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Conference will help schools get on the bike train

Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on August 23rd, 2010 at 11:32 am

Family biking-3
Get on the bike train!
(Photo © J. Maus)

Remember back in May when I happened upon the Beach Elementary School bike train? Now, a former volunteer intern with the City of Portland's Safe Routes to Schools program is organizing the first-ever Portland Bike Train Conference.

Recent college grad Kiel Johnson says he helped get the Beach School bike train going last year and it was "really successful" so he wants to bring the idea to other schools. The Beach bike train averaged about 10-20 riders per week. On one morning back in May, over 100 kids and parents rolled into school together, cementing Beach's reputation as a school where biking is taken seriously.

"This is something I am very passionate about and I feel like I can make a difference by just providing some energy and motivation."
-- Kiel Johnson, Bike Train Conference organizer

Johnson, 24, says more Portland schools should follow Beach's example. "I think it's a cool idea and it's something that Portland should have more of. It just needs some organization and energy to get it going." Johnson notes that at Beach, once he introduced the bike train concept, the parents "just took it over and made it their own thing."

At the upcoming conference, Johnson and fellow volunteers will share more about the Beach experience, help people find and plan safe routes and they'll discuss how to best pool resources to make more bike trains happen.

As to why a 24 year-old college graduate with no kids of his own in school would volunteer time to help get more people bicycling, Johnson says, "This is something I am very passionate about and I feel like I can make a difference by just providing some energy and motivation."

Learn more at BikeTrainPDX.org.

    First Annual Portland Bike Train Conference
    August 30th, 7 - 8:00 pm
    Sabin Elementary Auditorium (4013 NE 18th Ave)
    - Please RSVP to kielij (at) gmail.com if you are able to attend and include whether you would want childcare

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Comments
  • q`Tzal August 23, 2010 at 12:24 pm

    Love it, hope it sticks.

    Eventually a child will be injured by an auto while cycling to school in one of these trains.
    Hopefully he is collecting enough data on children injured in "safe" SUV's on their way to school to show that while nothing is perfectly safe that bicycle trains are safer per man-mile(child-mile?) than the old paradigm of 1 ton of vehicle per person.

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  • elaine August 23, 2010 at 12:43 pm

    Hooray! This sounds like an awesome idea!

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  • kiwimunki August 23, 2010 at 2:43 pm

    Don't need to be a parent to care about best interest of the kids in your hood'.
    It's an investment in your own community - helping raise a new generation of healthy, safe cyclists (instead of obese car drivers).

    Hooray for Johnson's Little Achievers! Best of luck, Kiel.

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  • Paul Johnson September 1, 2010 at 6:57 pm

    Very cool idea, but it would be nice if the organizers helped encourage best practices, such as not riding on lane lines.

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