound capacity. Lyle said eight people squeezed into it at its debut event at Pedalpalooza over the summer.

The roof of the pod looks like the hull of a boat with overlapping cedar shingles glued together and held in place by ribs. The small stove was made from an old air compressor and is fed via a door on the outside of the pod above the trailer hitch. A steel pipe welded to the stove sticks out the top and acts as the chimney (and as an “open” sign when smoking that draws people near). Lyle made the trailer bed himself and purchased the wheels and hitch mechanism from Bikes at Work. He tows it with his five-speed Jamis Commuter bike, although he’s looking to upgrade to electric-assist to help him pedal it further afield.

Lyle wants to build more SaunaVelos. This first one cost him about $2,000 in labor and materials and he figures he could bring the price down considerably on future versions. He envisions people might rent one or perhaps even do a “Sauna share” with friends where everyone pays dues like a co-op. And with Portland’s new approach to RVs and tiny homes, a structure like the SaunaVelo can be legally lived-in as long as its parked on private property.

Legalities aside, the SaunaVelo is anything but private. Like many of his creations, Lyle said its design was partly influenced by the work of people like Mark Lakeman who founded the City Repair Project and Communitecture. Community building through small-scale architecture is at the heart of Lakeman’s legacy.

“At the root this is about getting to know your neighbors,” he shared. “I’ll fire it up on Fridays and everyone in the neighborhood will gather around it. My favorite comment was when someone said, ‘I don’t even know what that is, but I like it.'”

Check out more of Simon’s work at and follow the SaunaVelo’s adventures (including a recent run-in with police in Ladds Addition) via Instagram.

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

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