BikePortland In-Depth

This section is where you’ll find in-depth analysis and more context for important issues. Contributors include Libby Tucker, Jonathan Maus, Jessica Roberts, Christopher Heaps, and others.

In-Depth: Tracing the roots of the Oregon Handmade Bicycle Show

Posted on October 28th, 2009 at 12:11 pm.

[This story was written by Mark Reber]

Andy Newlands of Strawberry Cycles
Andy Newlands, a pioneer of
Portland’s framebuilding industry.
(Photos © J. Maus)

Portland’s emergence as a hub of bike manufacturing seems new and shiny like the paint on the bikes at this week’s upcoming Oregon Handmade Bicycle Show. But the area’s provenance as a leading force in the bike business has its roots, just like the roots of the builders themselves, in its early pioneers.

No one understands this better than Andy Newlands of Terra Nova Cycles (a.k.a. Strawberry Cyclesport). He started building bikes when leather was the preferred material for helmets. I talked with Newlands recently about those early years.

“I graduated from the University of Washington with a Civil Engineering degree in 1970,” he explained. “It wasn’t exactly the best economy for finding a job in Seattle, so I started looking at what I might do to earn a living. Somehow, building bikes came into view.”


In-Depth: Chasing the dream of online bike route planning

Posted on July 28th, 2009 at 10:17 am.

A sample route on byCycle.org.

Someday, you’ll be able to type two addresses into your computer and get customized directions for traveling between them — by bike. The addresses could be in the same city, or across the country. You could choose between different kinds of routes, or find out how to transfer to the bus or train for a leg of the trip.

That’s the dream, anyway. And it’s a dream being chased by a small, but determined band of bike-loving programmers and mapping experts across the country.

The idea of online bicycle route planning is at least as old as the advent of online driving direction programs such as MapQuest, and Portland became the epicenter of its realization in 2005 with the debut of byCycle.org.


Don’t kill the messengers: Inside the health of the industry (Part Three)

Posted on January 29th, 2009 at 10:22 am.

More on this series:
Read Part One
Read Part Two
Author Bio

[Note from Publisher: Welcome to the final installment of our three-part series on bike messengers in Portland. This series is written by BikePortland contributing writer Erin Greeson (bio).

In Part One, Greeson laid out the tough working conditions faced by Portland’s messengers. Part Two focused on health care and the negative stereotypes often associated with bicycle delivery professionals. Today, Greeson concludes her story by taking a look at attempts to organize and improve the industry.

Thanks to everyone for the vigorous discussion on this series thus far, and a special thanks to Erin Greeson for her work on this story.]


Don’t kill the messengers: Inside the health of the industry (Part Two)

Posted on January 28th, 2009 at 9:07 am.

More on this series:

[Welcome to Part Two of our three-part series on bike messengers in Portland.

This series is written by BikePortland contributing writer Erin Greeson (bio). In Part One, Greeson laid out the tough working conditions faced by Portland’s messengers. In the article below, she shares finding health care coverage for a messenger who’s also a mom and she delves into the impact of the messenger stereotype.]


Don’t kill the messengers: Inside the health of the industry

Posted on January 27th, 2009 at 1:58 pm.

Erin Greeson

[Publisher’s note: This is the first in a three-part story on Portland’s bike messengers by new contributor Erin Greeson.

When her friend Zak Kovalcik crashed and broke his collarbone last fall, Greeson came face-to-face with the tough reality faced by Portland’s bike delivery professionals. In this in-depth, three-part series, Greeson shares how the deck is stacked against messengers and how they are trying to survive in a challenging profession.]

“The paradigm of the typical messenger service business model is problematic. It’s a pyramid-shaped scheme where the workers are on the bottom.”
–Ira Ryan, former messenger

As Portland’s reputation as a green business boomtown gains momentum, bike-centric ventures emerge as quickly and viably as organic brewpubs and cafes. While a new era of entrepreneurs seeks to capitalize on this evolving economy, one of the oldest bike-based businesses, bicycle messenger services, faces challenges that impact workers and business owners alike.


A new plan for MTB access in Forest Park

Posted on December 17th, 2008 at 3:45 pm.

PUMP's Forest Park mountain bike tour
A rider enjoys the rare piece
of singletrack in Forest Park.
(Photo © J. Maus)

Frank Selker is like many people in Portland who wish there was more opportunity for mountain biking on singletrack trails in Forest Park.

The issue has been batted around by a number of individuals and groups over the past two decades. But so far, not much has improved for those who crave the experience of riding narrow trails.

Currently, the all-powerful Forest Park Natural Resources Management Plan (adopted by city council in 1995) states that mountain bikes are only allowed on “trails” (roads really) that are at least eight feet wide.


A conversation with Rex Burkholder: Part One; the CRC

Posted on December 16th, 2008 at 1:16 pm.

metro hearing on the CRC-4.jpg
(Photos © J. Maus)

Last Friday, I had the pleasure to host Rex Burkholder here at BikePortland.org Headquarters. We often cross paths at events and parties, and I work with him as a source on stories now and again, but it’s rare that we get the chance to talk uninterrupted for over an hour.


Will bike economy coast through recession?

Posted on December 10th, 2008 at 12:01 pm.

Opening night dinner-8.jpg
Trek CEO John Burke says Trek
sales are up…so far.
(Photos © J Maus)

The mountain of bad economic news in this country seems to get steeper with each passing day. But amid the slowdown, there are some signs that bike-related industries are still rolling along with ease, at least for now.

Signs from the local, national and global bike industry indicators are mixed. In this story, we take a look at some of those signs and ask several industry players how things are going.

Bike Europe, a trade magazine that covers the bike business on the other side of the pond, reported last week on Taiwan’s export numbers. Overall, their exports are down 5.5 percent over last year, but bicycles are one of only two “industry sectors” that are up (the other is pharmaceuticals).


Hey Governor, what about bikes? [Updated]

Posted on December 3rd, 2008 at 3:20 pm.

Libby Tucker

[Editor’s note: This is the first article in our new section, BikePortland.org: In-Depth.

The main contributor to this section will be Libby Tucker. Ms. Tucker is a freelance reporter whose articles have been published in a myriad of outlets including the Associated Press, MSNBC.com, The Oregonian, and others. She was most recently a staff writer for the Daily Journal of Commerce where she covered transportation, construction and energy. She is also the author of the blog, Naked Energy.

In this article, Ms. Tucker takes a closer look at how bikes figure into Governor Kulongoski’s 2009 plans.]