Archive for August, 2005

Willamette Week on bike safety

Wednesday, August 31st, 2005

wweek valdezToday’s Willamette Week features a poignant cover story by Angela Valdez. Angela, who writes for the WW, was struck by a motorist on NE 15th and Prescott several weeks ago and suffered a broken back and other serious injuries.

Their is also some good bike safety food for thought in their Letters to the Editor this week.

Matt Cartwright: bike artist

Tuesday, August 30th, 2005

cartwrightIf you live in Portland and you’ve got an eye for bikes, you probably already know of Matt Cartwright’s work. Matt makes sculptures and builds furniture out of bike parts. Some of his well-known pieces include the “bike people” atop River City Bicycles, the memorial for Matthew Scheckel at SE 37th and Taylor, and the bike panel fence in front of Big City Produce on N. Albina and Sumner.

I met him at the recent Mississippi Street Fair and found out he also does landscape consulting. Hmmm….wonder if he could make something for my yard out of all the old clunkers and parts in my basement!

[Photo credit: Matt Cartwright]

Kelley Point ride and a Zoobomb

Monday, August 29th, 2005
ride to Kelley Point Park
Zoobomb 8/28/05

I had my fair share of bike fun on Sunday.

It started with a fantastic ride out to Kelley Point Park (tip of the Columbia and Willamette Rivers). Kelley Point is a great destination because there is either bike lane or bike path the entire way. Not to mention it’s got great beaches, huge, grassy meadows, and lots of good picnic spots. Highlights of the ride were picking blackberries on the beach and coming across a brush fire on the bike path near the water treatment plant (just north of Columbia Blvd).

See more of my Kelley Point ride photos.

I then switched gears from family jaunt to mini-bike mayhem on my first ever Zoobomb. Like everyone else, I’ve been reading and hearing about this for months now and I finally got a chance to give it a try. I dusted off a 16″ wheeled bike I’m saving for Eleni and MAX’d down to Rocco’s Pizza to check out the scene. I saw some of the usual suspects including Rev Phil, Dingo the Clown and Yuffie (a guy in a Border Collie costume).

Even though I cut out before the serious partying and festivities began, I managed to partake in the night’s first bomb. I raced down the hill against some serious mini-bike talent, in total darkness, and with sharp, wet turns thrown in for good measure. I came very close to wiping out when I locked my coaster brake around a gnarly, wet turn at 30 or so mph…but somehow managed to stay upright. I was disappointed to lose about 4 places in that turn, but for my first run ever, I was glad to make it down in a respectable time.

The MAX ride back up the hill was an event in itself, as we all packed into the train like sardines. Thanks to the very cool MAX driver for putting up with us!

See more of my Zoobomb photos.

A little side story is that when I got down to PGE Park hoping to catch the MAX back to NoPo I missed the last one by just a few minutes! There was no way I could ride a 16″ bike 5 miles through the city and back up the hill to my house! Luckily I met a nice kid from North Carolina who took pity on me and paid for a taxi to drop me off at home.

The kindness of a stranger capped a great day of bike fun. I slept well (considering I’ve got an 11 day old baby at home!).

New pavement markings for bike boulevards

Monday, August 29th, 2005

bikeblvdFirst we told you about the new “sharrows” coming soon to select Portland streets…now I’ve just got word from the city that “700 or so” additional pavement markings will be installed on bicycle boulevards starting next week. Bicycle boulevards are designated, low-traffic bike routes without bike lanes, such as SE Ankeny, SE Salmon, NE Tillamook and others.

Here’s the scoop from city of Portland Bicycle Coordinator, Roger Geller:

“The circles will be white with a cut-out bike that will show the pavement. They’ll be 1-foot in diameter. Where we wish to show a change in direction we’ll include the arrow to point people the way to go. We’ll be installing about 700 or so of these on existing bike boulevards, every 600-800 feet in each direction of travel (so they’ll actually appear every 300 feet or so). We hope to begin installing them in the next week or so.”

Massive fun and no cops needed

Saturday, August 27th, 2005
Critical Mass August - Portland OR
Critical Mass August - Portland OR
Critical Mass August - Portland OR

Tonight’s Critical Mass ride was a blast. I took Eleni in the trailer and we had a great time. Warm breeze, a great route (over the Ross Island Bridge!), some well-chosen music (thank you boom-box bike guy) and a fun group of people all contributed to the good vibe.

I hate to mention the cops, but I think it’s ridiculous that they even show up anymore. I actually feel embarrassed for them because they had nothing to do…and you know what happens when cops get bored…they find something to do.

Bottom line is that having the cops at Critical Mass is a big waste of taxpayer money and a waste of law enforcement resources that could be put to more necessary tasks. Cops are also a deterrant to more families and other cyclists who would join the ride if it weren’t for their intimidating presence. Eleni was the only kid on the ride (she’s 2 and 1/2)…and I know there are a ton of families that would show up if there were no cops.

