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‘Wheelwomen Switchboard’ is a new forum for women in biking

Tuesday, March 18th, 2014
A screengrab of the new Wheelwomen Switchboard.

A new online community for the women’s bicycling movement, launched by a local bike writer and built on a web startup by two Reed College alumni, seems to be off to a roaring start.

Created by Elly Blue, who is herself a sort of bicycle hub who has taken human form and lives in Portland, Wheelwomen Switchboard sorts its users’ posts into two categories: “asks” and “offers.” The Wheelwomen community has drawn more than 70 such posts in its first two weeks.

(more…)

After complaints, Amtrak clarifies: folding bikes always allowed as carry-ons

Wednesday, December 18th, 2013
Amtrak Cascades Mud Bay Surrey BC 2007_0917_1052
Amtrak Cascades, the regional line several BikePortland
readers said is bike-friendlier than many.
(Photo by Stephen Rees.)

A late-night incident in which Amtrak workers awoke two Portlanders to tell them, incorrectly, that their folding bikes weren’t allowed as carry-ons has led the agency to clarify its policy.

Amtrak spokeswoman Vernae Graham said last week that every passenger car in the system allows folding bicycles as carry-on luggage “if they fit the dimensions described in the policy and can fit in the areas designated for carry on baggage or bikes.”

The maximum dimensions are 34 inches by 15 inches by 48 inches, as stated in Amtrak’s policy. Mass-market folding bikes meet those constraints, Dean Mullin of local shop Clever Cycles said Wednesday.

(more…)

Citing nonexistent policy, Amtrak workers haul away Portlanders’ bikes – UPDATED

Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013
Texas Eagle
The Texas Eagle in Austin, Tex.
(Photo by Ian Westcott.)

[See official response from Amtrak in update at end of story.]

Amtrak apologized Tuesday to a Portlander traveling through Texas who said train workers woke her up and yelled at her for having a folding bicycle as carry-on luggage — something the national rail service allows.

“Unfortunately, we have found that Amtrak employees at all levels tend to be unaware of the company’s policy’s regarding bikes, folding and otherwise,” Elly Blue, a Portland-based writer who is on a business trip with her partner Joe Biel, wrote in an email. (Blue and Biel didn’t end up losing their bikes or needing to check them, though they were taken away overnight.)

“I love the train because it’s low-stress,” Blue lamented. Last night’s trip, though, was anything but.

(more…)

Radically sensible: 8 questions for Elly Blue, Portland’s pop bikenomist

Thursday, September 5th, 2013
Cover of Bikenomics

As she writes in her new book Bikenomics, Portland-based bike writer Elly Blue backed into bike activism in her mid-20s, when she realized that bikes advanced so many of her other wishes for the country.

Almost a decade later, Blue has organized years of observations about the economic benefits of biking into a 194-page book of deeply rational arguments that’s poised to make a splash. It’s studded with stories from her reporting around the United States and anecdotes from her own life and work. Yesterday I talked to Blue, 35 (founder of Elly Blue Publishing, a columnist for Bicycling.com, self-publisher of the quarterly zine Taking the Lane and a former managing editor here at BikePortland), in an email conversation about the country’s most underrated biking city, one of her frustrations with this very blog, and that one time she finally learned to drive.

You’re the queen of bike statistics. Pick your favorite. (more…)

Elly Blue and Portland’s bike book boom

Thursday, November 8th, 2012
Elly Blue, publisher.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

These are boom times in the bike book publishing world. From big coffee-table books detailing the beauty of bike design, to guidebooks on where and how to ride and everything in between — the cycling renaissance in North America is being mirrored by an equally robust uptick in the amount of new books that document it.

Major publishing houses have noticed and they’re certainly getting a piece of the action; but here in Portland, a growing number of authors are turning to small press and independent publishers.

