Community on edge after repeated, graphic threats of gun violence

Instagram stories posted by Shift and John Russell in the past 24 hours.

(Warning: At the bottom of this story I’ve posted text of violent threats and slurs, including threats of gun violence and death.)

Yesterday, before I went to Bike Happy Hour, I called the Portland Police Bureau non-emergency line. I wanted to let them know that someone who has made multiple threats of lethal violence against specific people in our community was going to be there.

That person, Royal Johnson, did show up. As did many people who say they’ve been victimized by his abusive behavior over the years.

These folks came to Happy Hour specifically as a show of support for each other after Portland resident John Russell posted a message to Instagram that stated, “Sadly, this is not a drill. Inexcusable violent threats have been made in person and online targeting me and many of our friends, particularly women of color, and even threatening mass casualty events at group bike rides.”

I have seen videos of these threats made by Johnson and they are extremely disturbing. I want to be very clear: Regardless of the context, the threats made by Johnson are beyond the pale and are unacceptable in every way.

The nature and tenor of the threats, that I viewed in the form of an 8-minute compilation of videos posted to the Thursday Night Ride group chat (text of some of the threats and a link to the video can be found at end of this story story), led me to take the extraordinary step of a proactive call to the police. I wanted them to be able to respond as quickly as possible if needed.

Thankfully, another call wasn’t necessary. Johnson showed up, and so did people accusing him of serious crimes. One of them, someone holding a sign that read, “Royal is a Transphobe” told me she was wearing a bullet-proof vest.

Johnson said a lot of words at the event, in what felt like attempts to call people out and goad them into a conflict, but no one engaged with the words and nothing much escalated beyond that.

What’s going on with Johnson and our community is not about me. But I think my relationship and experience with him is helpful for bringing us up to speed on where things are right now.

I’ve known Johnson for at least a year. In October 2022 I wrote a story about his work as leader of a grassroots group that tracks down and recovers stolen bikes. Then in March of this year I published a story about a theft recovery in the South Waterfront area that Johnson was involved in. It was a messy story with witnesses claiming things about Johnson that he told me simply never happened. After talking to Johnson and others, I wrote a follow-up story four days later that attempted to clarify things further.

One week later, I invited Johnson over to the BikePortland Shed to record an interview for our podcast where he was able to share his version of the story in his own words.

It was around that time when people began to confide in me their experiences with Johnson. I heard that on more than one occasion, he touched someone on a large group ride in a way they felt was inappropriate. And when called out on it, reacted with anger and claimed he was the victim of racism. Another person said that after he was told he was banned from one Portland-based cycling club, he rode down the block and broke several car windows in a fit of anger. I kept my ears open, and the stories continued to come in.

Meanwhile, I maintained a loose friendship with Johnson and gave him the benefit of the doubt. I’m aware that racism exists in our community and Johnson is one of the only Black men who participates regularly in rides and events. He is also very loud and demonstrative in both his general vibe and fashion sense — so suffice it to say he’s an easy target of attention in a comparatively staid and very white Portland bike scene.

As I heard more and more accusations against Johnson, I would also ask him directly about them and he would share explanations for everything. I felt comfortable enough with my judgment of him, and his side of the story, to remain his acquaintance. But as time went by, and I talked to more people, I decided to no longer associate with him.

Then in August, I heard from several people they uncomfortable with him being at Happy Hour, so I took the unprecedented step of asking him to not attend. He showed up anyways. That was a red flag for me because it illustrated that Johnson didn’t care about my request, even though — up until that time — we had been cool with each other. At that Happy Hour, we ended up getting into several very animated verbal exchanges that left us on the verge of a physical confrontation. After that event, someone texted us both to say how disappointed they were at our behavior toward each other. When Johnson responded to those texts in a way I felt was inappropriate, I cut all interaction with him and have not spoken to or messaged him since.

Also since August, the situation between Johnson and the people who’ve been threatened by him and/or have been subjects of his alleged dangerous and inappropriate behaviors, has escalated considerably. Johnson says he’s tired of being targeted because he’s Black and says the community is conspiring against him. His accusers fear for their lives.

Last week at the Thursday Night Ride, some people protested Johnson’s presence. One person, a Black woman who has called Johnson the n-word online several times, held a sign that said, “Royal is a transphobe.” I wasn’t there and have only seen a video posted to Instagram; but it’s clear Johnson and another person (who is white) got into a heated argument. One person shoved Johnson first, then Johnson returned the shove a few minutes later.

