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Portland debuts new ‘Struck’ road safety PSA campaign

Bike Portland - Mon, 04/02/2018 - 15:25

Screen grab from the video.

In what they referred to as their “first big push” on the education side of their Vision Zero work, the Portland Bureau of Transportation launched a road safety media campaign today.

PBOT Director Leah Treat at today’s press conference.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

“Every deadly car crash ends two lives,” reads the narrator of a 30-second video (watch it below). “The person who loses their life. And the person who loses the life they had. It’s time to slow down Portland.”

The campaign centers around the idea that more than one life is impacted in a traffic crash. “Where there’s a fatal crash,” said PBOT Director Leah Treat as a press conference in City Hall, with family members of traffic crash victims standing by her side, “There’s more than one victim. The person who died, obviously it’s devasting to their family and their loved ones. There’s also, on the other side, the person who was driving the car that killed someone.”

The video (below) and imagery is based on a collision involving a driver — but the car is invisible.

Treat said that while there’s “some assignation of responsibility” toward the driver, they don’t usually get as much sympathy. “I think there needs to be an understanding that the driver who hits somebody, their life is impacted for the rest of their lives as well,” she continued. “And if we want driver behavior to change we actually have to be doing outreach, engagement and media that talks to drivers about the impacts that fatalities can have on them, their loved ones, and the rest of their life.”

PBOT spent $300,000 on the campaign, which was paid for with funds set-aside form cannabis tax revenue. The budget included production work from advertising agency Borders Perrin Norrander and a media buy to broadcast a short video and graphics through various channels — including a regional commercial spot that will air during tonight’s NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship game.

Here’s the 30-second video:

And here are the visuals that will appear on the side of buses throughout the region:

PBOT has also produced a series of GIFs they can use on social media.

Rob Thompson with Borders Perrin Norrander said that the idea to focus on drivers came from Portland Police Bureau Traffic Division Captain Mike Crebs. “From talking with Capt. Crebs, we suddenly realized the two sides of the coin and the importance of acknowledging the driver as the person whose behavior we need to change… When Crebs made us realize that that side of the equation is often overlooked, that felt like a really new place for us to go.”

As for removing the car completely, Thompson said it was about trying to make the spot as simple as possible. “We stripped the car away from a car crash. We created a collision with no automobile — because ultimately what this is is a collision of two lives. It’s two existences that hit each other and they are forever changed. One may end, both may end, but no matter what, nothing will be the same.”

Kristi Finney-Dunn lost her son Dustin Finney to a traffic crash in 2011. Now she’s one of the leaders of Families for Safe Streets, an activism and support group for people who have lost loved ones to traffic crashes. Her group was consulted about the campaign and they chose to support it, even though it shines the light on the other side of the windshield. “Maybe they’ll care if they understand that there are consequences for them too,” she shared in an interview after the press conference.

PBOT has been here before. This is probably my fifth or sixth press conference at City Hall in the past 13 years where police, PBOT staff, and families of victims say they’ve had enough. I asked Finney-Dunn if she thinks something will be different this time. “I think they’re going to have to keep it up. If they let it slide.. if they… If they don’t keep it up it’s not going to last.” Given that we have a new Vision Zero Action Plan, I asked her, do you think we have a better footing to make progress now? “I really, just think I can say… I hope so,” she replied.

Finney-Dunn also speaks at Victim Impact Panels — where people who’ve committed crimes are forced to listen to people impacted by them. Finney-Dunn said there’s a speaker who does some of the panels who hit and killed three people with his car. “That’s the speaker who gets the most attention from the audience,” she said, “And I think it’s because they can put themselves in those shoes better. It’s easier for them to see it from that point of view.”

“So given that,” Finney-Dunn continued. “We thought this campaign would be a good idea.”

We posted the video on our Facebook page a few hours ago. Reader Eric Iverson had this to say:

“The phrase ‘ends two lives’ aggravates me as the person who died is very dead. The person who ‘loses the life they had’ often is far from the truth. For example, the ‘I didn’t see them’ excuse has let people off with as little as a traffic ticket in recent Portland crashes causing death or severe injury. So it does not end two lives in a lot of cases. It ends an innocent life, and slightly inconveniences the guilty party.”

PBOT says the campaign will run for two months. In addition to the commercial during the NCAA game tonight, it will run on TriMet buses and in local movie theaters.

This is just one part of PBOT’s Vision Zero campaign. They’ve announced over $40 million in infrastructure safety projects, have deployed several speed cameras on high crash streets, and today’s press conference came less than 48 hours after a new 20 mph residential speed limit went into effect.

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

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Aviva Stephens | Bikes are for boys: Cycling while woman

Seattle Bike Blog - Mon, 04/02/2018 - 12:16

EDITOR’S NOTE: Aviva Stephens is a Seattle native and financial professional who discovered the benefits and joys of cycling on her challenging work commute between Ballard and the Eastside. She just launched a new blog called Biking In the Rain, which is also on Instagram at @bikingintherain. Find more of her writing on Medium and follow her on Instagram at @avivarachelle.

As a young girl I rode my bike everywhere around town, to the corner store for my daily candy stash, through the lovely wooded areas around Seattle, and the beaches along Lake Washington. But once I hit my tweens I became consumed with the tidiness of my apparel, containing my offensive odor, and maintaining a cool facade that included no outwardly appearance of effort or trying. While the boys remained boys, I was being groomed by society to be a young lady for the remainder of my school days and into my professional career as a tax accountant. As I proceeded to pursue my life ambitions the bike of my childhood gathered dust in the garage, and those moments of joy slowly faded from memory.

In finding my way to bike commuting, I was faced with the unexpected challenge of having to hunt down where I fit in the bike community as a woman. In every facet of my experience — from shopping for bikes to finding folks to ride with to procuring bike apparel — there are countless implications that bikes are for boys. The majority of bike shops are full of boy employees, group rides are led by the boys from the bike shop, and the readily available apparel seems to only fit athletic boy like bodies.

I use the word boy rather than man because there is a certain child playfulness with cycling so boy seems more fitting. While navigating my way to bike commuting is much more challenging than purchasing a car at my local dealership, the benefits are enormous, including health, sanity, and most importantly finding my childlike spirit at least once during my work day.

It’s the little things

As a marginalized minority, I’ve grown accustomed to confused glances and microaggressive questions when I repeatedly defy stereotypes in my day-to-day life, but I was shocked to find this same friction present on my journey to bike commuting. While there’s no sign over the bike shop that says “boys only,” it’s the little things that send the “boys only” message loud and clear.  Just the other day my coworker took a glance at my sick-ass All-City road bike and asked “is that is girls bike,” then shoots me a confused glance that implied “because bikes for boys.”

Everywhere along my journey there are these little “boys only” signs that create a boys’ club mentality in the bike community.  Here’s a few that I’ve observed:

  • Bike shops are full of boys because bikes are for boys.
  • Online bike shops have three bike categories — Bikes, Women, and Kids — because bikes are for boys. While I can understand having a separate Kids category since Kids are usually smaller than adults, I’m still perplexed as to the difference between a Bike’s bike and a Woman’s bike. From the few Women’s bikes that I’ve seen the geometry tends to be a less aggressive riding position with a wide cushier saddle. Am I supposed to wear a corset and ride side saddle?
  • Levi’s line of bike commute apparel is only available for men because bikes are for boys.  This one is especially grading to me because I wear Levi’s religiously for bike riding. I give Levi’s my hard earned cash, sing their praises as great jeans for riding and yet they deliberately choose to not serve my demographic when developing their commute specific apparel line.
  • Bike helmets and hats, also available in the familiar “Bike, Women, and Kids” categories, but more ironic because even the Women’s helmets have no room for hair that is longer than two straight inches because bikes helmets are for boys with short straight hair. The Women’s helmets also tend to be smaller, do boys have big heads?
  • Even my beloved All-City bikes have masculine names like Macho Man, Nature Boy, and Cosmetic Stallion because bikes are for boys. My bike is a Mr. Pink and I’m pretty sure it’s named after Steve Buscemi’s character from Reservoir Dogs.

In navigating my way through the bike misogyny, I was lucky enough to encounter some badass cycling divas that gave me some great advice that enabled me to overcome these hurdles. Just being the presence of women in the bike community was super encouraging because it allowed me to envision myself on a bike.  It may sound simple, but we all need role models to inspire us.

Second, when I set out to purchase a bike, my friend Martina from Swift Industries (Editor’s Note: Swift is a longtime Seattle Bike Blog sponsor) told me, “Forget about bike reviews, websites, or what anyone else thinks, just go to all of the bike shops and ride as many bikes as you can until you find the bike that fits.” And that’s what I did. Bike shopping can be overwhelming, but just being in the bike shops, talking about what I want and learning everything I could is what catapulted me into the bike community.

Ultimately I purchased my All-City from Counterbalance, but it was only after a conversation I had with the folks at Free Range Cycles that led me there. I also learned my way around a bike from a reasonably-priced bike class offered at the Montlake Bicycle Shop.

Finally, there are great bike groups such as Black Girls Do Bike, Cascade Bicycle Club, and Friends on Bikes that have helped me along the way.

While there is an emerging support system for newbies to cycling coming from the margins, the social stigma of cycling while woman is still pervasive and continues to be a challenge every day I ride.

Is that a woman?…on a bike!