And who’s at the forefront of this fledgling revolution? None other than activist, businesswoman, writer, journalist and southeast Portland resident Elly Blue. Under her Taking the Lane Media banner, Elly is publishing, consulting on, distributing, marketing, and even writing bike books at a breakneck pace. After cutting her teeth on writing and bike journalism here on BikePortland back in the day, Elly found big success as a columnist for Grist.org. Since that gig ended, Elly has spent the last two years learning everything she can about the publishing business (and she’s also become something of an expert on how to win a Kickstarter campaign). (more…)

Event: Bikestravaganza (9/10/10)

Sunday, July 25th, 2010

What: Bikestravaganza: Off the Chainring in Portland—Grand Finale!
When:Sept. 10th 7:00pm – 9:00pm
Where: Madison’s Grill: 1109 SE Madison Portland, OR
Event Details: Please join us for the final, hometown event of our grand tour of the upper western region of the U.S. On our tour, we’re using movies and pictures to tell the story of transportation activism in Portland, and hearing from locals what their bicycle scene is like and what they’re doing about it.

For our Portland event we’ll share some of what we’ve seen and learned—the best and the worst, the most harrowing and most inspiring, from Spokane to Reno, Cheyenne to Provo, Seattle to San Francisco.

Jonathan Maus will emcee the event and moderate a discussion about what Portland might be able to learn from the rest of the country when it comes to bicycling.

Boneshaker Almanac editors Evan Schneider and Melissa Reeser will join us as well for a spirited reading from their popular publication.

The Microcosm Publishing zine trike will be on hand for all your bicycle-themed book, zine, movie, and sticker needs.

$3-10 sliding scale at the door. Everyone is welcome to attend and participate in the conversation.

Details at http://bikestravaganza.wordpress.com/
and on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=138506359519898&ref=ts

Heading down to the L.A. Bike Summit

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2009
Reporting by Brompton in
Baltimore last month
(Photo: Patrick McMahon)

I’m headed out tomorrow afternoon to Los Angeles for the first-ever L.A. Bike Summit on Saturday, March 7th.

L.A., iconic land of freeways, may seem like an unlikely place for bicycling to flourish, but that seems to be what is happening. In an op-ed for the L.A. Times last June, summit organizing team member Robert Gottlieb discussed the history of L.A.’s recent surge of interest in bicycling, and the formation of many new bike-oriented groups running the gamut from large, spontaneous midnight rides to advocacy organizations to bike repair co-ops. (more…)

A visit to Baltimore’s Velocipede Bike Project (Slideshow)

Monday, January 12th, 2009

One of my favorite stops in Baltimore was at the Velocipede Bike Project.

Occupying a bright storefront in the young and hip Charles Village neighborhood, Velocipede is a collectively run community bike shop. Since July of 2006, the all-volunteer shop has welcomed members of the community to come volunteer time (or, as a downplayed alternative, pay a fee) in exchange for access to bike tools, parts, and expertise. (more…)

In D.C.: The great transportation convergence

Monday, January 12th, 2009
You can take a shuttle between conference
venues, or a ten minute walk across this gorgeous
bridge on Connecticut Ave.
(Photos by Elly Blue)

Washington, DC is the final stop on my East Coast Tour. I am here for the week-long Transportation Research Board (TRB) annual meeting.

TRB is the big transportation conference in North America, hosted by the country’s pre-eminent transportation research organization. Hundreds of sessions fill three huge hotels on Connecticut Avenue, and 11,000 attendees walk briskly from room to room, talking shop about everything from bituminous pavement to international shipping to pedestrian signalization.

The theme of the conference this year is Transportation, Energy, and Climate Change. The fact that this is the theme is a big deal in its own right, as it signals a shift in focus in transportation research and policy nationally.
(more…)

Dispatch from New Haven: A look at new Complete Streets law

Friday, January 9th, 2009
Whitney Avenue, shown here at
New Haven’s northern border, is ready
for a Complete Streets makeover
(Photos by Elly Blue)

New Haven, Connecticut, which has never been known for progressive transportation initiatives, is now home to a Complete Streets law — one of only a handful in the country, and one of the most comprehensive.

When I arrived at a Yale University office last week to meet with their Transportation Options team (more on that soon), I learned that the program’s assistant director, Erin Sturgis-Pascale, also serves on New Haven’s Board of Alders (their city council).

This October, Sturgis-Pascale and another board member introduced and passed a Complete Streets bill, making New Haven one of the few communities in the country to have such a law. For this accomplishment, she has been called “the preeminent “livable streets” elected official in Connecticut.”
(more…)

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