About Steph Routh (Guest Contributor)

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Steph Routh lives in Portland's Lents neighborhood. She is the former executive director of Oregon Walks and a founding board member of Cycle Wild.

Steph Routh (Guest Contributor) Post Archive

An interview with bike polo player and aspiring framebuilder Jackie Mautner

Monday, October 9th, 2017

Mautner teaching a class.
(Photos courtesy Jackie Mautner)

This post is part of our Women’s Bike Month interview series written by Steph Routh and sponsored by the Community Cycling Center and Gladys Bikes.

If you have found yourself on or even near a bike polo court, chances are you’ve met Jackie Mautner. She has graced bike polo courts and on both coasts when not cultivating some serious acumen as a bicycle mechanic. Her most recent challenges have been framebuilding and cyclocross.

Jackie and I sat down at Tiny’s Cafe in inner northeast Portland for a quick interview last week…

How did you get involved in biking?
Aside from biking as a kid, I started commuting when I went to college in New York City at Cooper Union.

Shortly after I started biking regularly, I came across bike polo totally by chance. The court in NYC is right off a main bike artery, and I would ride by on Sundays. I would see them swinging mallets. I got curious about what they were doing, because they were on bikes. I started watching, and this person who’s been playing since almost the time that bike polo started in NYC — he’s almost 70 years old now — invited me to play. For someone his age, he’s not the fastest on the court and gets heckled, but he puts up with it. I thought if he could put up with the heckling, I could, too.
[Read more…]

Interview: Samantha Taylor on e-bikes, helmets and looking good by bike

Friday, October 6th, 2017

(Photo courtesy Samantha Taylor)

This is the sixth installment of our Women’s Bike Month interview series written by Steph Routh. This content is sponsored by the Community Cycling Center and Gladys Bikes.

Samantha Taylor learned how to ride a bike when she was a kid, but cycling didn’t become a part of her life until last August, when she saw the job opening for Development Manager at the Community Cycling Center. She lives in the New Columbia neighborhood near The Hub and, in her own words, “put two and two together and realized that the Cycling Center was behind The Hub.”

“Cycling was never a mode of transportation for me before,” Taylor said. “When I learned more about trimodal transportation and transportation equity at the Cycling Center, I became a lot more interested in cycling not just as recreation but also transportation.”

Working at a nonprofit replete with bicycle access doesn’t magically remove all barriers to cycling, however. Cost and adaptive needs can still prevent cycling from being a convenient choice.

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Nine questions for Sumi Malik, planning consultant and mentorship advocate

Tuesday, October 3rd, 2017

Sumi Malik, left, at a BikePortland Wonk Night.
(Photos courtesy Malik)

This is the fifth installment of our Women’s Bike Month interview series written by Steph Routh. This content is sponsored by the Community Cycling Center and Gladys Bikes.

The role of consultant in transportation planning and advocacy is inherently behind the scenes, yet the stiff competition associated with landing the next project contract creates a unique working environment delicately balancing self-promotion and service to agency clients (and, ultimately, the communities they serve). Add the implicit biases of gender, race. etc., and the waters of transportation consulting can be tricky, indeed.

Sumi Malik has been a transportation planning consultant with CH2M for over a decade, managing an array of projects in communities across the country. She also was instrumental in developing a mentorship program with Women in Transportation Seminars (WTS).

[Read more…]

11 questions for Keyonda McQuarters of Portland’s Black Girls Do Bike chapter

Friday, September 29th, 2017

Black Girls Do Bike are known for many things, but one is their amazing jersey design.
(Photo courtesy Keyonda McQuarters)

This is the fourth installment of our Women’s Bike Month interview series written by Steph Routh. This content is sponsored by the Community Cycling Center and Gladys Bikes.

Black Girls Do Bike is a national organization with over 75 local chapters. The organization was created to champion efforts introducing the joy of cycling to all women, but especially black women and girls.

Keyonda McQuarters stepped up as the Portland Chapter’s admin for about a year now and has been leading two rides on average per week ever since. She is so excited about BGDB that she was willing to spend time with me on her birthday at Bipartisan Cafe talking about it.

Why did you decide to lead the Portland chapter of Black Girls Do Bike?

I’ve been leading Black Girls Do Bike for a year now, and I think one the of the challenges is overcoming barriers, real or perceived, that inhibit Black women from being present and involved in the bike community. Every time I’m on my bike, I’m always looking for me. I’m looking for women who look like me. While I do see them, they are few and far between. One of my goals is knocking down those barriers, of creating a community that welcomes Black women.