A few years ago I took an Eat, Pray, Love type excursion to France, my version was more like Drink, Eat, Shop. For the Drink portion of my journey, I rented a mountain bike in the Burgundy Valley and pedaled through the vineyards along a country road, popping into wineries along the way. The illustration below is from my trip, does it look like rolling hills of grapevines?

Côte de Beaune, France

I feel this image completely sums up the experience of cycling while woman because of a comment that a cheery English woman said to me during dinner after my ride. As I was taking my first sip of silky white burgundy, this woman walked up to me and curiously stated that had she had spotted me on my bike earlier that day and gleefully inquired to her husband “Is that a woman?…On a bike!” The combination of her shock, confusion, envy, joy, and proper English accent seemed to encompass the collective reaction to women in cycling.

  • Shocked at the sight because it’s uncommon,
  • Confused because bikes are for boys,
  • Envious of the smile on my face,
  • Joyous because of the realization that she could do it as well, and
  • Her seemingly sophisticated accent implied that woman are proper and bikes are not.

While planning this trip I had often fantasized about how romantic it would be to glide effortlessly through the grapevines while encountering handsome French wine makers. However, I was surprised at how much Burgundy, France, resembled Yakima, Washington, and my butt was killing after riding a cheap road bike over questionable country roads under the hot sun. At the end of the day I was covered in dirt and sweat, but fortunately I was able to take a hot shower and get gussied up before my eloquently French dining experience.

Women don’t sweat

This juxtaposition of my picturesque ride through wine country and the reality of my sore buns and sweaty dirty skin as a result is the same conundrum that I face with bike commuting everyday. While there are several aspects of bike commuting that are unwelcoming to women, I think the largest hurdle to get over is sweat. First, women don’t sweat…but we do, so confusing. I’m not saying that women don’t sweat ever, but it is not socially acceptable for woman to sweat in open spaces (unless you’re jogging) which is evidenced by the hordes of women squirreling away in yoga studios, Orange Fitness, Barre classes, SoulCycle, and the corners of the women’s only section of the gym.

While I have yet to change the minds and hearts of American society that will allow women to sweat out loud, I have discovered a few tricks that have helped me overcome this unrealistic sweat-less standard for my daily commute.

The biggest hurdle in the sweat battle is the implication that one must get dressed at work if they want to pedal to the office. Implied because traditional office apparel is neither bike nor sweat friendly, so if you want to bike commute you must get dressed at work.

Get dressed at work? No thanks! This is a nightmare for woman because of the plethora of toiletries that are required to for a woman to face day. Should a woman decide to go the get-dressed-at-work rout for her daily commute she must choose to either set up a second dressing room at the office or tote it back and forth on the bike. Again, no thanks! Despite the mental weight of having to maintain a mobile dressing room, my apparel and tidiness are my amore to face the long days of unwanted advances, constant critique, and doubtful glances of my skills and abilities.

Since I don’t subscribe to the get-dressed-at-work program, I search high and low for apparel that can withstand ten or so miles on the daily ride. While I am a tax professional, I am fortunate to work at a technology company where I can wear jeans and tee shirts in the office. However, I still don’t want to arrive to my morning meetings in a sweaty tee, so let’s address this sweat issue head on.

Office friendly bike apparel

No matter what your style there are a few things you can look for at your favorite shops that will get you from bike to conference room.

  • Natural and breathable properties — Cotton and wool are my dependable go to fabrics. Cotton is light and breathable, it’s not so quick drying but is durable to washing and easy to clean. Wool is the magical fabric that is breathable, durable and quick drying. Breathability is key because is moderates your body temperature that fluctuates while riding.
  • Flexible pants and tops — look for a little elastic in the your garments, this allows for greater range of motion for your ride.
  • No polyester — this a tough one because polyester is a cornerstone of the American apparel industry, it’s cheap, durable and long lasting so it’s hard to find garments without it. But it’s horrible for bike riding (or life in general) because it’s not breathable and holds odor. So if you are really concerned about sweat then polyester is your enemy.
  • Tapered pants and knee length skirts  —  bicycles have chains and gears, so if there’s flowing fabric from the calf down it can get caught in the gears and you could lose your bottoms before your first meeting.
  • Shoes with grip — thankfully we live in a time where functional shoes can also be fashionable. The things to look for in a casual bike shoe is a good grip for engagement with the pedal, comfort for comfort, and a good snug fit. If the shoe is not firmly affixed to your foot then you risk losing the shoe and falling off the bike. I could go on forever on this topic, but I will stop here and dedicate an entire post to office friendly bike apparel.
Let’s ride

I wrote this post because anytime I’m on my bike or talk about riding, I get questions from women on how I accomplished the task. I’ve heard several stories about how people used to ride bikes as girls, or in college, or before they got married, pregnant, or moved cities. So ladies, let’s ride! If you used to ride and miss the joys or if you’ve thought of riding but don’t know how, feel free to ask me questions and share your stories in the comments

The Monday Roundup: Bright lights, a dream IKEA, chop shops, and more

Bike Portland - Mon, 04/02/2018 - 11:06

This week’s Monday Roundup is sponsored by the Safe Zone Helmet Mirror ~ Scan for hazards of all types with the Safe Zone Helmet Mirror, made by Portland’s Efficient Velo Tools.

Welcome to April.

Here are the best stories we came across last week…

Too bright: If drivers are being blinded by the super-bright headlights in some new cars, imagine what they do to bicycle riders.

It’s the parking, stupid: Writing for The Market Urbanism Report, Portland’s very own Tony Jordan gives a clear explanation on how our city’s auto parking policies have impacted the creation of new affordable housing.

Future of parking garages: Since private cars in cities are destined for the rubbish heap, we’d be smart to come up with better ways of using all those garages.

Timing is everything: A study from Penn State found that a major reason people don’t bike is because they incorrectly estimate how long it will take to reach their destination.

Scooter regulations: With dockless e-scooters fast approaching, the City of San Francisco says they’ll introduce new regulations to keep them in check.

Tolls 101: Consider this feature article in Governing to be your weekly homework on why congestion pricing is so hot right now as a policy tool.

A lack of will: Hate to say we told you so… But new research shows the biggest barrier to changing the road safety status quo is lack of political courage. How do we change that? Create public urgency through activism that focuses on how unsafe roads are a public health hazard and an economic liability.

Now he sees the light: The governor of Arizona embraced unproven AV technology at first. Now that someone died because it backfired (like many smart people said it would), he suddenly gets tough and rescinds Uber’s right to test in his state. Gee what courage.

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An IKEA with no parking? Are you mad?! A new IKEA in Vienna is like a dream: Not only will it eschew auto parking (!!), it will carry only products that are easily portable by foot or cargo bike. Have a feeling this will become a destination for urbanists and planners worldwide once it’s built.

Bikes go first in NYC: Bike riders in the Big Apple will be able to legally go ahead with the green “walk” signal (aka leading pedestrian interval or LPIs) at 50 intersections as part of a pilot to improve safety and bike traffic flow.

Best Twitter bot ever: A new Twitter-based tool called @HowsMyDrivingNY lets people in New York query the license plate of drivers to view their citation history. Can someone start @HowsMyDrivingOr please?

Open-air chop shops: A new law proposed in Toronto aims to deter people who live on the street from “chopping” stolen bikes in public — a problem that plagues Portland as well.

Transportation matters: The next time you see/hear a politician who conveniently ignores the transportation sector in their lofty speeches about climate change — please show them this chart (wherein we learn GHG emissions from transportation have outpaced energy-based emissions for two years running).

DAPL bike tour: Martin Eberlen biked the 1,100 miles of the Dakota Access Pipeline and was able to meet many interesting people along the way.

Vehicle parking shock-and-awe: With all the hue and cry about the “shocking” piles of discarded bike share bikes in China, we couldn’t help but notice that VW is storing 300,000 diesel-engine cars at 37 lots across the country.

Thanks, Trump!: A rollback of EPA rules means that automakers are likely to produce even more toxic, less efficient cars. Which company will step up and adhere to the existing rules? Or better yet, follow even more stringent ones? (**crickets**)

“The community” vs “the cyclists”: Props to Doug at Brooklyn Spoke for writing out this phenomenon we’ve noted in many past project debates here in Portland: The biased perception that “residents” and “those cyclists” are different groups of people.

Video of the Week: Streetfilms looks at how the city of Hoboken improved visibility of intersections by removing parking (this is something Portland activists are pushing for too):

Hoboken Prioritizes Intersection Visibility over Car Parking from STREETFILMS on Vimeo.

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

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A big, all-ages turnout at annual Kidical Mass Easter ride

Bike Portland - Mon, 04/02/2018 - 06:27

The group reconnected after the spiral ramps over N Going.
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

First of all: next year there will be 1,000 eggs for the egg hunt at the end!

Our Family Biking column is sponsored by Clever Cycles.

➤ Read past entries here.

Despite cold temperatures and a bit of drizzle the forecast didn’t anticipate, 150 humans and 4 small dogs came out for the Kidical Mass Easter Ride! Many folks arrived early to Overlook Park and did a terrific job staying warm and motivated while waiting for the crowd to gather. Riding laps around the playground kept several kids warm, while twisting pipe cleaners into bunny ears for bike helmets did the trick for others.

Our ride was 3.2 miles and not a loop (here’s a map of the route on Ride with GPS) so even more kudos to the little pedalers and passengers who ended up doubling the mileage to get back to the start. Kidical Mass rides are often loops to make for easier navigation to and from, and for families who need to drive to the event.

