The Year in Pictures 2012

First snow of the season 2012-5-5

2012 started off with a bit of snow in and around Portland. This shot was taken on January 18th in the parking lot of New Seasons Market on N Interstate and Rosa Parks Way.
(Photos © J. Maus/BikePortland)

With just a few days left in 2012, I thought it’d be fun to look back at the people, places, and projects that defined the year. As regular readers know, photography has always played a large role in our coverage, so I’ve delved into the BikePortland archives to bring you this look back at 2012…

One of many exciting themes that emerged in 2012 was the success of several of our local, bike-based businesses. Back in January, Jed Lazar of SoupCycle celebrated his 50,000th delivery. Lazar started his soup delivery business in 2008 and has expanded his delivery area and his workforce to keep up with demand.

Jed Lazar of SoupCycle-8

Sky Boyer, the owner of Velo Cult Bike Shop, can only hope for as much success as Mr. Lazar. In January, Boyer moved his successful shop (and several employees) from San Diego to NE 42nd Ave in the Hollywood neighborhood. As promised, Boyer has created a shop that is as much about people as it is about products. In less than a year, Velo Cult has become a favorite community gathering place.

Velo Cult bike shop in progress-4

A few of the Velo Cult crew hard at work on renovations: (L to R) George Schenk, Tom Gerlits, Sky Boyer (owner).
Hop in the Saddle book launch party-6

It was a busy year for activist, songwriter, journalist, filmmaker, and general renaissance man Dan Kaufman. On January 25th, his “Disco Trike” was confiscated and he was arrested during the J25 Occupy Portland protests. Kaufman, who is active with PDX Bike Swarm and broadcasts music from his trike, challenged his citation in court and was ultimately found not guilty.

Disco Trike set free-5

Candidates for Portland mayor were on trial nearly all year in a heated election contest. In early February, all three of the major candidates — Eileen Brady, (eventual winner) Charlie Hales, and Jefferson Smith — took part in a debate that focused on active transportation.

Active Transportation Debate at PSU-3

A few weeks after that debate, a different kind of contest grabbed our attention: the annual Ben Hurt Chariot Wars. Organized by Zoobomb (who incidentally celebrated their 10th anniversary in 2012) as part of their Mini Bike Winter events, the Chariot Wars are always an epic battle and this year did not disappoint.

Mini Bike Winter 2012 - Chariot Wars-32

Mini Bike Winter 2012 - Chariot Wars-45

While freak bikes ruled the Chariot Wars, custom, handmade bikes ruled the day at the Show Me Yours event held at the Ace Hotel Cleaners on February 25th. The event was organized as a preview of Portland-made bikes that were headed to Austin, Texas for the North American Handmade Bicycle Show (NAHBS).

Show Me Yours handmade bike show-47

Show Me Yours handmade bike show-55

The PDX Bike Swarm was active throughout 2012. On February 29th they led a ‘Tour de Petro’ ride to area gas stations in order to bring attention to the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).

PDX Bike Swarm - ALEC F29 protests-16

Another local bike business that enjoyed a banner year was North St. Bags. In March, owner Curtis Williams moved into a new storefront and production shop in southeast Portland.

In the shop with North St. Bags-6

Also in March, we were in Sacramento, California for NAHBS. As usual, Portland builders did us very proud in taking home several awards. One of the big winners was the Ned Ludd Market Bike, a collaboration between framebuilder Ira Ryan, rack maker Ben Leonard, and restaurant owner Jason French (the trio is shown below celebrating after the award was announced).

Team Ned Ludd Market Bike

crowds at nahbs-2

At the sixth annual Transportation Safety Summit, citizen activists and advocates joined with Bureau of Transportation staff to recap and refocus safety efforts. In the crowd was Kristi Finney, a mother who lost her son Dustin when he was killed while biking on SE Division in 2011. Finney also spoke at the event and has since devoted herself to traffic safety activism.

