Support BikePortland

Ciclovias and lowriders: An interview with Rex Burkholder

Posted by on May 4th, 2007 at 1:32 pm

Metro Councilor Rex Burkholder samples the local style
during a “ciclovia” event in Guadalajara, Mexico last week.
Photo: Rex Burkholder

[Scroll to end of story to hear the interview.]

Metro Councilor and BTA co-founder Rex Burkholder recently returned from a trip to Guadalajara Mexico. The Ciudad Humana or “Human City” Foundation, (an organization based in Bogota, Colombia that promotes healthy streets) asked him to share his insights into building a sustainable and equitable transportation system.

During his trip he participated in a “ciclovia” which are defined by Wikipedia as,

“…a permanent designated bicycle route or a temporary event closing of the street to automobiles to allow dominance by other users.”

Here are a few photos from his trip:

A newspaper in Guadalajara loaned out
500 bikes for the event.
Photo: Rex Burkholder

Rex said the ciclovia was purposefully routed through poor
neighborhoods where locals showed off their street culture.
Photo: Rex Burkholder

Hoping to cure congestion and armed with a groundswell of support from citizens demanding more affordable and cleaner transportation options, South American leaders in cities like Quito, Ecuador and Bogota are under increasing pressure to establish more ciclovias.

The media has also taken notice of this shift away from motor vehicles. Two stories last week — an editorial in Boston Magazine that urges readers to “take back the streets” and the other in The Christian Science Monitor that said car-free zones are “on the rise” in America — illustrate this trend.

In Portland, there is talk of experimenting with a car-free Alberta Street during the Art Hop this year, and next summer, an international conference on car-free cities will be held at Portland State University.

In a phone call this morning, I asked Burkholder about his experiences in Guadalajara and the potential for a ciclovia-type event in Portland. He told me about his inspiring experience of sharing the street with 100,000 other people, his ride on a tricked-out lowrider bike, and how he thinks it’d be “cool” to try and make a ciclovia happen on Martin Luther King or Interstate Blvd. in Portland.

Listen to the interview below or download the MP3. (4:48, 4.4MB)
[audio:burkholderMexico2.mp3]

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

9
Leave a Reply

avatar
9 Comment threads
0 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
6 Comment authors
coyoteJacqueAlanPortland Carfree Day » Rex Burkholder on ciclovias and lowriders, 2007rex burkholder Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
Darren
Guest
Darren

The BURKINATOR! He’ll be BACK!

Disco D
Guest
Disco D

I know this is bikePORTLAND but Hillsboro definitely rolls those lowrider bikes harder than any other neighborhood 🙂

SKiDmark
Guest
SKiDmark

There is a Lowrider bike shop called Suave out here.

rex burkholder
Guest
rex burkholder

Ciclovias would be great everywhere. How about down TV highway between Forest Grove and Hillsboro on Sunday Morning?

Or on Burnside from Gresham to Downtown Portland?

Or on Portland Street in Gladstone?

Just like the Bridge Pedal, it was a thrill to see all the smiling faces.

thanks for sharing this, Jonathan.

trackback

[…] Ciclovias and lowriders: An interview with Rex Burkholder is now live at BikePortland.org bikeportland.org/2007/05/04/ciclovias…burkholder/ Thanks, Jonathan! […]

Alan
Guest
Alan

Rex has been allergic to a bike helmet as long as I can remember (at least 12 years now). Why?

Jacque
Guest
Jacque

In response to # 6, Maybe he is a saint and is more concerned with increasing the number of riders, thereby increasing safety for all of us, than he is in protecting himself in a fall off his bike and an injury he feels is no more likely to happen while biking than, say, walking, swimming, playing soccer, or just plain living.
But I would be curious to hear what he has to say…

Jacque
Guest
Jacque

I’m also curious* if Rex, and other infamous bare headed riders, do in fact wear a helmet, and perhaps other protective gear when cycling in higher risk situations. For instance- cyclocross, zoo bombing, touring on narrow rural roads, tall bike jousting, mountain biking, any event sponsored by mini bike winter, riding the wrong way in a bike lane on an insanely busy arterial, or…
*I don’t think Rex is obligated to answer questions about personal choices here, but might as well ask.

coyote
Guest
coyote

Rex probably thinks that wearing a helmet is a personal choice, and for just tooling around, bicycle helmets are a bit much. This would make him pretty much in tune with the other billion or so cyclists across the planet that don’t wear helmets.