The route was exciting right from the beginning with a crossing over MAX rails to leave the park…and then back over the rails to head west. We crossed through many big intersections and I want to give a special shout out to Kelley Goodwin from Community Cycling Center and Armando Luna, bike volunteer extraordinaire, for helping with traffic control. It’s wonderful to utilize the “safety in numbers” aspect of a big bike parade like this to use big streets and cross even busier streets — and having volunteers “cork” intersections so we can stay in a group and cross through them quickly all in one shot makes for a much more pleasant experience…not to mention easier and quicker for the cross traffic we’re smiling and waving at on our way by.

The spiral ramps on either side of the bridge over North Going Street were slow going as expected, and it was fun to see quite a few kids careen down the downhill spiral after having been stuck walking up the uphill one. This made for a few interactions with the side wall of the ramp, but everyone seemed fine and will hopefully think about using brakes next time!

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Winding around the Dog Bowl on North Willamette Boulevard is the part of the ride I find the most scenic, and even with today’s grey skies it was breathtaking. And we only take the quiet part of Willamette (south of Rosa Parks) where there are sharrows so we can take the lane and enjoy the view with few (or today, none) cars to worry about. I do hope we made enough space for the few oncoming bike riders we saw because it’s hard not to take up the entire road when it’s so free of other traffic. North of Rosa Parks the street gets busier and bikes have a bike lane so it’s a much different experience.

With a smaller group I would have cut through the park at the end, but it was terrific to ride all the way past Arbor Lodge Park and hear the shouts of recognition from the kids as they saw Harper’s Playground. And when we rounded the corner to the car-free block of North Delaware Avenue on the east side of the park the kids all saw the sprawl of Easter eggs and the the cheering started.

Huge thanks to Sara Davidson, Director of Kidical Mass PDX, for orchestrating the entire event including playing Easter Bunny and stuffing and hiding all the eggs. I had a blast leading the ride and can’t wait to ride again.

— Madi Carlson, @FamilyRide

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Bialetti Musa and Grinder

Bike Hugger - Sun, 04/01/2018 - 07:34

Bialetti, an Italian brand best known for its Moka Express is the #1 seller in Italy and has grown in the US and international markets to become an must-take stovetop coffeemaker for outdoor and fitness enthusiasts. When we travel, we take the Musa and Grinder with us.

The Musa’s compact shape lends itself to small kitchens, backpacks and traveling lifestyles and we take one with us when riding in the Methow Valley and anywhere else with a cabin in the woods.

Bialetti recognizes the “love” its Moka Express has received by outdoor/sports enthusiasts And, is the proud sponsor of the Team Colavita/Bialetti Women’s Cycling team.

At home, we have a convection cooktop so use the Musa with the grinder. It’s stainless and produces a smoother coffee taste than the aluminum.

The Musa is available in a 4-cup and 6-cup for $44.99 and $54.99 in Amazon.

The portable conical ceramic burr grinder crushes whole coffee beans into the desired coarseness, ensuring superior coffee flavor. It has an easy to adjust wheel to set preferred coarseness, as well as measurement markings located on the bottom chamber indicatiing the amount of grounds needed for a coarse, medium, fine, and ultra fine for use in coffee press, pour over, moka pot and ibrik (Turkish brew). Bialetti’s Manual Coffee Grinder is available for an MSRP of $49.99.

The Musa and Grinder work great and the company supports cycling. No wonder, they’re so popular with cyclists and anyone into the outdoors and making good coffee.

Bialetti also makes coffee, but we take a locally roasted batch with us like from Vashon Island or Victrola.

Whatever roast and grind you prefer, the Musa or Moka Express will make a good cup. I’ve also used the Brika that froths the coffee with a special valve (sort of like the creme on an espresso), but they don’t make it stainless. If they did, I’d have one of those as well;

The post Bialetti Musa and Grinder appeared first on Bike Hugger.

Industry Ticker: Blaq’s strapless backpack and a titanium hot dog skewer from Ruckus

Bike Portland - Fri, 03/30/2018 - 15:28

Ruckus is pivoting to hot dog cooking tools to capitalize on the #hotdogsoutside trend.
(Photo: Ruckus Composites)

Portland is home to bike companies known for pushing the envelope of product design.

Cases in point are BlaqPaks and Ruckus Composites. Their new offerings — available April 1st — are sure to get people talking…

BlaqPaks Zero Strap Backpack

BlaqPaks Announces the Worlds First Zero-Strap Backpack for April First Launch

Today, BlaqPaks, a handmade bag company specializing in waterproof bags, introduces new strapless bag technology that will revolutionize an industry that has long been stagnent. Building on proven dual strap and single strap bag models, this new strapless design frees the wearer from cumbersome over-the-shoulder attachment.

This innovative technology uses a hybrid shirt/bag velcro interface which allows for the fastest possible bag attachement times ever seen. This results in higher user satisfaction according to market research conducted by BlaqPaks. A variety of shirts will be available to match any wardrobe at time of launch.

Regarding the introduction of this revolutionary technology, BlaqPaks co-founder Jeremy Neal said, “We feel that strapless bags are the future for bag wearers everywhere. We predict that in a years time the technology will see broad adoption and we fully expect for strap bearing bags to be a thing of the past.”

Of the April 1st rollout for these innovative new bags, Neal says “It’s the perfect day to showcase new technology. Think of what the day has brought us in the past, from YouTube’s move to DVD to Google’s announcement of their Martian Data Center. We think the Zero-Strap backpack is a great addition to this storied rollout day.”

(*Video by Ginormous Industry)

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--> Ruckus Dog-On-It Skewer

Ruckus Composites, leaders in carbon fiber bicycle repair, announce world’s first titanium hot dog skewers

For ten years, Ruckus Composites has been pushing the boundaries of material science investigation. They’ve brought carbon repair to the mainstream. They’ve evaluated more than 8,000 frames and solved countless problems within the bike industry. But, one question still plagues the team at Ruckus Composites: what the hell is titanium good for?

Introducing the Dog-On-It, the new line of ultralight titanium hot dog skewers—made by Ruckus Composites—specifically for bikepacking adventures. Available in raw titanium or custom anodized finish. Ultralight, simple, elegant, durable and trendy. Made for wayfarers, outdoorsy trendsetters, and people who update their Instagram by the campfire; for adventurers with active, hip and healthy lifestyles. Made by Ruckus Composites, right here in the USA.

The “Dog-On-It” is made of ultra corrosion-resistant titanium, tipping the scales at 30 grams; and features a carbon fiber handle for the ultimate in heat shielding technology. The product is light and simple, and because Ti never degrades, you can enjoy #hotdogsoutside for years to come. The skewers feature #updogtechnology: no more floppy skewers, dropped dogs, or dirty campfire weiners. You spend so much money on everything else, why not have the best-in-class hot dog skewer technology as well?

So put a dog on it, doggone it…we double dog dare ya. Let Ruckus Composites help you prepare for tomorrow’s adventure, today. The road to simple, elegant and ultralight cooking is unpaved.

Ruckus Composites Owner and Head Engineer, Shawn Small says, “Ten years in, and we’re excited to be on the leading edge in pioneering the latest in hot dog technology.”

Have a great weekend everyone!

A test ride of LimeBike’s dockless electric vehicles

Bike Portland - Fri, 03/30/2018 - 13:50

Rolling on SW Stark yesterday with LimeBike’s Chief Program Officer Scott Kubly.
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Here’s my predication: It’s not a matter of if Portland will get dockless bikes, it’s a matter of when.

On Monday we revealed dockless bike share start-up LimeBike is hiring a full-time staff person to manage their fleet in Portland. In response to that story the City of Portland confirmed with us they’ve been in contact several bike dockless bike share providers. Bureau of Transportation spokesperson Dylan Rivera shared via email, “We are developing a timeframe and process for the permits needed to provide private bike share service.” This acknowledgment follows a field trip to Seattle earlier this year where PBOT bike share staff tested dockless systems.

Just yesterday, LimeBike Chief Program Officer Scott Kubly (a former director of the Seattle Department of Transportation and former colleague of PBOT Director Leah Treat) and LimeBike’s Portland-based Regional General Manager Jason Wilde were in town. They had one of their electric-assist bikes and an electric scooter along with them. I met them briefly downtown to learn more about the company and get a chance to test ride both products.

Just like Biketown bikes, these things are bright.

The first thing I grabbed was the scooter. Dockless, e-scooters have already hit the streets of San Francisco and a few other cities. They’re attractive to operators because they’re cheaper and easier to deploy — and more importantly — most cities don’t have any specific regulations that prohibit them (although San Francisco is talking tough).

The scooters would work just like the bikes. With the app on your phone you walk up to the scooter you want, scan the code, wait for the beep, and off you go. It’s $1 unlock and just 15 cents per minute once you get going.

I loved riding the scooter! My only reference were the scooters my kids have used over the years, so the first thing I noticed was how beefy it was. The stanchion that holds the bar, the platform to stand on, and the wheels themselves felt plenty stout (and I’m 6-foot 2-inches and about 175 pounds). There was a hand-brake on the left and a little throttle for my thumb on the right. All I had to do to get going was to push-forward gently with my leg.

The feeling was like a hybrid of biking and walking. I felt unencumbered by a large mechanism of metal tubes, yet I was in the road with other vehicles (riding on sidewalks downtown is illegal). Hitting large bumps and crossing light rail gaps was a bit unnerving at first; but fine once I got used to it. I liked how nimble the scooter felt, and how easy I could transition between being a vehicle in the road with car users, and then morph into more of a walker when I wanted to. I rolled over to the carfree Ankeny Alley and was able to ride it at walking speed in a crowded environment without people jumping out of the way or giving me the stink-eye.