For his part, Johnson says he has been targeted and “dehumanized” and taunted by groups and individuals in the community. After the confrontation at TNR last week, Johnson told me in a message today that, “I simply just could not take it anymore.”


The release of Johnson’s threats this week, his presence at Happy Hour last night, and the heightened fears of people he has targeted, has led to a feeling of unease at the Thursday Night Ride (Note: This post originally stated tonight’s ride was cancelled, but that was not the case and the ride still happened). Shift has taken the ride off its community calendar and posted a message to Instagram today that states, “We are advising everyone not to attend… We hope these are just threats, but we are erring on the side of caution.”

There’s a lot of history between the many people involved in this complex and multi-layered situation. So far, it does not look like people on either side are able to agree on enough, to forgive one another, or respect each other enough, to make amends. If nothing changes, this situation will remain unresolved and will cause stress for many people for the foreseeable future.

I realize this is not a satisfying conclusion. I don’t have the answers and I don’t know all the facts of what has transpired thus far. I only hope this post adds some clarity to what’s been going on and helps our community talk and move forward in a healthier way.

My DMs are always open on social media and I’m happy to answer questions either in the comments below or via email at maus.jonathan@gmail.com.


— Link to video of Johnson’s recent threats. Warning: His words are extremely graphic. (Link)

— Below the banner ad below is the text from some of the threats Johnson made in aforementioned videos. Warning: They are very graphic and might be disturbing to some people:

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 maus.jonathan@gmail.com, or phone/text at 503-706-8804. Also, if you read and appreciate this site, please become a supporter.

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S
S
5 months ago

Thanks for bringing this to the wider bike community. I appreciate your measured account of your experiences, while giving weight to others’.

tnr4evr
tnr4evr
5 months ago

Threats of violence won’t stop a years-long community event.

See y’all at the fountain, we’re still riding bikes.

<3

Panda
Panda
5 months ago
Reply to  tnr4evr

What the actual fuck. This is why I haven’t rejoined the bike scene again. You claim that it’s a safe space but it’s anything but. You’re doing it all wrong. Prioritize people’s safety first and foremost. Bikes are awesome, I know, but this is not okay!

Nick
Nick
5 months ago
Reply to  Panda

There’s inherently danger in most things, and I think if someone wants to still do this ride _and_ they are aware of the danger they should be allowed to do so.

Nowhere in tnr4evr’s comment above (or elsewhere in this thread) do they say that it’s safe.

Personally this might put me off of riding at the event if I was planning on going, but I would also consider making sure my gopro is charged and recording during an event if there were threats of violence.

Vans
Vans
5 months ago

Sad and sucks, so many things wrong with all of this.

Anonymous
Anonymous
5 months ago

This is excellent community leadership. Thank you for informing us, and providing us a detailed recount of multiple events, showing a history of behavior. Using your platform in this way is exactly what is needed in such a time where usual avenues of support and reporting no longer work. I recognize you took an extreme risk posting this. Thank you for your leadership, professionalism and courage.

Jay Cee
Jay Cee
5 months ago

I hate everything about this situation. I hate that none of parties involved could find a way to work this out. I hate the threats of violence.

I hate that one of the only black men on the regular group rides has been reduced in reputation to this old cliched “angry black man” trope. I hate that the usage by people to him using the N word with a very hard R’s and used physical violence against Royal were not stopped or called out.

I hate that people decided it was their savior role to continue to ostracize and cancel Royal in a mob form instead of trying to work toward a solution.

I hate that the very people that call so loudly for inclusion of BIOPOC people failed so miserably when actually face-to-face with a strong young black man in their community.

This doesn’t excuse threats of violence. It doesn’t excuse inappropriate behavior. At all. I don’t want to see anyone get hurt. These are all my friends.

But I hate that everyone allowed it to go this far. And we should all reflect how we got here. It’s sad. Very sad.

Ttt
Ttt
5 months ago
Reply to  Jay Cee

Seems like the only person dropping the N-word is the other black person mentioned in the article. Royal is trying to cover his abusive behavior by calling people racist to portray himself as a victim.

cc_rider
cc_rider
5 months ago
Reply to  Jay Cee

Stable, “strong”, people don’t threaten to murder people on their list regardless of race or how they are treated.

Next level victim blaming on your part. I’m guessing that its the mental gymnastics that allowed him to continue his inappropriate behavior without recourse for so long.