Kristi Finney at summit

One of the most exciting bike businesses that launched in 2012 was Kinn Bikes. Sellwood resident Alistair Williamson developed a “midtail” city bike and had it manufactured right here in Portland by Zen Bicycle Fabrication.

Alistair's Midtail Flyer-9

The National Bike Summit once again provided an excuse for us to visit Washington D.C., lobby our elected leaders, and learn from other bike advocates. Among the many highlights of our trip were: seeing the finish of Tim Johnson’s Ride on Washington; trying out Capital Bikeshare; riding the protected bike lanes on Pennsylvania Ave; meeting with Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley; and catching an impromptu conversation between congressman Earl Blumenauer and US Department of Transportation Secretary Ray Lahood.

Tim Johnson Ride on Washington-6

Bike share ride with Oregon team-3

Bike share ride with Oregon team-25

A visit with Senator Jeff Merkley-5

Blumenauer and LaHood meeting-4

Back home in Portland, the annual Filmed by Bike event got a bit of extra flair this year when mountain biking and bike industry icon Gary Fisher led a ride to the opening night street party.

Filmed by Bike 2012-2

2012 marked what we hope is a real sea change at the Oregon Department of Transportation. In May I sat down with ODOT Director Matt Garrett and tried to learn first-hand what he plans to do to make the agency more sensitive to bike access issues.

ODOT Director Matt Garrett-1

One place that is already sensitive to bike access is the South Waterfront. The addition of the new Gibbs Street bridge over I-5 and the massive amount of bike parking at the Go By Bike bike shop under the Aerial Tram have turned this little corner of our city into the closest thing to Amsterdam anywhere in the region.

Go By Bike shop in South Waterfront-18

Gibbs Street Bridge-12

Bicycle tourism continued to come on strong in 2012. Late last April I joined a group ride through Oregon’s vaunted wine country and got a close-up view of how bikes are the new tour buses.

Winery ride-20

In 2012, ODOT installed sharrows on two of their historic bridges: the St. Johns Bridge and the Oregon City/West Linn Arch Bridge.

sharrows on St Johns Bridge-9

St. Johns Bridge.

Oregon City/West Linn Arch Bridge

As we predicted, 2012 turned out to be a big year for women on bikes. One of the many symbols of this movement was the inaugural Cyclofemme ride that took place in northeast Portland during Sunday Parkways on May 13th.

Cyclofemme ride-23

The optimism of Sunday Parkways was shattered when just three days later, on May 16th, Kathryn Rickson died after a collision with a large delivery truck while riding down SE Madison (at 3rd). Rickson’s death spurred an outpouring of community activism and brought up major bike safety questions. The DA ultimately found that the man driving the truck in the collision was not criminally negligent. (See all our Kathryn Rickson coverage here.)

Community gathering for Kathryn Rickson-17

Community gathering for Kathryn Rickson-22

Community gathering for Kathryn Rickson-35

*Rickson was one of two people who were killed while bicycling in 2012. The other was James Querirolo, who died after being struck in the intersection of SE 148th and Mill on September 30th.

In the cities envisioned by former mayor of Bogota, Colombia, Enrique Penalosa, right hooks would not be so common. Penalosa stopped in Portland for a lecture about urban planning that pleased and shocked a packed room of wonks at the Armory Theater downtown. He called for, among other things, the demolition of great swaths of Portland’s inner neighborhoods to be replaced by more dense residential areas separated by vast greenways and bikeways.

Enrique Penalosa in Portland-2

Mayor Sam Adams (L) and Penalosa backstage.

In June, it was time to hit the streets in the name of bike fun. Pedalpalooza kicked off with a raucous ride from the South Park Blocks to a big party at Velo Cult Bike Shop.

Pedalpalooza Kickoff Ride-11

And then there was the annual Naked Bike Ride, which once again took over the streets of Portland with skin and smiles for all to see.

2012 World Naked Bike Ride - Portland-14

When disaster strikes Portland it won’t be anything to smile about. But as we learned at the first-ever Disaster Relief Trials held on June 17th, things might go a bit easier thanks to the burgeoning recognition of bicycles as excellent emergency response tools. (Check out our new “bikes and disasters” story tag for more coverage of this topic.)