Top speed was 15 mph (maximum allowed under Oregon law), which is all you need downtown (signals are set for 12 mph), until you get a jerk behind you who think you’re using a toy — but that’s something I’m used to as someone who rides a bike traffic all the time. Speaking of which, for people not used to biking in traffic, these scooters will take some getting used to. I would suspect a bit of a learning curve and a few tumbles for sure. One thing I don’t like about the scooter is I couldn’t signal my turns because I didn’t feel comfortable enough to take a hand off the bars. That’s really dangerous in a crowded street environment. They really need blinkers. (Or I suppose I could have tried kicking one leg out either side.)

Once I got the hang of it, I was comfortable weaving around busy downtown Portland traffic. And it was really fun and easy!

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Overall I’m very intrigued about the potential these scooters have for being an affordable, efficient, and safe way to get around. You probably wouldn’t commute or ride a few miles with these. The scooters would be perfect for moving within neighborhoods and commercial districts, or as a last-few-blocks solution from your transit stop to your destination.

And yes, electric scooters are allowed in bike lanes and paths in Oregon. However, according to this handy guide from the Oregon DMV, you cannot ride them in crosswalks. And unlike with bicycles, adults are required by law to wear helmets while using an electric scooter.

I also rode LimeBike’s “Lime-E” electric bike. It’s a basic city bike with everything you need including a bell, lights, and a basket. The first thing I noticed when I got on is that you don’t have to shift. Just start pedaling and the motor kicks in, with the gears changing automatically as you ride. The torque is much stronger at slow speeds, which was nice for jumping from a stop. But that meant I felt less power as I pedaled more. Overall it seemed like a fine bike. It’s not as stout or tight as our wonderful Biketown bikes (doesn’t look as cool either in my opinion), and I’d have to spend more time on it to really give it a full review.

E-bikes could really take a big bite out of Biketown. It’s so nice to have a free boost of power that can make hills a breeze and give someone an extra dose of confidence and power when they need it. For many people, having access to an affordable e-bike could be that game-changing factor that allows them to give cycling a try (and ultimately stop driving so much).

As for when we might see dockless e-bikes and e-scooters in Portland. Officially, everyone’s tight-lipped. But my personal hunch is that once PBOT finds a regulatory/political situation they’re comfortable with, they’ll put out a public invite to dockless vendors. Then they could host some sort of pop-up demonstration (like at Sunday Parkways for instance) and/or a pilot project to see how it goes.

The trouble is, dockless only works when a sufficiently sized area is saturated with bikes (Seattle has 10 times as many bike share bikes on their streets as we do). A limited trial might not demonstrate their true potential, but on the flipside, if too many hit the street and the parking clutter hysteria takes root, PBOT might get cold feet.

Hopefully we figure out a way to try this that gives this new technology a fair shake, without over-regulating it to death.

PBOT was famously slow to get a bike share system. It took us nine years to get from planning to signing a deal with Nike. They can’t do that with dockless. Things are moving fast and if Portland wants to reap the immense benefits of highly accessible, inexpensive, healthy competitor to private car use — the City needs to make this happen sooner rather than later.

And as host city of the just-announced North American Bike Share Association/Better Bike Share Partnership annual conference, Portland won’t want to look outdated.

Stay tuned.

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

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Carfree Kingston, a rail-trail path and more: New plan puts Washington Park’s future in focus

Bike Portland - Fri, 03/30/2018 - 11:04

Defunct Zoo Train tracks as seen from SW Kingston. There’s strong interest in converting this into a paved path.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

The updated Washington Park Master Plan that passed unanimously by Portland City Council on March 15th is the plan we need for our central city.

Its transportation elements include a vision to: keep cars on the periphery, reduce access for drivers, aggressively encourage transit use, create plaza and green spaces, and build protected paths for cycling and walking.

Washington Park is the “jewel in the crown” of our parks system (to quote Parks Commissioner Amanda Fritz) and it had been operating under a master plan that was passed in 1981. Because of smart management by Explore Washington Park (a city-funded Transportation Management Association, or TMA), auto use has declined considerably in the park in the past five years. In 2014, 80 percent of park visitors arrived by car. Last year that number was down to just 63 percent.

The updated master plan will hasten that curve.

Trends are good.

Here are some other noteworthy elements of the plan…

“Reduce the dominance of cars”

Improving the West Burnside entrance is a Phase 1 priority. Because it has no auto parking, it’s sure to help increase visitors who use feet, bikes, and transit.
(Drawing: City of Portland)

Park planners see the transportation issue in two parts: How people arrive at the park, and how they move around once inside it. On both fronts, the plan places a strong emphasis on leaving cars at home. Why? In addition to all the standard reasons, their 2017 visitor survey showed people who use transit and bikes to get to the park are around 17 percent more satisfied with their experience than those who drive.

To help encourage even more transit and bike use, here are just some changes the plan envisions:

  • strengthening connections from the Goose Hollow and Kings Hill MAX light rail stops and changing their names to “Washington Park North” and “Washington Park Central”,
  • improving the entrance on Burnside at 24th to draw foot and bike traffic from the popular NW 23rd commercial and residential area,
  • closing SW Tichener and Kingston in the northern end of the park to private vehicles and leaving it open only for biking, walking, shuttles and maintenance vehicles,
  • a new regional trail along the existing “Zoo Train” right-of-way (which is operated by Metro via a lease from City of Portland),
  • moving the large surface parking lot at the Oregon Zoo into a new parking structure (to be built someday in the Sylvan area) and replacing it with a “central green space.”

The plan’s priorities were broken down into three phases. Phase 1 calls for a new transportation management plan (TMP) that will delve deeper into parking, circulation and access issues. The plan will be developed by Explore Washington Park — an organization with a very favorable opinion of transit, biking and walking.

Off-road bicycling — paved and unpaved — and next to the Zoo Train?

Potential cross-section of new path along Zoo Train right-of-way.

People that like to ride dirt trails on bikes fared relatively well in the plan — thanks in large part to strong advocacy from Northwest Trail Alliance (NWTA).

Black-and-yellow line (#5) is where a future path could go.

The plan initially called for a new off-road cycling trail between SW Kingston Drive and the southeastern corner of the park to be completed in Phase 3 — a $32 million list of projects to be completed 15 or more years from now. NWTA advocate Andrew Jansky testified during the March 15th hearing that he felt that was too long to wait. Before voting “yes” on the plan, Commissioner Dan Saltzman said he was “sympathetic” to the case laid out by Jansky. “Any chance we can move that into the Phase 1?” he asked Portland Parks Director Mike Abbaté. “Yes,” Abbaté replied. (Keep in mind this is a master plan, a visionary/guiding document without funding. It’s not an implementation plan and everything is subject to change.)

The other ray of hope for a new cycling experience in Washington Park is a potential paved path to be built within in the next five years either on or alongside the existing Zoo Train right-of-way. Metro (who owns the Zoo) operates the train; but it’s been out of commission since 2013 due to costly repairs. The new plan doesn’t take a position on whether the train should stay or go; but it makes clear a desire to create a path on its alignment:

“If the Zoo Train remains in operation, a narrower version of the regional trail should be explored. The tracks are never steeper than 4.5%, and a paved regional trail is an opportunity to reconnect the north and south ends of Washington Park.”

Given the emotional attachment to trains that many people have, this could become a big debate in the future. Parks sees the right-of-way as a way to achieve two major goals of the plan: to connect the north and south sections of the park and to separate walkers and bikers from auto users.

Sensing its demise, Commissioner Saltzman spoke up in defense of the train with more passion than I’ve heard from him on any issue. “I think the plan needs to prioritize the train,” he said. “I think the train is a fantastical [sic] element of the history of many of us who have grown up here.” Then Saltzman said he feels the plan is leaving out the voices of “certain populations… like families with young children and older adults, which I’d wager are the largest population segments in our city.”

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“A lot of this plan is done with the ‘hale and hardy’ Portlander in mind,” Saltzman said, “And not the family raising four young kids in Hillsboro or the older adults who need accessibility.”

Commissioner Amanda Fritz then chimed in to say she’s personally experienced the “enthusiasm of rail supporters.” “They have a real ability to raise boatloads of money, so I don’t think we should discount that.” Commissioner Nick Fish concurred. Citing the $5 million raised for the Oregon Rail Heritage Center, he added, “I’ve never seen such indefatiguable fundraising from any group as train fans.”

Suffice it to say the train and a potential new path alongside it will be included in the scope of the upcoming Transportation Management Plan.

No more bikes on Rose Garden Way

No more biking on Rose Garden Way.

The plan calls for turning SW Rose Garden Way into more of a plaza space open only for walking and shuttles. This is currently road preferred by bicycle riders. The new bike route would be to use the less interesting service road just below the Rose Garden.

Cycle-track on SW Knights Blvd

As part of the Phase 3 projects, the plan suggests building a 10-12-foot wide “cycle track” on SW Knights Blvd from the intersection with Kingston all the way to SW Canyon Court (near Highway 26). This would be part of major changes to the south entry of the park. A new cycle track and separated sidewalk would, “Close a gap in the regional trail network between Washington County and downtown Portland, and improves the experience for those hiking the 4T Trail.” As you can see in the map below, the blue and black line of the new cycle track could eventually connect to the bike lanes on Kingston.