Cory P
Cory P
5 months ago
Reply to  Jay Cee

While I haven’t been present at every altercation, I ride TNR often. With the exception of one white person ( who is currently banned from TNR ) and one black person, ( also currently banned from TNR) I’ve never heard any person using racially disparaging language against royal.
Some of the people whom Royal accuses of being racist are the strongest defenders of minority groups in the bike community. They are the ones who will always step up to help those who are generally targeted in our society. The concerns that I hear from community members are related to his conduct and complete inability to hold himself accountable for his own actions.
This is the problem, we need to find a constructive way to address it without tearing the community apart.

Wilson
Wilson
5 months ago
Reply to  Cory P

All white men trying to justify their racism

Chris I
Chris I
5 months ago
Reply to  Cory P

He is clearly weaponizing the Portland activist’s tendency to do anything they can to avoid being labeled as a racist. It sounds like this behavior was downplayed for a long time, which allowed it to get really ugly.

S
S
5 months ago
Reply to  Jay Cee

Royal would not attend mediation nor would he be participatory in the way that would be required. Anyone that has attempted to discuss issues with him in a respectable way gets labeled as a racist and against him.

This process should be in place for all Shift rides, however.

Ttt
Ttt
5 months ago

Royal wants to keep claiming everyone else is racist, like he’s the first bipoc bike rider in Portland. He’s a narcissist who skirts any responsibility for his actions.

Panda
Panda
5 months ago
Reply to  Ttt

Garai was a black male veteran and he used to do all the awesome bike fun stuff with us. Going on group rides, Zoobomb, he was part of our community. We loved him! This isn’t about racism. It’s about shitty, abusive behavior.

cc_rider
cc_rider
5 months ago

So far, it does not look like people on either side are able to agree on enough, to forgive one another, or respect each other enough, to make amends. If nothing changes, this situation will remain unresolved and will cause stress for many people for the foreseeable future.

Call me old fashioned, but I think it’s pretty reasonable not to make amends with a racist who threatened to murder people on his list.

I subscribed to his bike recovery instagram and ended up unsubscribing pretty frequently. It felt like I had somehow followed a 15-year old with behavior problems. Always making weird comments and posts about constant drama. He appeared toxic to me from a far distance away.

People should be filing for restraining orders and otherwise ignoring him.

Panda
Panda
5 months ago

Hi Jonathan! You’re an absolute gem! I remember him showing up at a Sprockettes practice over 10 yrs ago at Irving park and he just watched us and made really weird and offensive comments. He got outsted(sp?) from PDX (this is back in 2012 or 2013) for his abusive behavior but I guess he’s back now.. I’m sorry you and others have had to deal with this.

Granpa
Granpa
5 months ago

Sometimes the generous and welcoming bike community is joined by persons with a different agenda Hart Noecker to the white courtesy phone

Citey
Citey
5 months ago

Check out Royal, the cycling advocate, filming selfie rants while driving a huge cargo truck on the street wtf

Varukers40oz
Varukers40oz
5 months ago
Reply to  Citey

*this*

CC
CC
5 months ago

Thanks for posting the explanation of what was going on last night. I hadn’t been on social media during the day and so showed up to BHH last night with zero clue that any of this was happening, and didn’t manage to get much context for it afterwards either. I hope that yesterday was just a blip and that BHH continues to be the welcoming and joyful event it has been so far.

Pamela
Pamela
5 months ago

TNR has their own internal issues. Why Shift2Bikes keeps that ride on their calendar (and promoted rides) is beyond me. It’s a huge liability with a record of sexual assaults, physical violence, harassment, and a general crusty frat personality. In many ways, they helped create this monster and gave him a pass for so long. But I doubt they’ll do any introspection about how their group makes vulnerable and marginalized folks feel.

Shift2Bikes and their parent org, Umbrella, needs to take their “code of conduct” violations seriously or they’re going to be defunct due to a serious issue. Complaints about this guy over the years has resulted in little more than a shrug. There’s no willingness to warn new ride leaders or riders about this guy – they didn’t want to rock the boat.

The social bike community is heavy on dudes. These men can do better by 1) believing us when we say we’ve had problems; 2) committing to addressing the problem WITHOUT VIOLENCE; and 3) working individually and as a group to talk about boundaries and consent as well as harassment and giving people that riders can go to if they’re feeling uncomfortable or have had an issue.

