This old rail corridor deep in the Tillamook Forest will someday be a biking and walking path. (Photo: Salmonberry Corridor Preliminary Feasibility Report)
The third annual Regional Trails Fair will be held tomorrow at Metro headquarters from 1:00 to 3:30 pm. The event will bring together more than 35 trail advocacy organizations and government agencies to share the latest updates on trail projects throughout the Portland region. And there's a lot to talk about!
Did you know there's a major effort underway (with support from Oregon Parks & Recreation) to create a new rail-trail that would connect the town of Banks to Tillamook on the Oregon Coast? The Salmonberry Trail, which won a $100,000 planning grant from Cycle Oregon last year, would allow riders to travel 85 miles through the Tillamook Forest without ever seeing a car.
The Disaster Relief Trials, an event that showcases the capabilities of cargo bikes in disaster response, will be bigger and better and this year. After a successful inaugural event last year (which has already spawned similar events in Boulder and Seattle), organizers have loaded up the event with new sponsors, new events, a larger expo area, a new location, and much more.
The idea behind the DRT is to put cargo bikes and their riders through a series of tasks that simulate how the bikes would function in response to a major natural disaster (such as an earthquake) when fuel is rationed and roads and bridges are impassible by motor vehicles. Last year, 30 competitors participated while a HAM radio-powered command center tracked their movements via a home base at Velo Cult bicycles in Hollywood.
On Saturday night, the stars of bike advocacy from around the region aligned in northwest Portland for the 18th annual Alice Awards benefit auction. Known as "Alice," it's the largest fundraising event of the year for the Bicycle Transportation Alliance (BTA). With hundreds of people in attendance (each of whom paid $125 to be there), the night is full of fun, socializing, and shopping for a good cause.
With a nod toward celebrating the 50,000th grade school student to receive the BTA's Bicycle Safety Education program, this year's theme was "Tomorrow's riders start today." The main events of the night were the live auction, the crowning of award winners, and a nod to one very special bike advocate.
Before we get to another great week of bike news, let's take a look at last week's best stories...
— Did you catch that crazy video of a guy on a motorcycle who hit someone riding a bike in the hills above Los Angeles? Turns out it was a group ride being led by none other than famous pro George Hincapie.
The weather will be splendid this weekend in and around Portland. What are your plans?
If you haven't dreamed up an adventure on your own, there are plenty of races and rides going on. Some folks will head to the Coast Range for the Rapture, a grueling 70 miles of unsanctioned adventure where just finishing is an accomplishment. Others will join the Society of Three Speeds on Sunday for a "celebration of planetary gearing" on the Three Speed Ride. The BTA's Alice Awards is tomorrow so the region's bike advocates will get together to celebrate great accomplishments.
Whatever you end up doing, have a great weekend. Feel free to promote other events and share your plans in the comments. You can also share your thoughts on the week's news if you feel like it.
For over eight years now, I've run BikePortland in pretty much the same way. Give or take a few years when I had the good fortune of working with Elly Blue (as managing editor) and Jonathan Reed (as my ad sales and business guy), this has been a solo operation. Over 15,000 posts, 211,000 comments, 32,000 photos and countless meetings and events. That's a whole lot of work, stress, ups-and-downs, and screen-time for one person. That's why today I am very happy to announce that I'm about to get some much-needed help.
BikePortland and Portland Afoot are joining forces.
A cargo bike mini-mart debuted at Buckman Farmer's Market yesterday. (Photos: Portland Farmer's Market)
Portland's love of cargo bikes just took another big step. And I mean big. The folks who run Portland Farmer's Market debuted their new "Produce Pedaler" cargo bike at the Buckman market yesterday. The bike is an old-fashioned style, extra-large, classic Dutch bakfiets. It has a load capacity of 660 lbs and it's nearly 12 feet long.
The bike will travel to the eight different Portland Farmer's Markets around town throughout the season. It's set up as a mini-market and will offer vegetables and produce, flowers, and assorted goodies from market vendors. PFM Operations Director Jaret Foster says, "Having a mobile market bike has been a longtime dream. The Produce Pedaler not only creates another sales opportunity for our vendors, it’s also the perfect way to bring together Portland’s celebrated bike culture and regional bounty in a fun and memorable way. We hope this beautiful three-wheeled vehicle becomes a Portland icon..."
For the past four years, southeast Portland resident Blake Hicks has focused his entire life on two things: Perfect his bike tricks and share them with the world. Now, after countless hours of hard work, the 28-year-old professional performer is about to embark on the biggest summer of his young career.
I first came across Blake's amazing riding skills in 2006, when I photographed him practicing his moves in Waterfront Park. Yesterday I was riding through the park and there he was again — working on his awe-inspiring, spinning, rolling, and balancing act. And I'm glad I stopped to talk because he's about to leave for a three-month performance gig at Busch Gardens in Tampa, Florida.
Pete Jordan, a former Portland resident who lived in Amsterdam for the past eleven years, has written a book about the experience. In the City of Bikes: The Story of the Amsterdam Cyclist (Harper Perennial 2013) came out a few days ago and Jordan is back in Portland tonight for a reading.
"When Pete Jordan arrives in Amsterdam to study how to make America's cities more bicycle-friendly, he immediately falls in love with the city that already lives life on two wheels. His new bride, Amy Joy, joins Pete, and despite their financial hardships and instability, she eventually finds her own new calling as a bicycle mechanic as Pete discovers the untold history of cycling in Amsterdam.