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An interview with Linda Robinson, a stalwart advocate for east Portland parks

Monday, September 25th, 2017

Linda Robinson at Gateway Green back in February.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

This is the third installment of our Women’s Bike Month interview series written by Steph Routh. This content is sponsored by the Community Cycling Center and Gladys Bikes.

Anyone who has enjoyed a park in East Portland likely owes at least a sliver of that experience to Linda Robinson. Linda was a founding member of the East Portland Parks Coalition, is a former member of the Portland Parks Board, and has been a voice advocating for parks throughout the Gateway Urban Renewal process in Gateway.

What does this have to do with cycling? Two words: Gateway Green. Linda retired in 2002 and jumped straight into advocacy and organizing for Gateway Green, which just opened this past summer.

I interviewed Linda last week…[Read more…]

An interview with Momoko Saunders, co-founder of Bike Farm

Monday, September 18th, 2017

Momoko Saunders.

This is the second installment of our Women’s Bike Month interview series written by Steph Routh. Don’t miss her interview with Meeky Blizzard. This content is sponsored by the Community Cycling Center and Gladys Bikes.

Momoko Saunders is the quintessential behind-the-scenes creator. There are those who take their applause from a stage, and those who hear their work appreciated from the back of the room. Momoko has held a hallowed place in the latter category, and it’s time to shine a light on her work.

As co-founder of Bike Farm, a nonprofit dedicated to bike repair and education, Momoko developed the administrative back-end that makes or breaks any new enterprise. She volunteers on the Board of Portland Society and is an iOS developer by trade.

Momoko and I met up at the Community Cycling Center office, which happens to be right around the corner from Bike Farm.

How did you get started in biking?
I didn’t get into biking seriously until Bike Farm and then not seriously myself until my bike tour. And then I never looked back.
[Read more…]

An interview with Meeky Blizzard, one of Portland’s original freeway fighters

Wednesday, September 13th, 2017

Meeky Blizzard.
(Photo: Matt Giraud)

Written by Steph Routh, this is the first in our Women’s Bike Month interview series sponsored by the Community Cycling Center and Gladys Bikes.

Every day we travel past, on, or under structures and streets named for the people who had some relationship to its construction. Ladd’s Circle. Flanders Street. Naito Parkway. The Glenn Jackson Bridge.

Meeky Blizzard’s name is not attributed to a structure, because she made her mark on transportation and land use planning with the structure that was never constructed — the Western Bypass. Instead, the planned Western Bypass corridor from Tualatin to Hillsboro remains largely agricultural land, thanks to Meeky and other activists who started the group Sensible Transportation Options for People, also known by its apt acronym STOP. Meeky and other STOP members opposed the project and instead proposed alternate solutions that were eventually codified in the Land Use, Transportation, Air Quality (LUTRAQ) study.

After the demise of the Western Bypass in 1996 (which briefly re-emerged in the recent legislative session), Meeky went on to serve as Livable Communities Advisor to U.S. Congressman Earl Blumenauer until her retirement in 2012. Now living in rural Washington County, she still advocates for livable communities. Meeky testified against a freeway proposal in April, telling legislators that building freeways is “simply a waste of money.”

I recently sat down with Meeky in Portland City Hall to learn more about that fateful freeway fight and what lessons it might hold for today’s activists…
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Guest opinion: Why forest lovers should support a bike corridor to the coast

Monday, December 16th, 2013

The Salmonberry Corridor would connect Banks
to Tillamook on the Oregon Coast.
(Map by Oregon State Parks & Rec)

Turning the broken Salmonberry rail line into a biking, walking and horse-riding corridor between Washington County and the Pacific Coast has some of our neighbors worried that it’ll interfere with Oregonians’ age-old connection to the forest.

I get the concern, because my family has loved this forest for generations. But here’s what I see: Connectivity is what this proposed facility does best. Let’s connect more people to Oregon’s beauty, to the traditions I grew up with, and to a more resilient local economy.

When I first heard about the Salmonberry Corridor project, my thoughts were mixed. It’s a cool idea and use for a pre-existing, troubled rail alignment; but Northwest Oregon currently has many needs that are unfunded (Barbur Boulevard, 82nd Avenue, multi-modal improvements along Highway 101 main streets, etc.). Frankly, I was skeptical that adding a new path to the Coast was a priority.
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