But I don’t think most of them will. I hear “he hasn’t done anything to me”, or “I don’t want any drama”. This furthers the belief that our complaints are about us and not to be taken seriously.

If you want a ride that is antagonistic to drivers, involves heavy drinking, and doesn’t hold people accountable for shitty things they do/say, go for it. But Shift2Bikes shouldn’t be allowing this ride on their calendar or website when it doesn’t follow the “Code of Conduct” they’ve created.

With group rides being more popular, this won’t be the last asshat. However, Shift2Bikes needs a process of what to do with these complaints they receive instead of just being stored in the cloud.

Snax
Snax
5 months ago
Reply to  Pamela

Hey Pamela! I’ve ridden with TNR for years. The ride has a lot of positive aspects. Of course, like any large group, it also has some bad folks. I’ve only ever seen TJ be very supportive of those that have voiced safety concerns to him. I’m not trying to minimize the concerns you voiced. I’ve seen the ridership of women increase in the years I’ve participated. I know that Shift2bikes has sometimes chosen to de-list TNR at times. But i also see that as a detriment to the community – because TNR is often a great social bike ride. I always try to steer clear of the drama and just try to have a nice ride, regardless if i find anyone to talk to or not.

Pamela
Pamela
5 months ago
Reply to  Snax

Thanks for offering your perspective. Nothing happens in a bubble and I know that a ride that large is bound to have issues. I love that there are more women attending.

I haven’t had issues myself but I am always hearing of others with problems but nothing really gets done. There are a few things TNR ride leaders could do to help create a safer environment, but I don’t think it’s seen as “cool”.

I’m open to dialogue about this as I have enjoyed (parts) of TNR and have some friends who regularly attend. I think it’s just grown to a point where there might need to be some awareness about others.

David Hampsten
5 months ago
Reply to  Pamela

Comment of the Week! (for Pamela’s comment)

We also have Thursday evening community rides here in Greensboro NC and a lot of the same issues and passive non-responses by organizers.

Physique Maartin
Physique Maartin
5 months ago
Reply to  Pamela

huge liability with a record of sexual assaults, physical violence, harassment, and a general crusty frat personality

antagonistic to drivers, involves heavy drinking, and doesn’t hold people accountable for shitty things they do/say

Oddly enough this is precisely my experience participating in WNBR. Just… icky. The reputation and reality are not at all in line and leadership won’t admit it.

Fred
Fred
5 months ago

Is there anyone in the cycling community with a counseling background? Sounds to me as though this guy needs to be in counseling.

Seems as though you took a “hate the sin, love the sinner” approach, but this guy has taken things to a point where he can’t be around people anymore.

BB
BB
5 months ago
Reply to  Fred

The “cycling community”, whatever that means, is responsible for community counseling for individuals with problems like this?
This entire thread is an eye opener… What person after reading this stuff would have any interest in joining this “community”.
It’s embarrassing.

Serenity
Serenity
5 months ago
Reply to  BB

Sometimes it seems to me like people forget that the *Cycling community* in Portland is a very large umbrella, with a lot of different groups, that have vastly different vibes. I had a sober friend comment to me a few months ago, that they had gotten away from the cycling community, because a lot of rides were mostly about drugs and alcohol… I didn’t know what to say, but I thought it was sad that they thought they had to get away from the whole community because of a few groups. sometimes I feel like there’s kind of an assumption that we all know each other. That is totally untrue. For example, in most group rides I’ve been on, I probably only know a few the people in that group.
I know the whole community is cliquey. You have different groups, and cliques within the groups. I used to do TNR pretty regularly a few years ago. I think I even made it to the end spot a few times. I remember hearing things… there were a lot of drugs and alcohol. I know I didn’t see all of it.

Chris I
Chris I
5 months ago
Reply to  Fred

Go ahead and explain to him that he needs to seek counseling and see how that goes.

Fred
Fred
5 months ago
Reply to  Chris I

I wouldn’t know how to approach the situation, but someone with a counseling background might.

Adrock
Adrock
5 months ago

Wow. I think I’ll ride my bike by myself. Not sure what any of this has to do with cycling.

