Archive for March, 2009

Horning’s Hustle MTB Race

Tuesday, March 31st, 2009

On Sunday April 5th, Portland Racing is bringing the Oregon MTB Series close to town with the third edition of the Horning’s Hustle Mountain Bike Classic.

This early-season mountain bike race will be held at Horning’s Hideout, located in the forested foothills just outside North Plains (only a 35′ drive from downtown Portland).

More something like a MTB circuit race than a traditional XC MTB race, riders will do multiple laps on a 5 mile course featuring a lot of up and downs over fire roads, primitive cat tracks, some single track descents and grassy pastures. Add to the mix a couple of “huckable” logs, a creek crossing (featuring a bridge of sorts) and a clover leaf course lay-out, and you know you’re in for a lot of fun. Check out this year’s course map (and last year’s course map) to get a rough idea of what we are talking about!

The compact course should make for a spectator-friendly race, so bring your friends and families. Like in previous years, we will also have live music, hot food, a free post-race beer for all racers 21+ and – if needed – a bonfire to keep everyone warm. In good tradition, we’ll close the day with awards and we’ll raffle off a bunch of cool prizes.

So dust off your bike, start hitting the trail, and join us on Sunday April 5th to kick off the season in style!

See Official Website

New wheelbuilder in town: Epic Wheel Works

Tuesday, March 31st, 2009
Jude Kirstein in the Epic Wheelworks shop.
(Photos © Elly Blue)

Jude Kirstein was bike touring with friends in the Patagonian Andes and realized after climbing all those mountains that, “there’s nothing you can’t do — so you might as well go for the gold.”

After that trip, Kirstein returned to Oregon and earned a wheelbuilding certificate from the United Bicycle Institute in Ashland. Two weeks ago she fulfilled a long-held dream by opening up shop as a custom wheelbuilder here in Portland under the name Epic Wheel Works.


Double decker bike parking coming to PSU

Tuesday, March 31st, 2009
psu rack off
Testing out the Josta rack
(Photos © Elly Blue)

Yesterday morning I headed over to the Portland State University campus to check out the four different double-decker bike racks the university is considering for two soon to be constructed secure on-campus bike parking garages.

The racks will be set up daily through this Friday from 10am to 3pm at SW Broadway and Montgomery. Members of the public are invited to come try out the racks with their own bikes, or with a sample bike at the site, ask questions, and fill out a survey ranking each of the four racks in intuitiveness, function, security, and appearance.


Author Jeff Mapes at Broadway Books

Tuesday, March 31st, 2009

Tues. March 31st at 7 pm:
1714 NE Broadway
Portland, OR 97232

Oregonian staff writer Jeff Mapes will present his new book, just published by Oregon State University Press: Pedaling Revolution: How Cyclists are Changing American Cities. This book explores the growing urban bike culture that is changing the look and feel of cities across North America. Mapes traces the growth of bicycle advocacy and explores issues such as the environmental and safety aspects of short urban bike trips. Chapters set in Chicago and Portland show how bicycling has beome a political act, and how cyclists are claiming their share of the urban streetscape. For anyone interested in transportation, urban planning, sustainability, public health, or bicycling, this is a fascinating look at a burgeoning phenomenon. Hope you can join us!

Commissioner to hold roundtable discussion on off-road biking in Portland parks

Tuesday, March 31st, 2009
City Council candidate Nick Fish-3.jpg
Commissioner Nick Fish
wants to open up the dialogue
on off-road biking.
(Photo © J. Maus)

Last month, rookie City Commissioner Nick Fish made his opinion of off-road biking clear. He told BikePortland that he was not satisfied with the current status quo of riding in the city and that he would work quickly to learn about the issue and seek more opportunities.

Now comes word from Fish’s office that on Monday of next week (4/6), he will hold an invite-only “informal roundtable discussion about off-road biking opportunities in Portland parks.” (It’s notable on the official invite that it didn’t mention Forest Park specifically, but that will surely be a hot point of conversation).

When asked about the meeting, Fish’s senior policy director Hannah Kuhn told us that, “the time seems right to have a more fundamental conversation” about off-road cycling.


Off-road advocacy, skills park experts in Portland tonight

Tuesday, March 31st, 2009
PUMP's Forest Park Mountain Bike Tour
PUMP will host an off-road
advocacy presentation tonight
in Northwest Portland.
(Photo © J. Maus)

As Portland moves in on creating more off-road, urban riding areas, interest in skills parks and pump tracks is growing. However, unlike in the transportation cycling realm — where Portland is often looked upon as a leader — when it comes to off-road advocacy, we still have a lot to learn.

With that in mind, the Portland United Mountain Pedalers (PUMP) will host the Evergreen MTB Alliance at an event in Northwest Portland tonight. Evergreen is a Washington-based advocacy group that received national accolades for their success in building the Colonnade MTB Skills Park (check it out on YouTube). That riding area is located under I-5 bridge overpasses in downtown Seattle.

At the event tonight, Evergreen will discuss the Colonnade and other projects, as well as how they grew their organization from a regional MTB club into a statewide advocacy group with more than 1,000 members.


CRC Opposition and Alternatives Rally

Tuesday, March 31st, 2009

12 Noon on Sunday, April 5th at Waterfront Park/Morrison Bridge (on west side of river)

Press release below:

Bill Bradbury To Speak At CRC Opposition And Alternatives Rally

Citizen’s Coalition Schedules Rally for Noon, Sunday, April 5th Waterfront Park, Releases Satirical Video

A grassroots coalition of Portlanders and Vancouverites opposed to the current scope and direction of the Columbia River Crossing project will host an Opposition and Alternatives Rally at Waterfront Park. The event is schedued for noon, Sunday, April 5th, on the lawn of Portland’s Waterfront Park – just north of the Hawthorne bridge. Rally organizers call this the opening salvo in a sustained campaign to block funding for the project in its current form, and to offer alternatives that match the desires of a community to be fiscally responsible, address environmental challenges and tackle livability issues effecting the region.