Cycle track on SW Knights would go through the bustling main parking area and entrance.

Bike lanes on SW Kingston

As part of their vision to improve bicycling in the park and reduce driving space (to slow people down), the plan envisions new bike-only lanes on SW Kingston from its intersection with SW Knights Blvd to the beginning of the future regional path along the Zoo Train alignment. “Visitors will be able to bicycle and walk from one end of the park separated from vehicle traffic,” the plan states.

Here’s how it looks when you put all the new paths together…

When it all comes together you’ll be able to bike from one end of the park to the other in dedicated space.

Carfree Kingston Drive

Carfree Kingston. More of this please!
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

In response to strong community feedback to reduce the amount of cars in the park, the plan recommends closing SW Kingston to private auto use on Sundays or weekends. This is common in major parks in other cities and Portland Parks sees it as a perfect way to test how a carfree Kingston would impact users and other roads. The liken the idea to a mini Sunday Parkways that would, “let visitors walk, run or bicycle the 1.5-mile parkway, car-free.”

Kingston has had a car overuse problem for many decades and mixing drivers and bicycle users remains a problem. The 1981 Master Plan addressed the issue too: “Because of the amount of traffic the existing roadbed is unsafe for co-use by bicycles or pedestrians. The perceived danger of the curving narrow roadway and the sharp dropoffs discourages speeding although some misuse does occur by drivers using it as racing loop in connection with S.W Fairview Boulevard.”

Everything old is new again

What’s striking to me about this new plan is how many of the transportation issues — and the proposed solutions — are the same as we had 1981. In fact, the 1903 report on Washington Park written by the architectural firm of Frederick Olmsted and Sons included a recommendation to have separate pathways adjacent to all the roads, because it was, “neither agreeable nor appropriate to mix different modes of traffic.”

The 1981 plan raised concerns about too many cars in the park, a lack of places to park them, a high-stress cycling environment due to a lack of separation from car users, and so on.

And even making Kingston carfree isn’t really a bold idea when you consider Parks called for it 37 years ago. The old plan recommended to, “Close Kingston Boulevard on selected well-publicized days to allow for carfree special events such as ‘bike days’ and foot races.”

And while our 2018 plan calls for autonomous people movers, the 1981 plan had an equally futuristic idea: “An overhead tramway system,” that would, “carry surprisingly large numbers of people,” in podcars that would be, “silent, nonpolluting and require surprisingly little energy.”

Fast forward to today and that sentiment is as strong as ever. In his testimony to City Council on March 15th, Arlington Heights Neighborhood Association President Michael Wallace said, “We are particularly supportive of shifting vehicles out of the center of the park and improving access for people walking. We have long recognized that managing private vehicles is the key to improving the overall park experience.”

That was great to hear from an influential neighborhood association. And Wallace took it one step further, giving strong support to converting Kingston Drive into a multimodal path. “Removing the cars from SW Kingston Drive and converting it to a multimodal bicycle and pedestrian path should be in Phase 1 of the plan… The park is for people, not for vehicles.”

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

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Jobs of the Week: Velotech, Cycle Portland

Bike Portland - Fri, 03/30/2018 - 07:50

Time to find something new?

Learn more about our latest job listings via the links below…

–> Bike Tour Guide/ Shop Staff – Cycle Portland

–> Shipping Specialist – Velotech

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For a complete list of available jobs, click here.

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

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

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

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Rapha Explore: Cargo Bib Shorts

Bike Hugger - Thu, 03/29/2018 - 15:37

It’s been said repeatedly (by us mostly) that adventure is where all the innovation is happening in the road category. Several reasons for that, some of which I shared in an article last week about the 3T Strada. And, earlier this month, Rapha announced Explore featuring cargo bib shorts.

I’m not saying bike shorts with pockets is breaking that much new ground—ask anyone who commutes in Carharts with a padded brief underneath. But for cyclists like me that prefer to not carry stuff on their backs or in panniers, more pockets are welcome. If the aesthetics of it look familiar, Giro’s New Road was ahead of their time by about 6 years. Ironically, where Giro’s line performed the best was mountain biking.

I suspect that’s where I’ll ride Rapha with Explore kit too and on the Iron Horse with my brown bike. I may not be pinning a number on and lining up for a race anymore, but baggies don’t suit me, never have. A less race-oriented, more casual look does.

That’s one of the reasons, besides exceptional materials, I’m riding in Alpinestars so much. They’ve got a super comfortable short with a large pocket on the back and a technical shirt that can get worn for days without needing a wash.

Rapha’s answer to the technical shirt you can ride in and do other stuff is called their Technical T-Shirt and it’s made from a cool and dry wicking fabric. A loose cut doesn’t get sticky in the heat and there’s a hidden reflective trim for visibility if you get caught out after dark.

The shirt is why Rapha sews pockets on the short. The shirt has none. Rapha added pockets on both legs and the upper back for a phone, energy bar, and vape pen. The cargo bibs are made from a new, lightweight Shadow material, that sheds water as you ride and are comfortable up to 30 degrees centigrade, making them the ideal bibs for every ride. The same material that sheds water also dries fast.

I’ve owned bibs from Rapha since they launched…take care of them and the last seemingly forever. Rapha insists the pockets won’t stretch out are secure and on the back inconspicuous and unnoticeable. That means if you want to wear them under a pair of street shorts you can and stash your phone, a money roll, or whatever.

Like all Rapha Explore comes at a premium price and their fans are willing to pay. The Cargo Big Shorts cost $270 USD and the Tee is $75. In cooler weather, I’d pair the tee with the also excellent Brevet base layer for another $100.

If you’re looking for a deal on Rapha, the spring 20% off sale is happening now.

Cargo Big Short Features
  • Leg pockets with secure stretch closure keep small items
    to hand
  • Back pockets mean you can forego the usual jersey
  • Two reflective stripes on both legs
  • Reflective stripe on the back of the shorts, ideally positioned for visibility on the road
  • Lower front yoke makes for easier toilet breaks
  • Same comfortable upper as Brevet Bib Shorts, with added stripe detail
  • Proven Brevet chamois pad, perforated to dry quickly, tested for long distance comfort
  • Brevet fit suitable for long days in the saddle.
Brevet Base Layer Features
  • Permanent antibacterial treatment for days of freshness
  • Brevet stripes under the arms
  • Flatlock stitching to seams to minimize chaffing
  • Close-to-skin fit for comfort and ease of wear.

Learn more about Rapha’s Explore on a mini site dedicated to it. I have the shorts and tee in and riding as soon as the rain stops.

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University of Portland official says they’ll build 16-foot wide greenway trail

Bike Portland - Thu, 03/29/2018 - 10:40

A University of Portland official says the new path will measure 16-feet wide.

View of the parcel looking southwest from Willamette Blvd.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Earlier this month we shared a rare update in the status of the North Portland Greenway Trail — a project that’s been in the works for over a decade.

The University of Portland’s Franz Campus expansion was heralded as a huge step forward that will develop 35 acres of shoreline property on the Willamette riverfront. The new campus includes several new buildings, sports fields, a dock, and surface parking lots. But what it didn’t appear to include was space set-aside for the NP Greenway path.

Asstistant Vice President for Community Relations & Special Projects at University of Portland Jim Kuffner provided us with a statement that said he only planned to offer 8-feet for the path and that, “The land to complete the trail must come from Union Pacific.”

That statement — and publicly available renderings of the Franz Campus that didn’t clearly show where the path would be located — made advocates for the project understandably nervous.

Now I’m happy to report that tensions have eased and the path is alive and well.

Reached via phone last week, Kuffner sheepishly acknowledge, “This was a misunderstanding and I believe this is a kerfluffle we’ll blow right past.” Kuffner, who’s now semi-retired and is a well-known liaison between the university and local neighborhood groups (he’s even hosted meetings on campus with NPGreenway, the non-profit group dedicated to building the path), has been intimately involved in this parcel of land for many years. Dealing with the overlapping bureacracies that come with a piece of land that’s a century-old Union Pacific Railroad (UPRR) easement and bordering an EPA superfund site can get a bit complicated.

Throughout the university’s negotiations on the parcel, Kuffner said, “We’ve always been paying attention to the needs of the NP Greenway trail.”

Kuffner explained that UPRR was granted a 200-foot wide easement (100 feet on each side of the track) in 1901 in case they wanted to add another track. When the university bought the property in 2009 they became owners of the entire parcel — minus that 200-foot right of way. But since over 100 years had passed and UPRR had never expanded their operations (even the one track today is infrequently used), the university was able to successfully negotiate ownership of half that old easement. This is where it gets with property lines, buildable areas and easement rights.

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A zoomed-out perspective showing the path alignment in purple.

The bottom line is this: Kuffner simply misstated how much land the university already owned. It turns out they have enough room for the greenway without needing to seek permission from UPRR at all.

“We are 100 percent committed to building the trail,” Kuffner emphasized in our phone call last week.

But we might not be out of the woods with this issue just yet. It’s important to keep in mind that the right-of-way being set-aside for the greenway, which would ideally be part of a regional path network and a public facility, is owned by a private entity.

Kuffner made it clear that UPRR could still opt to exercise their existing easement and add a second track. They haven’t chosen to do that for over 100 years, and it’s highly unlikely they’d do it, but technically they could. University of Portland is comfortable with the risk; but how would the City of Portland feel about putting a public path on a private easement?

