Archive for August, 2006

Catch the Clownhouse and carfree activism at Last Thursday

Thursday, August 31st, 2006

Tonight is the big Last Thursday celebration on Alberta Street in Northeast Portland. If you head out there, here are two special happenings you don’t want to miss.

Clown Wedding

First, those kooky clowns at the famous Clownhouse on NE 25th and Alberta Streets are holding their first ever talent show. Dubbed “Shmanarchist Idol,” beginning at around 5:30 the clowns will offer their stage to anyone with a talent to share.

Contestants will be judged by yours truly (such an honor) and invited back for the final round competition at 8:00. There are some nice prizes including gift certificates from local businesses and of course a shot at stardom in front of hoardes of fans.


Bike Commute Challenge kicks off tomorrow

Thursday, August 31st, 2006
Freightliner bike commute challenge kickoff
[Freightliner employees
kick off the Bike
Commute Challenge.]

The Bicycle Transportation Alliance (BTA) kicks off their annual Bike Commute Challenge tomorrow and organizers say an estimated 700 companies (view list) from Oregon and Washington will participate.

The event promotes bike commuting by encouraging companies to compete against each other to see who can get more employees riding to work.

The companies are separated into several categories and can track their progress via the event’s website. Winners are announced at a party in mid-October.


Mountain bikers finish new Forest Park trail

Thursday, August 31st, 2006

[Update: According to a rep from Friends of Forest Park—who were instrumental in making this trail happen—some minor work remains to complete this trail.]

Last Saturday was the second of two trail work parties to complete a new mountain bike trail in Forest Park. The trail, which extends off an existing firelane, is the first new mountain bike trail added to the park since 1988.

[Trail work volunteers at the entrance to Firelane 5 in Forest Park.]


Get Lit founder hopes to pass the torch

Thursday, August 31st, 2006
Bike to Blazers
[Jeff Bernards, founder
of Get Lit]

For the last three years, Jeff Bernards and his Get Lit program have distributed over 1500 free bike lights and 500 helmets to Portland cyclists.

His program—which was initially funded by an ODOT grant—has become such a success that it has garnered national media attention, earned him an Alice B. Toeclips award, and has been emulated by the Portland Police Bureau and other advocacy groups across the country.

There’s no doubt about it; Jeff’s dedication to Get Lit has had a major impact on the cycling community.


Update: Messengers prep for S.S. Pussycat

Wednesday, August 30th, 2006

[Editor’s note: I got this all wrong! This event is not being organized by messengers and while the format is modeled after messenger races, most of the participants are not messengers and the event is open to all ladies and transgendered riders. According to one of the organizers, “This is a fun race for all ladies and trans folk…speed is important but cunning can count even more.”]

[From last year’s Pussycat.]
Photo: Tori B.

Local bike messengers are getting psyched for this weekend’s S.S. Pussycat alleycat race. This is the 3rd annual S.S. Pussycat which is billed by organizers as a “ladies and transgender only event.”

Alleycats are informal events (meaning no permits and thus no hasslin’ by the Man) where participants are given a list of locations they must visit in a certain order. Route selection is up to each rider.

Interested competitors should show up at 1:00pm at Lillis Albina Park (N. Flint and Russell) this Sunday.

Mystery bike stencils pop up around city

Wednesday, August 30th, 2006
mystery bike symbols (photos by Matt Picio)

Have you noticed these cool little bike stencils popping up on popular bikeways throughout the city? I’ve seen them around the Hawthorne Bridge, on the Springwater Corridor Trail, and several other places.

I have no idea what they’re all about but I’m curious. BikePortland.org reader Matt Picio is curious too so he snapped these photos in hopes someone out there can enlighten us.


Cyclist mugged on the waterfront?

Tuesday, August 29th, 2006

I just noticed this post in the Forums. It’s about a pre-meditated bike crash scam on the waterfront.

“A co-worker of mine got mugged while bicycling home!! He was riding along the waterfront and was boxed in by another rider and forced into an accident. They crashed pretty hard and he tore up his shin. The rider who blocked my co-worker’s path and caused the accident claimed that his rear wheel was damaged. Immediately the incident was swarmed upon by several homeless youth who took sides with the perpetrator of the crash and threatened my friend with bodily harm. They insisted that restitution be made immediately. My co-worker gave the perp his rear wheel/tire and quickly left.”

According to the post, this happened on Friday August 25th at around 7:30 PM between the Burnside and Steel Bridges.

Has anyone else fallen victim to a similar attack? If so, you should notify Portland Police Central Precinct at (503) 823-0097.

PDOT sharpens focus on pro-bike messaging

Tuesday, August 29th, 2006

The Transportation Options division within PDOT has put out a call to marketing and focus group experts to help create and evaluate effective messages that will resonate with the non-cycling public.

This effort is a key part of their nine-point strategy to reach Platinum status with the League of Amercian Bicyclists and increase bicycle use by 15%.

According to the official request for proposals,


Cool ways to carry kids

Tuesday, August 29th, 2006
Brompton made for kids
[A Brompton built
for two.]

Since neither of my girls can ride a bike on their own (yet), we’re always looking for ways to carry them. So far Juli and I have used a trailer, baby seats, backpacks, my arms and even my shoulders (just for fun).

Last week I came across two new methods that were both fun and effective.

While hanging out at Veloce Bicycles on Hawthorne, Todd Fahrner rolled in on his Brompton folder. Todd’s always up to something interesting and that day he was showing off his latest creation. Todd has converted a product called the ITChair—which adds a child seat to a Brompton—attached some cranks and made it into a nifty tandem for tots. He calls it the ITandem.


Gold Lamborghini road rages on Skyline

Tuesday, August 29th, 2006

It’s been just over a year since I posted, “Wanted: your close calls.” Since then, 226 of you have reported the details of your harrowing experiences.

I read all of them and every once in a while one will catch my eye. Like this one,