Disaster Relief Trials -72

And then on June 28th, we published our most widely read post ever. It was the story of Emily Finch, a carfree mom of six who has redefined family biking and whose story is now known around the world.

The Finch Family

The local racing scene was as hot as ever this year. The Monday night short track mountain bike series had record turnouts, as did the Wednesday night cyclocross races out at Alpenrose Dairy.

Short Track Racing at PIR-18

Blind Date at the Dairy race-50

On June 26th, there was a meeting of activists, planners, and various agency staff to discuss immediate safety fixes for the notorious Broadway/Wheeler intersection. Less than two months later, Mayor Adams decided to close Wheeler to right turns. The move upset local business owner Bob Huckaby and inspired him to push for a state law requiring licenses for people who ride bicycles (look for it as a ballot measure in 2014).

Broadway and Flint meeting-1

No more right hooks on Wheeler Ave-7

Wheeler Ave traffic and meeting-12

Bob Huckaby.

In July, the City of Portland officially opened its first pump track at Ventura Park.

Ventura Park Pump Track grand opening-19

Another big unveiling was the new bicycle counter on the Hawthorne Bridge. The counter went into operation on August 8th and it took just three months to tally a half-million bike trips.

Bike counter unveiling-1

If you like riding off-road and are sick of having to drive an hour just to reach some decent singletrack, you must be as excited as I am about the potential of the City’s new acquired Riverview property.

Riding and working at Riverview property-1

Speaking of potential… What if you went into a low-income community that’s in a bike shop desert, built a place where people could come and fix their bikes, lead rides, and so on? That’s exactly what the Community Cycling Center did with their ‘Bike Hub’ in New Columbia that opened in September.

Bike Hub opening at New Columbia-9

Another big opening this year was the new eastside streetcar line. Check out the view below from the operator’s seat as one of the new cars travels over the Broadway Bridge.

Riding the new streetcar line-1

Local bike courier company Magpie Messenger Collective celebrated their 10th year in business in 2012. Three of the owners — Dee Branham, Robert Burchett and Joel Metz — stopped by my office back in October to share stories and perspective gleaned from their many years on the streets.

Dee Robert and Joel from Magpie Messenger Collective

PBOT made some very visible changes to the bike lanes on SW Stark and Oak streets downtown. In October they applied a solid coat of green paint to the entire lanes. So far, it appears to be working well.

New green paint on SW Oak-2

The Bicycle Transportation Alliance (BTA) launched a new effort to update their Blueprint for Bicycling report. They organized many input sessions where people came together to tell the organization what projects should be included on the list.

bta blueprint event

While we continue to work on plans and talk about priorities here in Portland, places like New York and Chicago are moving quickly ahead in building networks of protected bike lanes. At the end of October, I traveled to New York to see it for myself and I was thoroughly impressed.

Clinton St at Delancey-2

Prospect Park-29

Columbia Protected bike lane-6

Here in Portland, the most exciting project of 2012 might be the redesign of NE Multnomah Street through the Lloyd District.

First look at NE Multnomah project-17

Portland walking advocates have a fresh new name to rally around. On November 10th, the inimitable Steph Routh held a party to announce that her organization, the Willamette Pedestrian Coalition, would now be known as Oregon Walks.

Steph at Oregon Walks benefit-2-2

Portland’s bike book boom blossomed in 2012 and its instigators were mostly women. At a book release party on November 15th, several of the year’s biggest themes came together on one night at the big party for Hop in Saddle, a newly released book by Ellee Thalheimer, Lucy Burningham, and Laura Cary (below), took place at Velo Cult Bike Shop.

Hop in the Saddle book launch party-3

L to R: Lucy Burningham, Laura Cary, and Ellee Thalheimer.

And another advocate that announced a major change was Jay Graves. On November 30th, Graves announced he was moving on from the Bike Gallery, a six-store chain he had worked at and owned for 39 years.