And much like a section of the Springwater path built in 2011 when a new development went in, this greenway won’t connect to anything (other than the university campus).

“Although we think this is a great opportunity to demonstrate to others that we did this and you can do this too,” Kuffner shared, about building the greenway, “We’re a little concerned that people will come down and realize they really don’t have any other place to go.”

He’s right when it comes to using the path for commuting or other through-trips; but at 2,000 feet and with other activities going on at the future Franz Campus, I have a feeling the path will still be popular for rolling and running.

Kuffner says the plan drawings currently show the “Future Greenway Trail” at 12-feet wide with a two-foot shoulder on each side for a total width of 16-feet. There’s also likely to be an additional 3-5 foot planting strip between the path and the railroad tracks. “This should enable UP to provide a very comfortable and safe segment of the NP Greenway Trail for all future users.”

The university is still going through a full Greenway Review process with the City of Portland and we’ll get more details about it later this spring or early summer.

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

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Weekend Event Guide: NoPo architecture tour, Mt. Hood bike shop party, Kidical Mass Easter ride, and more

Bike Portland - Thu, 03/29/2018 - 09:00

If you head to The Dalles to ride this weekend, don’t miss the view of Mt. Adams from Sorosis Park.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Spring is definitely upon us and now is the time you need to plan ahead to make the most of your weekends. We’ve got you covered with another great slate of rides and events.

Whether you seek training rides close to home, have an itch to explore further afield, or you something fun for little ones, peruse this week’s guide for all the details.

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

Friday, March 30th

Breakfast on the Bridges – 7:00 am to 9:00 am
Don’t forget to give yourself a few extra minutes on your way into downtown to stop for coffee, snacks and conversation. Brought to you by wonderful volunteers from Shift, B on B is a cherished Portland tradition. More info here.

Friday Night Climb Time – 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm at Western Bikeworks
With longer days there’s a great new weekly ride on the calendar from our friends at Western Bikeworks. Roll-out from their store on NE Lovejoy and 17th for a spirited ride up to Pittock Mansion and Council Crest. More info here.

Saturday, March 31st

Japanese Hollow Ride – 9:00 am at Sorosis Park in The Dalles
An informal and unsanctioned ride on the gorgeous gravel backroads of The Dalles and beyond created by Our Mother the Mountain (OMTM). More info here.

Bicycle Celebration Day: Bike Helmet Fittings + The Lumberyard – 11:00 am to 2:30 pm at Portland Children’s Museum
Grab the kiddos and head up to Washington Park for a bike-themed bash just for them hosted by the Children’s Museum. $6 helmets come with a professional fitting and there will be a bike skills course to ride compliments of The Lumberyard. Note that museum admission is required. More info here.

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Biking About Architecture: Humboldt-N Irving – 11:00 am to 2:00 pm
Architecture buff Jenny F will turn her sights toward the “quirky” north Portland area. Meet at a cafe and then pedal a relaxing four miles to discover the latest home designs and some classics including a stone castle and an example of co-op housing. “More fun than educational; more architectural than super-bikey. 90% chance the ride leader will be in full duck regalia.” More info here.

20 is Plenty Yard Sign Pickup – 12:00 pm to 4:00 pm at Multnomah Arts Center (Southwest)
Southwest friends, this is your chance to join the trend that’s sweeping the city: Cool and free orange signs that will make people slow down in your neighborhood. More info here.

Mt. Hood Bicycle Grand Opening – 4:00 pm to 9:00 pm at Mt Hood Bicycle
It’s true! Mt. Hood is getting a new bike shop! Stop by and help celebrate this exciting new enterprise with food and drinks, live music, demos from top bike makers and a chance to win $100 shop gift cards!! More info here.

Sunday, April 1st

Rock Creek Roll Call – 9:00 am to 1:00 pm at Western Bikeworks
Another new ride from Western Bikeworks. This is a great opportunity to join a group and discover one of Portland’s best roads — Rock Creek. Ride will be about four hours, 40 miles, and 4,000 feet of climbing. More info here.

Kidical Mass PDX Easter Ride – 11:00 am to 2:00 pm at Overlook Park
Meet in the park to connect with friends old and new, then do a fun and short ride on the Concord Neighborhood Greenway to Arbor Lodge Park for an egg hunt. Bunny ears and tails encouraged. 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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Council approves $34 million in projects for PBOT through ‘Build Portland’ program

Bike Portland - Wed, 03/28/2018 - 14:38

Changes coming to SE Stark.
(Sketch: PBOT/Red text: BikePortland)

Big winners include Outer Stark, Lombard, and NE 42nd Avenue.

Portland City Council has moved forward with the first batch of projects in the Build Portland program. The program comes from an idea hatched by Mayor Ted Wheeler to return property taxes to expiring Urban Renewal Areas and retrun them to the City’s General Fund.

At their meeting yesterday, the Council gave a green light to seven projects worth $49 million. The City of Portland will issue bonds to finance the projects, which were chosen out of 25 projects submitted for consideration. The Build Portland program has been authorized to spend a total of $600 million between now and 2040; but the City has decided to phase it in slowly to minimize debt risk if the economy sours.

The Bureau of Transportation submitted nine projects for potential funding and six of them made the final cut. Here they are (with Build Portland funding in parentheses):

Outer Stark Corridor Improvements ($10 million)
PBOT will add $10 million from existing sources (gas tax, system development charges, Vision Zero) for a total investment of $20 million. The City had come under increasing pressure from Portlanders clamoring for upgrades on Outer Stark after a spate of deadly collisions over the past year. Outer Stark is designated as a “high crash corridor” for biking, walking and driving. PBOT says they’ll put $10 million toward paving from 139th – 162nd, $1 million for two signal upgrades (at 117th and 139th), $4 million for safer crossings and $5 million to “corridor safety.”

NE 42nd Ave Bridge Replacement ($3 million)
PBOT will add $14 million from other sources and spend $17 million on a new bridge and upgrades throughout the corridor from NE Killingsworth to Columbia Blvd. In notes on the project, PBOT states the bridge is a key freight connection as well as a “desired bike/ped connection from Cully to NAYA [Native American Youth and Family Center], Columbia corridor jobs, etc.” The project would also fill a gap between the Holman Street Neighborhood Greenway and the future bikeway coming to 47th Avenue. They’ll spend $12 million on the bridge, $3 million on paving, $2 million on sidewalks, crossings, and upgraded bikeways.

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Lents Town Center Improvements, Phase 2 ($4 million)
PBOT will pull another $3 million from other sources to spend a total of $7 million on upgrades to the eastern half of Lents Town Center (west of I-205). Improvements will include paving on SE Foster and Woodstock, traffic signal upgrades, new sidewalks crossings, and bikeways.

Traffic Signal System Improvements ($3.5 million)
Leveraging an additional $1.5 million, this funding will help PBOT get a $5 million start on the 400 traffic signals in the city (40 percent of the total) that are worn-out and/or outdated. They’ll spread out the funding to about $500,000 per year for seven years and focus on the signals that score highest in safety risk and equity.

ADA Accessible Sidewalks ($10.5 million)
PBOT will use this money to continue upgrading sidewalks throughout the city to be fully ADA-compliant. They plan to add another $5 million to help fix the remaining 11,000 corners in Portland that are currently out of compliance.

N Lombard Main Street ($3 million)
PBOT will spend a total of $4 million to improve Lombard between St. Louis and Richmond. They’ll add curb extensions, crossings, lighting and bus stop updgrade (it’s a major transit route). The project will also upgrade traffic signals.

The one other project approved yesterday was $15 million for a renovation of the Mt. Scott Community Center.

All the projects were scored and ranked on criteria that included: equity, maintenance of existing assets, managing growth, and safety. Two notable PBOT projects that didn’t make the cut were a repaving of NW 23rd (which needs it very badly) and a project that would have built a new path along NE Cornfoot Road to connect via bicycle to NE 47th.

Before casting her “yes” vote, Commissioner Fritz said, “When Portlanders have been paying taxes into urban renewal districts to get growth going for decades, now it’s time for some of that return to go back into the things that Portlanders expect — paying for the existing infrastructure and making sure everybody has decent city services.”

We’ll keep you updated on all these projects as they move through the pipeline. As we’ve been reporting, one of the issues PBOT now faces is how to keep up with all the funding and projects that are ready to go. They’ve had troubling hiring engineers and there’s already a long list of projects in the queue.

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

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Putting the Vision Zero focus on how we drive

Bike Portland - Wed, 03/28/2018 - 09:42

Mi Ae Lipe is changing the way we think about driving.
(Photo: Courtesy Mi Ae Lipe)

Mi Ae Lipe is a safe driving advocate who speaks important truths to a crucial audience.

One of the many things I do that annoys my two (teen and pre-teen) daughters is that I drive exceedingly slowly and cautiously. I have this thing where I tell them — not to be braggadocious, but to make a point — that, “Just imagine: If everyone drove like I did, there would be no crashes and no one would ever get hurt or killed on the road.” They of course roll their eyes and say, “Oh boy, here goes dad again.”

But it’s true: If every person behind the wheel was as scared-straight as I’ve become after being a daily bike rider for 30 years and having a job for 13 of them where I consume a daily stream of information about horrific crashes and have met hundreds of people directly impacted by them — our streets would be pretty chill.

In our push for safer streets, we usually talk about infrastructure, enforcement, and educating people about drunk driving, rules of the road, and so on. What gets left out is a more holistic look at how we drive.