Biking in Portland since the 70s
Biking in Portland since the 70s
5 months ago

First, I don’t know any of the people involved and just now read about this and also watched the videos this Royal posted. I do know, though, some of the longtime leaders and participants in the bike scene, most just from bike events or as friends of a couple friends of mine. Never have I ever heard anyone make racist comments, in fact I’ve witnessed people stand up for people of color and transgender people.
Second, I consciously decided to stop attending nearly all organized bike rides in this city a decade ago due to the behavior and attitudes of many other riders. I realized it is a very cliquey scene in many respects and I met many people who acted like they were still in high school, including judging people for how they dressed and what bikes they rode and sometimes making threats to drivers and even people in their homes right in front of me, some of those people openly talked about their time in jail and physical fights they got into over ridiculous things. Very immature.
Third, the threats Royal made in his videos constitute a misdemeanor crime if menacing, specifically when he named certain individuals. Have the police seen this videos? Are the individuals he named seeking to press charges?
Fourth: Someone making threats of mass violence needs to be arrested and charged. Multiple mass shooters made similar threats that were ignored and many people died.

a bike person
a bike person
5 months ago

It can both be true that someone has suffered vicious racism and that they are perpetuating harm on others, especially women and people who are also vulnerable. I think we white folks need to be really careful when we say what a Black person has or hasn’t experienced around race and racism, especially in a place that’s as white as Portland, and where we really hate thinking we might be racist. Like, why say he’s making up the racism? Things are super complex. People who have anti-racist values and try to live those values can still be racist. And yes, it’s bad when people avoid accountability and deflect charges of harassment with the label of racism. But that doesn’t mean that Black people are warmly welcomed in this town and state. I once went into a restaurant in Oregon with a Black companion and we weren’t served. That happened just a handful of years ago. This is a thing that happens in our state.

We can acknowledge racism in our community and also be clear that certain behavior is unacceptable and inappropriate. In fact, acknowledging racism might make it easier for us to talk about complexities like this, when we are so scared of being, or being called, racist that we ignore or excuse inappropriate behavior.

I think it’s important to be clear that some women were talking about this issue this summer, and some people responded with action. Some people did not. Some men needed to be threatened or see those threats directly in order to take action. I think the men who didn’t act until now, until they were a victim of a threat of behavior, need to stop and reflect on what it would look like to listen to women and other vulnerable people earlier and sooner, and to take action based on threats to others.

Middle of the Road Guy
Middle of the Road Guy
5 months ago
Reply to  a bike person

Maybe the guy is just toxic and his melanin level has nothing to do with it.

SeaTacgoride
SeaTacgoride
5 months ago

Jonathan,
How long did it take the non-emergency line to answer? What did they say? Do you think it’s dangerous to call the police on a Black man?

Daniel
Daniel
5 months ago

My hope is that you can also reiterate this is an isolated incident from someone who is clearly experiencing a distressful time in their lives. The cycling community should not use this to vilify those who struggle with mental health and ostracize those who have been brave to come out of their shadows with their mental illness. We must continue to exercise compassion for those who didn’t chose to have conditions impacting they way they experience reality and also impacts their behavior. There is help out there. Mostly honest communication, de-escalation, and transparency works for people who suffer from mental illness. Get informed and don’t abandon them they are part of our community.

JumpMan
JumpMan
5 months ago
Reply to  Daniel

This is far from an isolated incident to be clear.

Middle of the Road Guy
Middle of the Road Guy
5 months ago
Reply to  Daniel

Apparently he was that way in Austin, also…if you can believe someone who knew him from Austin and posted on the TNR FB site.

John
John
5 months ago

The current TNR is a hostile environment. Before this current issue, there were wide reports of sexual harassment, inappropriate behavior and no surprise, physical threats against others. I’ve witnessed 2 of 3 of these myself. Why people still attend this ride, is beyond me. I rode TNR only a handful of times. And each time I told myself, maybe it was a bad week to ride. And so I’d go back hoping to brush off that one off experience. Nope. The same issues can be seen at every ride. So I never went back. The aggro vibe, specifically white male aggression is heavy, before and during the rides. The excuse of this is only secluded to a “few” bad people, is laughable. It’s a clique of a large group that attend the ride regularly. All of TNR is a clique. Since it was taken over from Nate, TNR was never the same.

Ah yes the cliques, PDX coffee outside, Grilled by Bike, they all fall under the same bad vibe. I have never felt welcomed to any of those rides, even though I attempted and failed, to make friends who I’ve never met. The only time I can enjoy any of these Portland rides, is during Pedalpalooza. At least then, I can pick and choose to be around people who are not a part of those cliquey bike rides.