Jay Graves

— I hope you enjoyed this trip down memory lane as much as I did! This is just a sampling of the news and newsmakers that made 2012 another big year for bikes in Portland. I’m looking forward to getting back to town (still in California with family for the holidays) to start making 2013 our biggest yet.

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)

Founder of BikePortland (in 2005). Father of three. North Portlander. Basketball lover. Car owner and driver. If you have questions or feedback about this site or my work, feel free to contact me at @jonathan_maus on Twitter, via email at, or phone/text at 503-706-8804. Also, if you read and appreciate this site, please become a supporter.

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Andrew K
Andrew K
11 years ago

Thank you for this. Here is to 2012 and let’s hope 2013 is even better!

11 years ago

good times, good times…

11 years ago

This was nice to look back and see the changes.

Mark Allyn
11 years ago

Great pictures; keep up the good work!!


11 years ago

Those are the shadiest looking bike messengers ever. I would be frightened to let them in my office. That one even has long hair and a skeleton on his shirt. *shiver*

matt picio
11 years ago
Reply to  Scott

The times I’ve met them, they are some awesome folks. Robert has been on a couple of Cycle Wild trips and has been an advocate and frequent commenter on the Shift list. I’d have no qualms about recommending any of the Magpie folks. Not sure how you can ascribe “shady” from a single picture – hopefully the comment is tongue-in-cheek.

11 years ago
Reply to  matt picio

Hooray Portland!! I knew someone would defend these upright citizens from my dastardly comments.

11 years ago
Reply to  matt picio

I say again sir!! The ne’er do well on the right has earrings sir! I believe I even see long hair. I suspect liberal viewpoints.

(Yes they are great people and I count them among friends)

Andyc of Linnton
Andyc of Linnton
11 years ago

Nice recap.
I’m looking forward to thinking even more before I add a comment to this site in the new year. I try and be mindful, but sometimes the internet monster will get the best of me, and I think later, “I posted what?!” Passions do flare at times, and sometimes that is detrimental, sometimes it sparks a healthy debate.
Looking forward to the coverage in the coming year, and thanks a lot for all the stories. They inspire, infuriate, brighten and sadden; and for the most part, do what good journalism is supposed to do.

Craig Harlow
Craig Harlow
11 years ago

Give’em hell, Max!

Nola Wilken
Nola Wilken
11 years ago

In the first batch of 10 or so photos I counted 38 men and 6 women. Clueless is a word…

Mike Cobb
Mike Cobb
11 years ago
Reply to  Nola Wilken

Clue us in to a couple of the news-making women who impacted the Portland bike scene but did not make the list.

Adams Carroll (News Intern)
Reply to  Nola Wilken


I hope you’re not saying that I, or this blog are “clueless” when it comes to acknowledging the role women play in the local and national bike scene. I have covered that topic more than anyone.

That being said, your comment helped me realize that I forgot to mention the (largely) women-led bike book boom that we saw in 2012. I just updated this post with a mention of the Hop in the Saddle book party.

thanks for the comment.

11 years ago

Thanks for the recap.
Cannot forget about the pole that was installed on the path and then moved on the Broadway bridge.

11 years ago

Love your blog! Thanks!

11 years ago

Thanks for the look back. Happy New Year!

11 years ago

always an inspiration and motivation to weld the two wheeled wonder. thank you bike portland.

Steve B.
Steve B.
11 years ago

JM, as always, thanks for being there to give our local movement a lot of voice. Incredible what happens in a year in Portland, especially when it’s documented so well. Here’s to an eventful 2013!

11 years ago

Jonathan, thanks for the recap, I don’t remember driving to Texas…
Ciao and happy new year!

11 years ago

Thanks for the recap, Jonathan, and for including the photo of Gary Fisher on the Filmed by Bike ride. What an honor it was to have him at our event (and super fun, too!).

11 years ago

“Also in March, we were in Austin, Texas for NAHBS.”

Correct me if I’m wrong, but I swore NAHBS in 2012 was in Sacramento.