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Catching the Beach Elementary School ‘bike train’

Posted by on May 24th, 2010 at 10:17 am

A good sign.
(Photos © J. Maus)

This morning on my way to the office, a sign at the corner of North Michigan and Alberta caught my eye; it read “Beach Bike Train meet up spot – 8:30 – Join Us.” It was about 8:25, so I decided to wait around and see if anyone showed up.

A few minutes later I saw a line of kids and parents pedaling toward the spot. One of them was Laurie Paulsen, a Beach parent who I’d met last summer at a nearby farmer’s market.

As kids (and kid-like parents) zoomed in circles around a parking lot waiting for others to show up, I chatted with her for a minute.

Beach Elementary bike train-2

All aboard!
Beach Elementary bike train-1

Beach parent and bike train
organizer Laurie Paulsen.

Paulsen said they’ve been doing the bike trains for about a month and word-of-mouth has helped them grow in popularity. This morning they had about 6-7 kids and Paulsen reports they’ve had as many as 30 people total in the past. The idea is simple, meeting and riding together gives support to new riders and it’s more fun for the kids.

Paulsen has worked hard to promote biking to the school and is excited for this Friday, when she hopes to have 50 people meet in various parts of the neighborhood and then bike to school together.

According to other parents I know who have kids at this school, it has undergone quite a transformation in terms of bike-friendliness in recent years. Stay tuned for an article about how they’ve done it by contributor (and Beach parent) Chris Sullivan.

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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

  • Nick V May 24, 2010 at 10:57 am

    I like it! Instead of a carpool, it’s a bikepool. These could really catch on.

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  • Tori Bortman May 24, 2010 at 10:58 am

    Got to meet and work with Laurie last night. She’s an amazing powerhouse and is changing the environment at that school by leaps and bounds. She, Bryn Dearborn and more of the PTA are doing amazing things there. I wish she’d write a program of how to do it so other parents could help their schools, too! Simply amazing. Wonderful job!

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  • Bryn D May 24, 2010 at 11:02 am

    Beach school rocks! It so awesome to go school these days and see all 7 staple racks full of bikes when two years we did not have a single rack.

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  • Camp Bike Fun May 24, 2010 at 11:06 am

    Nice nod to the Beach School.
    I’m riding with them later today too.

    Hopefully my local school will catch on. I’d love to volunteer there too.


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  • Freda W May 24, 2010 at 11:10 am

    Way to go Beach Bobcats! Although we’re close to the school my son rides several times a week. It’s great to keep him active, especially over the Going Street Overpass.

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  • Tonya May 24, 2010 at 11:23 am

    CBF – which is your local school? Our school (Ockley Green) has been doing Stop and Walk for the past few months, thanks to parent volunteer extraordinaire Tracey Arney, and some support from Safe Routes to School.

    We’re especially challenged because our school is a focus option, which means kids come from all over. Even so, having the kids meet a few blocks from school and walk the rest of the way in really starts the day off right.

    If your school doesn’t have anything, start it!

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  • Jim F May 24, 2010 at 12:59 pm

    Love the bike train. Also, the “Everyday Cycling” class they had yesterday for parents sounded like a cool idea. My kids join the bike train every chance they get.

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  • Laurie May 24, 2010 at 1:12 pm

    Thanks for stopping this morning, Jonathan. Kiel Johnson, a community bike advocate, has done a fantastic job starting the Beach Bike trains and encouraging kids to ride their bikes safely to school. All are welcome to join Beach families, principal Tom Breuckman, and the Bike Fairy on Friday. Meet at Killingsworth and Concord, at 8:30.

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  • benschon May 24, 2010 at 3:14 pm

    Life’s a Beach! Well done, students; well done, parents.

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  • Mike O'Leary-BTA May 24, 2010 at 3:36 pm

    Hat tips also to Kiel Johnson for volunteering to help organize the bike train, to Scott Lieuallen for volunteering to help with the after school bike club, to Owen Daly, Richard Grimm, Stephanie Leikas and again Kiel J. for volunteering to ride along with the Safe Routes to School classes!

    Sometimes it takes a village, sometimes just a handful of folks can make a huge difference!

    Thanks volunteers!

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  • Suzanne May 25, 2010 at 12:20 am

    Alright folks, come rain or shine I will join the bike train on Friday. Maybe we can get some friendly competition going with other elementary schools to see who can get the most students riding or who else can get their Principal to lead a bike train.

    I love that these efforts are getting bike press :-), Keep up the great work Jonathan.

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  • Robert Ping May 25, 2010 at 10:12 am

    Good idea, Suzanne, let’s see if we can use the Beach Bike Train to inspire Trillium parents to start our own bike train(s). Any Trillium parents reading this who are interested? Get in touch with me and let’s talk: walknbike at gmail dot com

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  • jimbo May 25, 2010 at 12:59 pm

    This is a great way to teach kids how to be safe and responsible on the road. They nead to learn to look for themselves where cars are coming from and what they need to do. they need to learn the right attitude to be safe, this includes following traffic rules. I have seen famillies riding away from Beach where the parent would ride through a stop sign and the kids follow without stopping or looking either way to check for traffic. This is the most congested part of the day around schools when all the parents are coming to pick up their kids. Please teach the kids to follow trafic laws or else have them ride on the sidewlks only.

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  • Yeoh May 25, 2010 at 1:21 pm

    I saw the Bike Train go by my house in NE Portland, yesterday afternoon. Glad to find out what it was! All the kids looked like they were having fun.

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  • Tracy May 25, 2010 at 4:04 pm

    Thanks for the mention of Ockley Green, Tonya! Friday mornings, we leave Peninsula Park (corner of Ainsworth and Albina) at 8:15. We currently have more walkers than riders, but we’re getting there!

    CBF, all it took was a meeting with the Safe Routes To School folks and we were on our way. Make it happen!

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  • Joe Metal Cowboy Kurmaskie May 25, 2010 at 4:44 pm

    Hey Robert – Both older boys will be at trillium next year – whatever bike train you get going to Trill they can join on your way by – Quinn walks to TR right now but he could ride the rest of the year with you guys – just ring your bike bell and we’ll join for the short distance on the route. Let’s see if we can build up a bigger train than Beach
    (healthy school pride and playful competition you neighborhood beacheads 😉

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