That’s why I was so happy to come across the work of Mi Ae Lipe, an advocate who lives near Seattle. Mi Ae is a driving expert who writes a column for a BMW owner’s club magazine and consults with agencies and nonprofits about safety. In 2017 she was a co-recipient of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Award for Public Service. Mi Ae wants to re-educate American drivers.

Cover of her e-book.

Here’s a snip from her website, DrivingInTheRealWorld.com:

“American driver training generally fails to teach new drivers the complexities of modern roads and equip them with proper situational awareness. This and other factors contribute to the United States ranking a dismal 29th out of 30 developed nations in traffic deaths. Let’s change this by exploring honestly what makes us the drivers we are and by approaching traffic safety as an entire ecosystem, not fragmented bits. That change can begin with you, today, as an individual driver.”

Her new e-book, The Sound of No Car Crashing: A Guide to Protective Driving, has a great section on “What makes a good driver”:

“Good drivers understand that there are very few true “accidents.” Over 90 percent of crashes are caused by human error and are fully preventable. By not calling a crash an accident, we take responsibility for it.

“We drive exactly how we are as people in terms of our personality, ego, habits, life values, ability to plan, con dence levels, social skills, and general outlook. Do you care about who you are as a person and a driver?

Good drivers know that others are watching. That means friends, family, children, colleagues, and strangers. Humans imitate others. By the time your children are learning
to drive as teenagers, they’ve been watching you for at least 15 years, and deprogramming bad learned behavior is going to be tough. So, it’s never too early to start being a good role model.”

Mi Ae’s idea of “protective driving” also intrigued me. She uses it instead of the popular term “defensive driving.” “‘Defensive’,” Mi Ae writes, “suggests danger and has negative connotations of competition and possession, when the goal should be to drive for the protection of yourself and others.”

Wanting to know more, I emailed Mi to ask how her work relates to cycling and the safety of people who do it. Here’s what she wrote back (with an email signature that made me smile, “Sent from my iPhone, but not while driving!”):

Why you think bicycle riders should be interested in the idea of “protective driving”?

“I think everyone — not just vehicle drivers — should be interested in protective driving. For a bicyclist, that can mean making space for fellow cyclists, pedestrians, and vehicles; waiting patiently for someone to finish crossing the road without pressuring them; consistently obeying red lights and stop signs as a matter of consistency, habit, and fairness; properly communicating your presence with your position in the road, highly visible clothing, proper lighting, smiles, and friendly waves; and being proactive and hyper-situationally aware for how your path might intersect with those of others.

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Different road users frequently split into their own tribes, which can become rather self-righteous and antagonistic. People get really possessive about space on the road and they often take things too personally and angrily way too quickly. Yes, that SUV driver absolutely should have been watching out for you as she made that right turn in front of you, but she also might not know how to properly check her mirrors for your presence or even be aware that her bulky B-pillars blocked her view of you. It is also partly your responsibility to compensate for the deficiencies of drivers. Yes, it can feel very frustrating and unfair sometimes, but on the other hand, it often does no good to be angry and let emotion cloud your judgment, especially when you need it rather quickly to deal with the next scenario.”

Are there parts of your teaching that are specific driving around walkers and bicycle users?

“A section in my e-book covers common vision issues that afflict all humans, and it is based on the wonderful writings of a Royal Air Force fighter jet pilot named John Sullivan. Pilots of this caliber are educated on the biological deficiencies and strengths in human vision and how they affect our perception and judgment. One example of this is the saccade, which is a gap in our vision caused when our eyes are moving. We actually can’t see or register images accurately in our brain unless our heads are still (even for a moment), so those hurried glances that we absent-mindedly make across a scene mean that we may be missing a lot, including small, narrow objects like bicycles and motorcycles. Once you know this simple fact, that can explain many near-misses in your past—you literally couldn’t see what you were looking at.

Another important thing to realize is that if you don’t expect to see something, you are that much more likely to miss it even if it is present. People engrossed in what they were doing have been known to completely miss a person dressed in a gorilla suit walking in their midst or even big trucks right in front of them. This means you should always go into a situation expecting to see the unexpected.

Another topic in my book is how to break bad habits. This includes drivers stopping in the middle of crosswalks (not before them), people not communicating properly, and watching for pedestrians at all times. Once you understand that we all have innate vision deficiencies, then it becomes more apparent that every one of us — regardless of the type of road user we are — just need to slow down to give us more time to process the situation, do a better job of planning ahead, and actually pay attention to what’s happening all around us and not be distracted.”

Culture plays a huge role in making our streets safe. I hope Mi Ae’s work reaches as many people as possible. As a driving advocate who works in the automotive world, she has the respect and credibility as a messenger of this information that most people reading this site will never have.

You can download a copy of her e-book from www.DrivingintheRealWorld.com for free until April 1st. Follow Mi Ae on Twitter @DrivingReal.

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

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Complete solitude on Arctic bicycle journey

Biking Bis - Wed, 03/28/2018 - 08:29
Traveling alone by bicycle is one thing. Bicycling alone through the frozen Canadian Arctic is something altogether different. UK-based filmmaker Ben Page found that out on his 3-year around the world bicycle journey. In the introduction to his 24-minute film of his Canadian adventure — “The Frozen Road” — Ben says that he sought to …

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PBOT shares updated plans for North Rosa Parks way ‘protected’ bike lanes

Bike Portland - Tue, 03/27/2018 - 15:07

PBOT plans call for a transit median island in this location with the bikeway running (curbside) behind it.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

The redesign of North Rosa Parks Way now includes a bike-only signal, wider bikeways (and narrower lanes for driving), a safer crossing, and a floating transit island. These changes (and a few other tweaks) have been made in the month since the Portland Bureau of Transportation first launched the project back in February.

This key neighborhood collector street will see major striping changes from North Willamette to Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. The biggest change is a “parking-protected bikeway” (almost) the entire length of the project — and a buffer stripe with intermittent plastic delineator wands for added protection separation. Instead of on-street parking, PBOT will use the curb lane for a bike-only lane. In the process, PBOT will significantly decrease the amount of parking overall.

Going from west (Willamette Blvd) to east (Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd), here’s how the project has changed in the past month…

To slow speeds and improve visibility between Willamette and Curtis, PBOT will further narrow the standard lane, widen the bike lane at intersections and remove a parking spot that was shown in their original striping plan:

Between N Willamette and Curtis.

Between Curtis and Greeley, the big addition since last month is a new crossing at Villard that will come with two median islands and zebra-striped crosswalks. They’ve also added an additional stripe in the westbound lane at Atlantic that will further narrow the standard lane and help slow people down.

Crossing at N Villard.

One of the biggest updates is a new bike-only signal at eastbound Greeley. This is being done to end the threat of right-hooks at a very high-volume right-turn only lane (Greeley is a major connector to I-5).

N Greeley.

There’s not much change (beyond the parking-protected bikeway) from Greeley to Delaware; and I think that’s where they left off last month. Now the’ve released the striping plan all the way east to MLK.

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Besides the bike-lane for parking-lane swap, the new striping from Delaware to Denver largely follows the existing striping. Note that in this five block section, PBOT will no longer allow on-street parking on the south side of the street. And on the north side of the street, the space where parking is still allowed will have been significantly reduced.

At N Boston.

Same goes on the section from Denver to Interstate. At Interstate, Rosa Parks will remain at five standard lanes — four for through traffic and a left turn lane. This is a wide profile for a neighborhood street and it’s relatively stressful to bike here. This project will add green coloring to the bike lane (eastbound only as shown), a buffer stripe, and a few intermittent plastic wands. Without more substantial physical separation and/or without reducing capacity for auto users, this intersection is likely to remain dangerous and high-stress for bike users.

At N Interstate.

As we head east from Interstate toward I-5, the lane profiles stay similar to what we have today (remember that the Oregon Department of Transportation controls the lane designs approaching and crossing their freeways) with the addition of a buffer stripe and plastic wands to protect separate the bikeway. That should help the cycling environment, but it’s impact will be limited as long as driving is the dominant activity — and as long as PBOT isn’t able to redesign ODOT’s on-ramps and off-ramps. With their obscenely wide turning radii, the type of driving these on-ramps encourage has a vast negative impact on our community.

At eastern on-off-ramps to the I-5 freeway.

East of I-5, the removal of nearly all on-street parking between Michigan and Albina (Peninsula Park) will improve visibility while trying to cross Rosa Parks. However, without the presence of cars, I wonder if this project will result in safer and slower driving behaviors.

At Albina, PBOT is proposing a floating transit island with a green-colored bikeway that will run behind it. This would be an excellent improvement that will make that corner much better.

At N Albina.

From Albina heading east, the bikeway continues to have a buffer and plastic wands. At the off-set intersection of Rodney (a popular north-south route), the plans call for a median island.

N Rodney.

The last notable feature of the current plan is a green bike box at the southwest corner of Rosa Parks and MLK. We’ve heard from members of the Piedmont Neighborhood Association that PBOT plans to remove an existing curb extension at this corner. They are very concerned because a 70-family affordable housing development is coming to that corner and they feel like subtracting sidewalk space is a bad idea. We’ve asked PBOT about this but haven’t heard back yet.

NE Martin Luther King Jr.

To see all the updated design drawings and more about this project, visit PBOT’s website.

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

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The ODOT Files: Regional electeds lambaste the agency for ‘lack of stewardship’ on 82nd Ave

Bike Portland - Tue, 03/27/2018 - 13:31


The ODOT Files is an occasional series that shares strange-but-true stories about how our state transportation agency is falling down on the job.