This is more of a rant, but this whole TNR debacle got to me and so I needed to post.

pierre delecto
pierre delecto
5 months ago
Reply to  John

Your post sums up my perception when it comes to these bad-vibe rides. I would also add that I’ve personally witnessed harassment and microaggressions at these rides and have been told by multiple femme people that they have been harassed (both sex pest and personal space) at TnR, Loud n Lit and other alcohol-heavy rides.

Vulnerable groups are often averse to aggro behavior because they are more at risk if this behavior triggers violence and/or a police response. Having vulnerable people join a seemingly non-aggro ride without knowing that aggro-behavior is part of the “scene” is anti-social.

Since it was taken over from Nate, TNR was never the same.

I strongly agree with this. Nathan wanted to address these issues but the tyranny of cliquey structurelessness (manarchism) prevailed.

Middle of the Road Guy
Middle of the Road Guy
5 months ago

Royal Johnson seems like Hart Noecker 2.0.

Using everybody’s acceptance and tolerance against them but then act like the victim afterwards.

Virtuous Hypocrite
Virtuous Hypocrite
5 months ago

A culture of alcoholism and drug abuse fostering self destructive behaviors in a group setting, you don’t say?

I bet you all think its mutually exclusive to TNR too.
How many “normal” well behaved ride groups go to the bar to meetup?

Hell, happy hour bike meet up is where this took place did it not?

Apparently most of our bike community can’t enjoy “biking” without drinking. Honestly you could substitute “biking” with “tech meetup”, “game club”, ect ect.

It’s all the same everywhere. Same problems as a result too.

The source of these issues are not as much an individual’s ego as much as its a culture of the mob as a whole.

But don’t take my word for it, I only eat my stakes at the strip club.

So raise a beer and toast to hypocritical virtues high upon our tall bikes.

Ttt
Ttt
5 months ago

He posted a long video on instagram talking about everything. People paying attention to this should give it a watch.

Danny Parks
Danny Parks
1 month ago

Announcement from BARF / TNR:

****Lifetime Ban of Royal / Ebon from TNR******

The Biking And Riding Friends (BARF) Thursday Night Ride (TNR) working group was created in Spring 2021 at the request / requirement of the Shift board as a requirement for calendar re-listing and in TNR’s acknowledgement of repeated safety concerns raised by the Portland bike community against a VERY small number of the thousands of yearly TNR bike riders. Keeping in mind that the overwhelming majority of TNR participants are friendly, kind folks. BARF is tasked with dealing with safety concerns during or immediately following TNR bike rides. BARF created a public email (barftnr@gmail.com) and immediately began responding to community concerns. BARF supports victims by creating an accountability / remediation process for offenders which include conversations, therapy, short term bans, and long term bans or police involvement (when necessary). BARF was co-founded by Matt L, Chris N, and TJ B.  

BARF acknowledges that no one person can or should be responsible for the actions of everyone on any bike ride. It is impossible for the ride leader to see what is happening in the back of the bike ride. It is impossible for the ride leader to hear every conversation and monitor the health and well being of every person on the bike ride. Hence we carry this responsibility collectively. 

Over the last several years BARF has seen a rotating list of volunteers and BARF reconvened a larger and more inclusive working group on Oct 26, 2023 during the cancelled TNR bike ride. BARF’s current working group consists of Matt L, Chris N, Danny P, Isis B, and Val P in their order of joining. BARF began investigating the actions that happened on Oct 19, 2023 and subsequent threats of gun violence against individuals and the entire TNR bike ride by Royal / Ebon. On Nov 1, 2023 Matt L had a 1 hour long telephone conversation with Royal / Ebon. Royal / Ebon stated he was not interested in going through the BARF process to return to TNR, but that he planned to voluntarily stay away, for now.   
 
Royal / Ebon had a one month ban from TNR issued by TJ B until Thanksgiving 2023. On Nov 16, 2023 Royal / Ebon arrived at the beginning location of the TNR against the one month ban. Royal / Ebon was confronted by the BARF team and told that he was not invited and that he was being privately asked to leave and not attend the ride and that if he didn’t leave willingly with the private request, that he would be publicly asked to leave. It was at this time that Royal / Ebon agreed to a proposed two ride solution.  

