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The simple way to end bike theft: Externalize the costs

Wednesday, December 17th, 2014
go by bike overhead
OHSU covers the costs and reaps many benefits from the South Waterfront’s free-to-use bike valet. If we’re willing to listen, its success could be a lesson.
(Photo: Go By Bike)

America's Next Bicycle Capital

Part of our series of guest posts, America’s Next Bicycle Capital, where we share community voices about the future of biking in Portland. This week’s guest writer is Kiel Johnson, owner of the Go By Bike shop and operator of the Go By Bike valet.

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Repeat after me: it is not your fault your bike got stolen. Even if you were a dummy and left your custom bike unlocked only to return several hours later and find it stolen, it is not your fault.

The solution to ending bike theft is easy. It starts with this fact: we are already dealing as individuals with the costs of theft.

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Guest perspective on the PBOT street fee: Kiel Johnson

Wednesday, May 28th, 2014
Bike Train Meet-up-9-19
Kiel Johnson, photographed in September 2011.
(Photos J. Maus/BikePortland)

Publisher’s note: This guest opinion is part of our ongoing coverage of City of Portland’s efforts to pass a transportation utility fee, and we think it’s a good counterpoint to the guest post earlier today.

Sometimes you have to make do with the world you have, not the one you wish you had.

In October of 2008, I was crying alone in a Chicago hostel. One of my good friends had just had her face smashed in by a car and was in critical condition at a Portland hospital. She required major surgery and still has a giant scar across her face to prove it.

In the months before her crash, I remember making the case to her that no one in the Netherlands wears helmets and if we want more people riding bikes we shouldn’t either. Thankfully she hadn’t listened to me.
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Portlander designs low-cost bikeshare station for apartment buildings

Wednesday, August 28th, 2013
Kiel Johnson with his custom-built creation.
(Photo courtesy Kiel Johnson)

The price of bikesharing adds up fast when 10 bikes and a solar-powered parking dock cost $45,554. It’ll take an estimated $3.4 million for Portland’s forthcoming public system to get enough hardware to cover the central city with 75 docks.

But what if Portland had a private bikesharing system, too?

That’s the thought that was keeping Southwest Portland resident (and noted local biking advocate) Kiel Johnson up at night. So he spent the last six months inventing one.

“Basically, I came up with this idea and couldn’t sleep for a week because I kept on thinking about it,” Johnson said. “So I was like, okay, I have to build this, or I’ll never be able to sleep.” (more…)

Business booms for bike valet in South Waterfront

Tuesday, May 14th, 2013
Photo taken last week at the Go By Bike shop under the Aerial Tram. “Only” 175 bikes parked that day.
(Photo: Kiel Johnson)

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‘Bike Train Lessons’ is subject of free talk Thursday

Wednesday, November 16th, 2011
Kiel “Bike Train” Johnson.
(Photo © J. Maus)

The City of Portland’s excellent monthly “Bicycle Brown Bag” discussion series continues tomorrow with a presentation titled ‘Bike Train Lessons’.

Kiel Johnson, who has spearheaded a flourishing local bike train movement will give the talk. Johnson will talk about, “his successes and struggles in building a bike train movement and how his experiences can be applied to other efforts to promote active transportation.”

Kiel is the consummate citizen activist who took a passion for making a difference and turned it into a sustainable program that has gotten widespread notoriety not just for himself, but for bike trains in general. And the amazing thing is that he did it almost completely DIY-style, with very little funding or resources.
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Volunteers gather to grow local bike train movement

Tuesday, September 27th, 2011
Bike Train Meet-up-10-20
Volunteers gather at the
Bike Train Meet Up last night.
(Photos © J. Maus)

Portland’s grassroots movement to get kids and families to hop aboard school “bike trains” continues to grow. Last night 15 schools were represented at the second annual Bike Train Meet Up. That’s quite a jump from the four schools that were a part of a similar gathering last year.

The growth in bike trains is music to the ears of Kiel Johnson, the 24-year-old who has spearheaded the movement in Portland. Last night Johnson told the crowd of over 30 moms, dads, kids, teachers and other interested folks, that he was inspired to get more kids riding to school after seeing a video of a typical ride to a school in the Netherlands.
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Bike trains take off: Six schools on board, national TV, and more!

Tuesday, September 14th, 2010
Kiel Johnson, Mr. Bike Train
Kiel Johnson.
(Photos © J. Maus)

Few things excite me more than being able to introduce a new activism effort and then see it take off. A few weeks ago, we shared the news that 24 year-old Portlander Kiel Johnson (pronounced “Kyle”) was coordinating a conference on bike trains. (Bike trains are simply group rides where parents and kids meet up and ride into school together.)

Kiel, fresh off an internship with the City of Portland’s Safe Routes to Schools program, is passionate about how bike trains can encourage more people to bike to school. I’m happy to report several exciting updates on his efforts… (more…)

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