From its beginnings as an elitist pastime in the 1890s to the street-consuming craze of the 1920s, from the bicycle's role in a citywide resistance to the Nazi occupation to the White Bikes of the 1960s and the bike fishermen of today, Jordan chronicles the evolution of Amsterdam's cycling.
Part personal memoir, part history of cycling, part fascinating street-level tour of Amsterdam, In the City of Bikes is the story of a man who loves bikes, in a city that loves bikes."
"It was a tragic situation that we want to avoid this year. Greater awareness may help us do that." — Louis Torres, ODOT Region 2
After a traffic collision claimed the life of a 65-year-old Camas man during the Reach the Beach ride last year, the Oregon Department of Transportation, the Oregon State Police (OSP), race organizers and other officials are being proactive about safety this time around.
The ride is on May 18th and it attracts nearly 3,000 riders who pedal to the coast from four different starting locations (including Portland).
In a statement released today, ODOT urged people driving on the route to consider other options because there will be, "several thousand bicyclists who will be sharing space with motorists on rural highways in Washington, Yamhill and Tillamook counties." In particular officials are concerned about OR 22 and OR 130 (Little Nestucca Road) because they are "narrow and can be a challenge when motorists and bicyclists are sharing the road."
Mt. Hood could use more travel options. (Photo: ODOT)
The Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) has released an online survey that seeks input to inform their Mt. Hood Multimodal Transportation Plan. As reported back in March, ODOT wants to make it easier and safer to bike, walk, and hop on a bus around Government Camp, Timberline Lodge, and all the other popular recreation destinations on Mt. Hood. The plan focuses specifically on reducing auto trips on highways 26 (Sandy) and 35 (Hood River).
ODOT Region 1 Project Planner Mike Mason told us in March that, "What we're hoping to find are good ideas to reduce the number of people who feel they need to drive cars up there."
In a statement released today, Mason said, “People travel along the Mount Hood highway corridor for many reasons... We want these people who use the highway to help shape the future of transportation on the mountain."
This morning I rolled over to North Vancouver Avenue to take a closer look at who's riding. My location was just north of Shaver and a few blocks south of the Going Street neighborhood greenway. The bikeway on this section of Vancouver is pretty nice; even though from an engineering standpoint it's decidedly low-tech. The bike lane here is just a standard white stripe. No green paint. No protection of any kind. However, because PBOT made it extra-wide — at some spots it's a comfortable 6 1/2 feet — it feels much nicer than other bike lanes in town. The Vancouver bike lane is also very popular (the most popular according to a 2007 PBOT survey) and feels relatively comfortable because it's downhill and the speed differential between people on bikes and people in cars is minimal.
Typical "flow" singletrack on the Beginner Trail in Lebanon Hills. (Photo used with Permission of Dakota County Parks, Minnesota)
This article is written by Joshua Rebannack. Joshua contacted me after he read our recent coverage of mountain biking in Forest Park. As a way of helping Portland see a different vision for urban, off-road bicycling access, Joshua wanted to share how the issue has evolved in riding areas around Minneapolis, Minnesota. — Jonathan
My name is Joshua Rebennack. I'm a "Dirt Boss" at the Cuyuna Lakes Mountain Bike Trails and a member of the Cuyuna Lakes Mountain Bike Crew. I am writing this guest article in response to some of the controversy surrounding the possible inclusion of mountain biking at Forest Park.
Below I'll discuss an example trail in an urban setting, Lebanon Hills Regional Park in Eagan, Minnesota, and the lessons the citizens of Portland can learn from it.
While it might seem an odd choice comparing a West Coast location with Midwest, there are more similarities than one might think. Both Portland and Twin Cities (including Eagan) are at similar latitudes. While Portland prides itself on its rainfall, actually, the Twin Cities receives somewhat similar amounts of precipitation, though far more of it in snow. They both have similar political climates. And both are biking hot- spots.
Portland State University is in some very elite company atop the national Bike Friendly University rankings announced last month by the League of American Bicyclists. PSU has improved from their "silver" award in 2011 and is now one of only three schools in the "gold" category (Stanford is the only university to have received Platinum.)
Cycling at PSU has skyrocketed in recent years and the university has responded with bike-friendly policies, programs, and infrastructure. As of 2012, a survey (taken by 960 employees and 1,109 students) showed that 12% of the of the entire campus population arrived by bicycle. In 2005, just 6% of students rode bikes to campus. While bike use has gone up, the amount of people who drive alone to campus (23%) has dropped by half.
The Portland Bureau of Transportation has taken steps to fill a big hole in their communications department. As I shared last week, PBOT's sole media relations staffers — Dan Anderson and Cheryl Kuck — both decided to move on. Today PBOT confirmed that they've hired Dylan Rivera and Diane Dulken as interim media relations staffers to fill those vacant positions.
Rivera is a former transportation reporter for The Oregonian who was laid off back in 2010. He covered many transportation issues including the Columbia River Crossing (he did great work exposing important details about that project), Sunday Parkways, parking policy, and so on. In July 2010 he was hired by Metro and became their senior public affairs specialist (as well as writing for their Metro News department). He left his Metro position at the end of last year to become the communications director for the Oregon House Democrats.
- Independent, daily bike news since 2005 -
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