That evening immediately following this agreement and before the official TNR announcements, a “splinter” ride left, taking the majority of the attendees with them including Royal / Ebon. This “splinter” ride was a one off event and did not include the  official TNR ride leader or any BARF members. Upon a post ride follow up with the “splinter” ride leaders, BARF learned that they didn’t consider themselves the official TNR ride because TNR had been delisted by Shift 2 Bikes. They expressed regret for allowing Royal / Ebon to attend and did not support having Royal / Ebon on their “splinter” ride.  

Since then Royal / Ebon has started his own Thursday Night  Social Ride (TNSR) on Nov 30, 2023 which has a different start point, route, and end spot completely separate from TNR. So far the two ride solution is working as Royal / Ebon has not been attending TNR. BARF is alerting Shift of Royal / Ebon’s ride in case he tries to post it to the Shift calendar and in an effort to make sure that the   Portland Bike community does not get confused between his ride and the official TNR ride.  Ideally BARF would prefer that Royal / Ebon change the name of his ride to something less similar to TNR, but we feel as though this is a hopeless battle. 

BARF recognizes the collective trauma that the harmful actions of Royal / Ebon have had on the Portland bike community and its negative impact on TNR / BARF’s responsibility to provide a safe community space. The BARF process was started with the goal of remediating offender’s behavior and only using bans as a last resort, but sometimes the offender’s actions are just too far such as in this case of threatening to kill individuals and an entire bike ride. And BARF recognizes that TNR will never be considered a safe space if Royal / Ebon is allowed to continue attending TNR bike rides.    

It is with much deliberation that BARF issues a life-time ban from Thursday Night Bike Rides (TNR) to Royal / Ebon.  

BARF has created additional contingency plans in case Royal / Ebon does attend TNR bike rides in the future, and the two ride solution has been our most effective working tactic to date.  

BARF / TNR join the growing list of bike rides and the Portland Bike community who have permanently banned Royal / Ebon and we stand in solidarity with them.  

BARF intends to reach out to other bike rides, Jonathan Maus, and media for follow up on BARF’s process and the ban of Royal / Ebon. 

Thank you so much for your patience during this peaceful holiday season and for allowing the BARF process to proceed as we navigate these unprecedented and very scary times.     

The BARF team is happy to provide our first hand reports that TNR has been a very peaceful and joyous event over the last 3 months and it has been completely drama free. We hope that Shift can agree and has not received any conduct complaints. 

Thank you once again for your time and consideration as we progress towards a safer bike community.  

Till then, BARF team 

Please direct all inquiries to barftnr@gmail.com

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Additional BARF / TNR business:

Seeing as BARF and TNR have taken reasonable and responsible actions on this issue, we are requesting of Shift 2 Bikes:

1) That TNR be allowed to repost weekly bike rides on the Shift calendar following the minimum 3 month probation period ending when? 

2) That BARF be allowed access to the unedited Shift Code of Conduct database and the original complaint emails so that BARF can support victims, vet the complaints for authenticity and accuracy, and address outstanding safety and security concerns that have been reported to Shift, yet not forwarded to BARF / TNR by Shift (the whole reason that Shift required TNR to create BARF). If Shift is aware of perpetrators of crimes against victims during TNR events, then  Shift is morally and legally obligated to inform BARF so we can address these issues, protect victims, and hold perpetrators accountable.  

Shift could be seen as protecting perpetrators instead of victims  by not sharing these valid safety concerns with BARF.  

We are requesting this access because TNR has been threatened with a permanent calendar ban by Shift.   Unfortunately Shift has never forwarded any of the complaints they have received about TNR and BARF feels this creates an unfair power dynamic and doesn’t allow BARF / TNR an adequate opportunity for remediation. BARF/ TNR will not engage in any retaliation against those who have posted complaints against TNR. 

3) That BARF be allowed to participate in the Shift Appeal Process of the de-listing of TNR, even  if TNR is approved for relisting to the Shift calendar.

4) That BARF be allowed to participate in the Shift Code of Conduct review team. 

5) That BARF be allowed access to all of the Shift board meeting notes from 2021- present / future.  

6) That BARF be allowed to participate in all Shift board meetings from this point forward.    

7) That Shift share examples of our requirements for the safety plan that Shift has requested from TNR. BARF would like to know if any other bike rides have submitted safety plans. 

8) That Shift share personal or organizational experiences in dealing with bike riders who exhibit mental health issues that cause conflict within our community.  If you have any insights in how to navigate these troubled waters with compassion, sternness, and reasonable responsibility then do please share them to help inform our collective actions. 

BARF team (barftnr@gmail.com)