“This part of the world has made truly sustainable choices in the past, an urban growth boundary, investment in mass transit, bicycle infrastructure and the stoppage of the Mt Hood Freeway and Harbor Highway,” rally organizer Joe Kurmaskie said. ” Innovative decisions that have made us an attractive city to live in or visit. Putting up a four billion dollar, 12 lane mega-bridge will change all that, and not for the better.

“The project is based on models done before peak oil and the arrival of an economic crisis that’s changing every aspect of people’s lives, including their transportation choices. The CRC is 20th century thinking applied to a very different world today. The Coalition For A Livable Future has long said that we can not hope to build our way out of congestion. As proposed, this bridge promotes single occupancy vehicle use, invites unchecked sprawl to southern Washington and opens the door to widening I-5 through the heart of Portland.”

The Waterfront Park rally will include speakers, calls to action, information booths, distribution of lawn signs and tangible steps citizens can take to oppose the project, as well as the announcement of teach ins by smarterbidge.org, and other organized events in the future. Speakers will include elected officials, transportation experts and community leaders explaining their opposition to the project while proposing alternatives.

So far, confirmed to speak are former Oregon Secretary of State Bill Bradbury (who give’s Al Gore’s climate change presentation all over the country), Portland City Commissioner Amanda Fritz (the only city council member who voted against moving forward on a 12-lane CRC bridge), and Metro Councilor Robert Liberty (who voted against the project in the past and has offered specific alternatives) and Bicycle Transportation Alliance advocate and educator Michelle Poyourow.

The coalition is also taking the fight to the blogsphere through a series of mock video ads that use satire to drive their points home. Modeled in the American tradition of political satirist Mark Twain and more recently, the humor and humanity of Jon Stewart, the first sixty second spot is titled, “Have We Got A Bridge To Sell You?” and spoofs on the informercial/Home Shopping Network format.

In the video, a coffee cup toting couple sitting on a couch does a cheerful hard sell on the “Bridge Shopping Network”. The item up for bid is a $4.2 billion dollar “Luxury Item”. As a salesman makes his pitch sitting beside a poster of the proposed 12 lane bridge the phrases such as “Shock and sprawl!”, “Building like it’s 1959?”, “Making amends for not buying the Mt. Hood Freeway” and “$4 Billion dollars, subject to increase without notice”, roll by in ticker style at the bottom of the screen. Another one-liner you’ll hear: “This bridge can be yours for just 1,000,000 easy payments of $4,000 each!”

The videos will be posted on youtube each week and links emailed to 250 blogs and media outlets. The goal is to expose truths about the project in an entertaining way while promoting organized events such as the rally, teach ins and trips to Salem to voice opposition to elected representatives.

“We can’t allow the area to become another L.A. or Houston in terms of traffic,” Kurmaskie noted. “The CRC project will degrade everything we’ve collectively invested decades creating. There are cheaper, more environmentally sound ways to do this. We aim to make the public aware of them.”

Update: There is now a map of group rides to the rally from various points around Portland and Vancouver. The map will continue to be updated with new rides and meeting points.

Contact: Joe Kurmaskie
503 239 6985
Cell 408 595 6025
Portland, Oregon

The Monday Roundup

Monday, March 30th, 2009

Cars and money, bikes and public health, London bikesharing snag, why do cities work, how can cities work better, Barcelona before the car.

This week in the world of bikes and beyond:

– President Obama is digging deep into the U.S. auto industry crisis. His plan includes tax incentives for people who buy new cars.

– A new study found that on average, if an Arizona household paid off all of its transportation expenses before any other spending, starting at the beginning of the year, they would be in the clear on March 23rd — that’s nearly three months worth of income.

– Plans for a bikesharing program in London have hit a snag as the Mayor has decided to forbid anyone locking the bikes up anywhere but the official docking stations. Local bike advocates have not yet convinced him that this rule would increase bike theft and prevent people from actually using the bikes as intended, for short trips.


Weekend Guide and Open Thread

Friday, March 27th, 2009

It’s the weekend!

I’ve been largely without a working computer this week — my laptop will be out of the shop on Monday afternoon — and I’m looking forward to having a couple of days off from shuffling between borrowed computers, re-learning old operating systems, getting used to unfamiliar keyboards, and trying to remember passwords.

So let’s keep this short. There are a couple of interesting rides this weekend, including:

– A five mile, decorated ride on Saturday morning to celebrate International SWAN Day (SWAN stands for Support Women Artists Now).


Oregonian slams BTA’s new stance on CRC

Friday, March 27th, 2009
Anti-CRC sign-1.jpg
An anti-12 lane CRC sign
(Photo © J. Maus)

An editorial in this morning’s Oregonian criticizes Bicycle Transportation Alliance leaders for their recently stated opposition of the plan to build a new, 12-lane highway bridge over the Columbia River, and for encouraging their members to attend a rally in opposition to the plan.

Claiming that the BTA seeks “to destroy the bridge,” the editorial board advises the organization to “broaden its reach” instead of compromising the “fragile coalition” of interests working on the project.

And, oh by the way, it’s a terrible move for cyclists, too. The governors of Oregon and Washington have promised that the new I-5 bridge will be the most environmentally friendly bridge ever built, providing vastly improved access for cyclists and walkers, in addition to light rail and tolling to control congestion.