shows the nation's top racers at Alpenrose Velodrome.
(Photos by Peter Hoffman)
While many people think of only bike commuters and naked rides when the topic of cycling in Portland comes up, our city also has a proud tradition when it comes to racing. We shared a glimpse of that legacy back in 2011 through James Mason's amazing photographs of the local racing scene in the 1960s, 70s, and 80s. Now we've come across another interesting artifact of our racing past: The 1967 issue of American Cycling magazine that featured Portland on its cover.
Portland earned this cover spot for hosting the 1967 U.S. National Road Racing Championships. The competition took place over two days at the newly opened Alpenrose Velodrome and the infamous 1.7 mile circuit in Mt. Tabor Park.
The man who wrote and photographed that story for American Cycling is Peter Hoffman. Hoffman is 76-years old now and he lives in Beaverton (just over the hill from Portland). After seeing our story on James Mason's racing images, Hoffman scanned his old issue of American Cycling and posted it online. Hoffman was publisher and editor of American Cycling for six years. It became Bicycling magazine in 1968 and Hoffman was its editor for that first year. (Read more about the history of American Cycling here.)
"... it being the object and intent of this act to provide for pedestrians and bicycles a highway separate from that used by teams and horsemen."— Excerpt from House Bill 63
The more I read about Oregon's tenth governor, T.T. Geer, the more intriguing this man becomes.
As we shared back in 2009, Governor Geer was the man who put bicycling on the map in Oregon at the turn of the 20th century. He served as governor from 1899 through 1903 — right in the midst of what many consider the golden age of bicycling in America. Today I came across an email from reader Larry H. that included a PDF of a piece of legislation Geer pushed through in 1901 known as House Bill 63; also known as, "Oregon's Bicycle Path Bill."
I knew Geer was bike-oriented, but never realized just how broad his bike policies were until I read the text of HB 63 this morning. I found it fascinating. Many of the provisions included in the bill — a tax on bicycle riders, ongoing revenue for infrastructure, and so on — are things we are still debating 111 years later.
(Photo: Oregon State Library)
Remember Oregon's tenth governor, Theodore T. Geer? He's the great Oregonian who, in May of 1900, rode his bike from the capital in Salem to Champoeg to establish a monument to an historic vote that took place there in 1843. That vote paved the way to Oregon statehood and the monument stands today as the focal point for the Champoeg State Heritage Area.
To honor that ride and Governor Geer's role in the founding of Oregon, the State of Oregon Parks and Recreation Department is organizing a bike ride that will retrace his route. The inaugural "Governor's Ride 2012," will be part of Champoeg's annual "Founder's Day" festivities (which have taken place at the monument since 1901).
Champoeg State Heritage Area Park Ranger Bob Woodruff got in touch with us to share more... (more...)
As many of you head to Salem for the Oregon Active Transportation Summit (it begins tomorrow!), I thought it'd be fun to take a step back in our history.
40 years ago, on June 19th 1971, dozens of Portlanders got on their bikes and rode to Salem for the signing of HB 1700, the Bicycle Bill. Passed by Southern Oregon lawmaker Don Stathos (who passed away in 2005), the bill was the first in the nation to mandate that highway funds get spent on bikeways.
Local citizen activist Ted Buehler recently came across an old news clipping from the time of the bill's passage. The article below appeared in the December 1971 issue of Boom in Bikeways, the "Newsletter of the Bikeways explosion" published by the Bicycle Institute of America. (more...)
young boy in Beaverton in 1953.
- See his photos below -
(All images © James Mason)
A few months ago, a man named James Mason popped up on the always interesting OBRA email list. He shared a link to photographs of bicycle racing in Portland he took back in the 1970s and '80s. Mason's images instantly struck a nerve with me; not only for his technical prowess, but because he captured legendary competitors in action at venues still used for racing today and the beautiful scenes and faces that defined the era. His photos are a testament to Portland's rich bicycling legacy.
I asked Mason for permission to share his images here on BikePortland. Mason, 62, not only gave me permission to use the images, he also answered my questions about his own past and what it was like to grow up in Beaverton and come of age around Portland's bike racing scene from the 1960s through the 80s.
"Public streets are for the movement of people, not long-term storage of vehicles."
— from Bicycle Facilities for Portland: A Comprehensive Plan, 1974
A two-way cycle track at NE Glisan and 39th, a physically separated bikeway on SE 52nd, on-street parking removal to make room for bike traffic, painted crosswalks specifically for bikes (crossbikes?), a multi-use path along the Willamette River from Kelley Point Park south through the city and beyond — sounds like a wish list in the 2030 Bike Plan right? Actually, all of these things were dreamed up and suggested as priorities and policies in plans published nearly 40 years ago.
[This article was written by Kelly Dodd. It first appeared in the June 2010 issue of Jan Heine's Bicycle Quarterly magazine and is being published here with the author's permission. We are extremely grateful for the opportunity to share this historical account of a Portland bicycling pioneer, devoted advocate, and legendary bike racer.]
by Kelly Dodd
100-mile road race in Antwerp, Belgium.
(Photos courtesy Kelly Dodd)
Inside the front door of the bike shop is a wall of old photos, many depicting a handsome racer covered in dirt and sweat, holding a victory bouquet. There is a glass case displaying medals, ribbons, plaques, and awards – evidence of a long and successful bike racing career. "This is just a tiny fraction of my Dad’s trophies," says Dirk Pauwels.
"By the 1970s, less than thirty of the two hundred seventy... buildings downtown remained...When did Portland start to trade its most unique built feature for acres and acres of pay by the hour asphalt?"
-- Dan Haneckow, historian
A recent post on local historian Dan Haneckow's Cafe Unknown blog, delved into a sad part of Portland's urban legacy -- the demolition of downtown buildings to make room for surface parking lots. He writes, "By the 1970s, less than thirty of the two hundred seventy cast iron buildings downtown remained."
But why? It wasn't always just to make room for highways and onramps. Here's what Haneckow thinks led to this practice: (more...)