So Mayor Potter, Commissioner Sam, is there any way you can call off the dogs for next month’s ride? It’s sort of ironic that we’re hoping to be the first Platinum level bicycle friendly city, yet we can’t even go on bike ride without the boys in blue watching over us.

By the way, feel free to peruse my hot, fresh photos. Don’t miss the Xylo-bike, the mini-bikes, the boom-box bike, the assorted personalities and other fun craziness. See you out there next month!

Zoobombers in Willamette Week

Friday, August 26th, 2005

Tour de Fat: Portland, OR 8/6/05In case anyone missed it, the Zoobomb crew is featured in the current issue of the Willamette Week. Choice quotes include:

“We’re not political. We don’t want to subvert your dominant paradigm…we just want to have a good time.”

“We’re kind of keeping bike culture on the popular radar,” adds “Solid Gold,” a three-year member. “And reminding people that bikes are the most fun invention on Earth.”

Thanks Zoobombers…I dream of the day when riding small bikes down hills is the dominant paradigm.

On that note, with Zoobomb getting so mainstream these days, I wonder when Sam Adams will show up to one?

Celebrate bikes tonight!

Friday, August 26th, 2005

Critical Mass - PortlandJust a reminder that a bunch of people will be riding around downtown tonight between 6 and 7:00. If you want to join in on all the fun, just show up on a bike and ride. There will be a large group forming around the North Park Blocks (off Burnside) at around 5:45 if you’re interested in riding with others.

Families, bells, costumes, and general merriment are strongly encouraged.

More info on “sharrows”

Friday, August 26th, 2005

As I reported a few weeks ago, sharrows are coming soon to Portland streets. If you’d like to know more about them, head over to Sam Adams’ blog where someone from his staff just posted a good explanation and several links to more information.

I’m excited about sharrows and I believe they will make our streets safer, but sharrows and other infrastructure improvements can never match the safety that comes with being a skilled, confident, and defensive cyclist. Yes, it feels good to look down and know you’ve got some fancy lane markings on your side in the battle of the concrete jungle…but you will only truly be safe once you improve your riding skills.

On that note, I urge everyone to take advantage of the upcoming bike safety workshops coming soon to a neighborhood near you. If you can’t attend those, my advice is to just ride your bike as much as possible. The sixth sense you need to be safe in traffic can really only be honed through time on the saddle.

If you’re new to riding in the city, come down to the North Park Blocks (near Burnside) tonight at 5:45 and take a ride through downtown with a few hundred fellow cyclists. I’ll be there with Eleni in the trailer…come over and say hi!


Last Thursday Art Walk

Thursday, August 25th, 2005
Alberta St. - Last Thursday Art Walk
Alberta St. - Last Thursday Art Walk
Alberta St. - Last Thursday Art Walk

Took my ladies out to Last Thursday on Alberta tonight. It was Danica’s big public debut…she slept the whole time. I love Alberta. Lots of funky, happy, beautiful people, lots of great art, and of course, lots of bikes and bikers. Ran into Carye of Red Bat Press fame. I love her woodcut prints…especially the bikey ones. Her “Everybody Bike” card is my new favorite. Hmmm, now I’m thinking of a BikePortland.org T-shirt design…

Somehow we always end up at the Clown House, watching their various antics. Eleni (my 2 1/2 yr old) is a big fan of Dingo the Clown. He’s sort of the ring-leader and he can usually be seen with his green chaps high atop his golden horse tall bike. I also met a clown on a tall unicycle named “Slim Chance.”

The amazing Sprockettes put in a performance, although regrettably I wasn’t their to see it…but I did snap a few photos of their small, pink bikes. I think the Sprockettes rule and I would be proud to see Eleni or Danica grow up to be one.

Shift Bike Bulletin: September

Thursday, August 25th, 2005

Shift‘s monthly Bike Bulletin is an essential Portland bike event and ride listing. Instead of just having it sit in my inbox each month, I’ve decided to start posting it here on BikePortland.org. I’ve been trying to figure out a way to post more rides and events, so I’ll try this and see how it goes. I’m working on a more comprehensive, user-friendly event-listing system…but for now, this will serve as a quick-and-dirty shortcut.

So here it is. Get your calendar out, save these dates, and start planning for some major bike fun!

September 2005

Ride Portland’s Off-Street Bike Paths – I-205

Tuesday, August 30
6:00 – 8:00 pm
Shogren House, NE 62nd between Davis & Glisan
We’ll ride north (possibly all the way to Marine Drive).
Website for more info
Contact: 503.823.5266, linda.ginenthal@pdxtrans.org

Ride Portland’s Springwater on the Willamette
Wednesday, August 31
6:00 – 8:00 pm
Laurelhurst Park, SE 37th & Oak
Enjoy the newest of Portland’s linear parks.
Website for more info
Contact: 503.823.5266, linda.ginenthal@pdxtrans.org