How bad have things gotten at the Oregon Department of Transportation? How about a letter admonishing the agency signed by every major elected office holder in the Portland region?

How do ODOT officials sleep at night?
(Photo: John Mulvey)

We just came across a letter (PDF) sent to Metro Council and the Oregon Transportation Commission (OTC) yesterday. It shares “serious concern” about ODOT’s lack of significant progress to improve the myriad problems that plague 82nd Avenue.

Here’s the full text of the letter (emphases mine) whose signatories include: Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler; Portland City Commissioners Amanda Fritz, Nick Fish, Dan Saltzman and Chloe Eudaly; Oregon State Senators Michael Dembrow and Rod Monroe; Multnomah County Commissioner Jessica Vega Pederson; and Oregon State Representatives Barbara Smith Warner, Alissa Keny-Guyer, and Jeff Reardon:

Dear Metro Council and the Oregon Transportation Commission,

The purpose of this letter is to express our serious concern that the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) has not included a transformational project for 82nd Avenue in the 2018 Regional Transportation Plan (RTP). It is essential that a project that envisions and funds a full upgrade to City standards and facilitates a transfer of ownership be added to the RTP to ensure that 82nd Avenue meets current needs, meets our Vision Zero goals, and supports a jurisdictional transfer of 82nd Avenue to the City of Portland.

Every five years, the region creates a vision for our transportation system for the next twenty years with our highest priorities. A failure to include this project in the RTP, and follow-up with immediate funding for planning and design, could result in this critical improvement being delayed for decades. For people walking in Portland, 82nd Avenue is the most dangerous street, with 140 pedestrian collisions in a ten-year period, including seven pedestrian deaths and 25 serious injuries. In addition, 82nd Avenue is the sixth most dangerous street for bicyclists and twelfth most dangerous street for people in motor vehicles.

The City of Portland wrote to the Area Commission on Transportation (ACT) to request that this project be included in the constrained RTP. It is our understanding that ODOT has not responded to this request and has not included 82nd Avenue in the 2018 RTP.

The lack of stewardship and prioritization of state highways routed as urban arterials are why they are often called “orphaned highways.” These roads, including 82nd Avenue, are some of our most important and dangerous streets. 82nd Avenue is a critical transit route, with Line 72 having the fifth highest ridership in the TriMet system, more than either the MAX Yellow Line and MAX Orange Line. Many of these riders get on and off along 82nd Avenue. We urge the Department to add 82nd Avenue to years 1-10 of the constrained 2018 RTP and prioritize funding for planning and project development to ensure the project can be delivered as soon as possible.

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As we better understand how historically marginalized communities are unfairly impacted by the dangerous streets in East Portland, this is one of the biggest equity issues facing the region. East Portland is home to roughly 20 percent of the City of Portland, including 13 neighborhoods and more than 150,000 Portlanders. East Portland is more racially and ethnically diverse compared to the city as a whole, with over a third of the population identifying as something other than “white.” Due to a larger stock of affordable housing, among other factors, this part of the City has seen significant population increase as compared to Portland overall. Between the 2000 and 2010 U.S. censuses, 44 percent of citywide population increase can be attributed to growth in East Portland. The need to serve this vibrant, diverse and expanding community in a better, smarter and safer way is urgent.

We understand that the 2018 RTP is quickly moving toward completion. Therefore, we request that you respond back to this letter as soon as possible and add this project. In addition, we would like to offer our assistance in making sure that there is significant funding for the required planning and project development to ensure that this project can move forward as soon as possible.

This is an astonishing level of official acrimony leveled at ODOT that’s unlike anything I’ve seen in the past 13 years. And notice it wasn’t addressed to ODOT staff or even ODOT Director Matt Garrett. It went above them to the OTC — the governor-appointed body who holds ODOT’s policy, personnel and funding pursestrings. Mayor Wheeler and other electeds aren’t just doing this on their own accord. They’re being hounded and pressured by local activists to make streets like 82nd safer; but their hands are tied. ODOT not only owns and manages many of our most deadly arterials — they have also repeatedly demonstrated a lack of willingness to manage them properly.

From PBOT’s Vision Zero plan. Look at what tops the charts.

And it’s not as though 82nd isn’t on ODOT’s radar. They just wrapped up a lengthy planning process called the 82nd Avenue of Roses Implementation Plan. I never got around to posting about it, but I noted from afar how local activists were unimpressed by it. One of the people on the committee, John Mulvey, shared his frustration at the lack of significant projects that emerged from the plan.

“ODOT was never serious about making 82nd Avenue safer for pedestrians,” Mulvey shared via email today. “They were responding to growing safety concerns from the community and local legislators, and they were willing to waste two-and-a-half years of the community’s time in order to make it look like they were doing something without really doing something.”

Now it appears the frustration with ODOT’s unwillingness to move forward into the modern era of street design and management goes well beyond activists, well-meaning citizen advocates, and crazy bloggers like me.

Your move, ODOT. Or should I say, your move OTC Chair Tammy Baney? Or Governor Kate Brown? Is anyone listening? How long are you going to let this agency run amok?

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

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Iron Horse Trail: Ellensburg to Cle Elum

Bike Hugger - Tue, 03/27/2018 - 10:42

Getting ready for Dirty Kanza, Path Less Pedaled rode the Iron Horse from Ellensburg to Cle Elum and shared their edit.

That’s a fav section of ours too, including the two tunnels. I’m spending more and more time on the Iron Horse; especially, after the Lake Olallie Trail opened up.

The switchbacks follow an old logging road and cross an even older landslide above Seattle’s original watershed.

A post shared by Byron (@bikehugger) on Nov 26, 2017 at 5:42am PST

On the weekend, starting from the trailhead Rattlesnake, the trail is crowded. In the summer, tour companies will take cyclist through the first tunnel, but after that we’ve ridden all day and not seen anyone else.

The Iron Horse (AKA John Wayne) is as unique as it is beautiful. It’s a rails to trails, sure but one that was made into a state park and you can traverse Snoqualmie Pass—main highway across the mounts, dividing the state between east and west—by bike.

Looks like Path Less Pedaled had as much fun as we do whenever we ride it. Last time, we rode until we found snow. And have been ticking off sections of the full 287 miles.

Mike McGuffin rode all of it and few years ago and documented the adventure in Issue 05 of our magazine.

The next twenty miles of trail pass through the Yakima Military Training Center. After a few rough detours, and some soft sand we began the ten mile descent into the Columbia gorge. The rail trestle spanning the Columbia at Beverly is blocked with chain link and razor wire.

Iron Horse Stories

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Bike on I-5, the Aurora Bridge and the soon-to-be-closed waterfront Viaduct April 8

Seattle Bike Blog - Tue, 03/27/2018 - 09:26

Cascade Bicycle Club’s Emerald City Ride 2018 won’t ever be repeated because part of the route will be on the slated-for-demolishion Alaskan Way Viaduct.

The third annual Emerald City Ride sticks with the theme: Bike on freeways typically off-limits to biking. And 2018 is shaping up to be one of the best routes yet. Rather than crossing the 520 Bridge as in the two previous years, the April 8 ride will start with a ride across the Alaskan Way Viaduct downtown, then continue on Aurora all the way to Fremont before taking city streets past Gas Works Park and onto the I-5 Express Lanes back to Sodo. The I-5 Express Lanes alone are reason enough to register.

Speaking of registration, the 12-mile full ride is $40 for adults with discounts for youth and Cascade members. You have until April 4 to register online. Day-of registration may be available for an extra $10, but only if they don’t sell out online. So since this is probably your last chance ever to bike on the Viaduct, I wouldn’t wait.

If you just want to bike on the Viaduct, you can register for a shorter 3-mile “Viaduct Experience” ride for $25 (again, discounts for youth and members).

Check out our post from last year’s ride for an idea of what you’re signing up for. It’s worth the cash.

What prevents you from biking with your young children?

Bike Portland - Tue, 03/27/2018 - 08:58

Not having access to a working bicycle keeps a lot of people from riding. Family bikers need a working bike and kid-carrying stuff, too!
(Photo: Madi Carlson)

I’m going to try something different this week. I’d love to hear from you:

Our Family Biking column is sponsored by Clever Cycles.

➤ Read past entries here.

If you don’t bike with your young children, why not?

I’ve often wondered what (or if) my family biking experience would have been like had I lived in Seattle before having kids. I moved to Seattle with an 18-month-old I’d already been biking with for six months on quiet Las Vegas trails and streets. Our Seattle house was one block from Green Lake and its lakeside multi-use path so it was easy to stick to routes that felt sufficiently safe as I explored our new neighborhood. I ever so gradually increased my range, not even discovering the Burke-Gilman Trail, a terrific multi-use path, for months.

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But what if I’d been a “strong and fearless” bike commuter zipping through downtown Seattle and elsewhere, used to traveling quickly? I would’ve assumed I’d be adding a baby to that and felt completely intimidated…and quite possibly not biked with my kids for transportation. Although I owned a road bike and was occasionally talked into taking it for rides with fast friends, I mainly got everywhere with my comfy beach cruiser and was used to moving slowly. Back then I considered biking a faster alternative to walking rather than a suitable replacement for driving, and that made sticking a baby on the bike no big deal.

Now I’m curious about your experience. If you don’t bike with your young children, why not? And what resources would help make it easier (either now or in the past, if your children are grown)?

Thanks for reading. 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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