Remember back in May when I happened upon the Beach Elementary School bike train? Now, a former volunteer intern with the City of Portland’s Safe Routes to Schools program is organizing the first-ever Portland Bike Train Conference.
Recent college grad Kiel Johnson says he helped get the Beach School bike train going last year and it was “really successful” so he wants to bring the idea to other schools. The Beach bike train averaged about 10-20 riders per week. On one morning back in May, over 100 kids and parents rolled into school together, cementing Beach’s reputation as a school where biking is taken seriously.
“This is something I am very passionate about and I feel like I can make a difference by just providing some energy and motivation.”
— Kiel Johnson, Bike Train Conference organizer
Johnson, 24, says more Portland schools should follow Beach’s example. “I think it’s a cool idea and it’s something that Portland should have more of. It just needs some organization and energy to get it going.” Johnson notes that at Beach, once he introduced the bike train concept, the parents “just took it over and made it their own thing.”
At the upcoming conference, Johnson and fellow volunteers will share more about the Beach experience, help people find and plan safe routes and they’ll discuss how to best pool resources to make more bike trains happen.
As to why a 24 year-old college graduate with no kids of his own in school would volunteer time to help get more people bicycling, Johnson says, “This is something I am very passionate about and I feel like I can make a difference by just providing some energy and motivation.”
Learn more at BikeTrainPDX.org.
- First Annual Portland Bike Train Conference
August 30th, 7 – 8:00 pm
Sabin Elementary Auditorium (4013 NE 18th Ave)
– Please RSVP to kielij (at) gmail.com if you are able to attend and include whether you would want childcare