Why did you buy an e-bike? PSU (and the bike industry) wants to know

Posted on May 5th, 2017 at 10:27 am.

Family Bicycle Transportation Day - Oregon Manifest-15

E-bikes help regular people do amazing things.
(Photo by J. Maus/BikePortland)

E-bikes are everywhere in Portland. Dealers report strong sales, they scored great press in the Willamette Week’s latest bike issue, and I have a feeling that in a few years we won’t remember what our bikeways looked like without them.

Like many trends in the U.S. bike scene, Portland is leading the way. We have a cottage industry of sellers, makers, and tinkerers who are pushing e-bikes into the mainstream. We also have an academic brain trust at Portland State University that has become one of the nations leading places for e-bike research. Portland State University has been researching e-bikes since at least 2011.

Now they’ve inked a partnership with national nonprofits People for Bikes (an advocacy group funded by the bicycle industry) and the Bicycle Product Suppliers Association to learn even more about the e-bike market and push it further along into the American mainstream.
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Three non-obvious reasons the Bike Commute Challenge is such a great idea

Posted on September 1st, 2015 at 9:39 am.

Bike Commute Challenge Party-6.jpg

Who doesn’t like trophies?
(Photos © J. Maus/BikePortland)

Portland’s friendly annual competition among workplaces to see who can log the most and longest bike trips and who can recruit the most commuters starts today. And an excellent new academic paper shows exactly why you should be signing up and nudging your co-workers to do the same.

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PBOT’s new guide takes the guesswork out of family biking

Posted on July 23rd, 2014 at 3:17 pm.


Even in Portland, riding with infants and small children on your bike often elicits stares, questions, and comments.

At what age can we start biking with our baby? Which bike set-ups work best for toddlers? Is it better to use a tag-along or encourage kids to ride their own bike? These are just some of the myriad questions anyone who bikes with kids is used to getting. Now there’s a helpful guide from the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) that aims to answer those questions.

Portland’s Family Biking Guide (PDF) is a new, 16-page booklet created by PBOT’s Active Transportation Division. The new guide will be distributed through the city’s “SmartTrips Welcome” marketing program that targets new residents and encourages them to bike, walk, and take transit.

According to PBOT’s Active Transportation Division Manager Linda Ginenthal, the new guide fills a gap in the city’s available suite of bicycling information. “We have a tremendous amount of bike information on our website and in printed materials,” she shared with us today, “but we had nothing for families.”
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Involved in a hit-and-run? New tool shows location of security cameras

Posted on April 25th, 2013 at 11:34 am.

Google map of security cameras in downtown Portland.

When vehicles collide out on the roads, private and public security cameras often play a major role in providing evidence. Law enforcement officials pull security video footage to get a closer look at hit-and-run and bike theft suspects, to validate or disprove witness statements about how the collision occurred, and so on.

Just this morning, a road rage incident caught on video in Los Angeles is making the rounds. And last year, a Multnomah County DA used security camera footage from City Hall in downtown Portland to help them recreate a fatal collision at SW 3rd and Madison.

But as a citizen it’s often impossible to know if your incident was even captured to begin with. Now there’s a new tool, CommunityCam, that features a publicly-accessible Google Map of private and business security cameras. The map shows the location of hundreds of cameras in the Portland area.
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New maps from PBOT detail seven great city rides

Posted on March 3rd, 2011 at 2:30 pm.

Download free maps here

PBOT is at it again. Last fall we shared a new series of maps that offered detailed routes of 100+ mile bike rides/tours you could easily take from Portland. Now they’ve completed a new series of maps for rides that offer quick escapes without leaving the city.
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“Rideshed” map shows where you can camp by bike from Portland

Posted on January 31st, 2011 at 1:16 pm.

Imagine the possibilities…
(See full map below)

Remember Cycle Wild? They’re the local non-profit that organizes and promotes bike-camping trips from Portland. We went along with them for a ride back in 2009 and learned just how easy it is to pack up some gear, start pedaling, and get away from it all — without having to drive a car.

Cycle Wild founder and ring-leader Matt Picio just published a very cool map (see it below) that anyone with a glimmer of bike adventure in their hearts will appreciate. It’s a map of campsites within Portland’s “rideshed.” Picio defines a rideshed as, “anywhere you can ride a loaded bike on a summer day.” Typically, that distance is about 75 at the most, but thanks to MAX light rail, Portland’s rideshed is much further.[Read more…]

Washington County Visitor’s Association wants your feedback on new bike map

Posted on September 30th, 2010 at 9:37 am.

Cover of new map.

In an effort to showcase some of the best bike rides in the region, the Washington County Visitor’s Association (WCVA) is working on an update of their bike map; and they want your feedback and suggestions to make it even better.

The map covers Washington County and is intended for both visitors and locals. Allison George with the WCVA says the map is scheduled to be released later this fall. The format and coding of the new map will be consistent with those used on Metro’s Bike There! map. From what I’ve seen of the draft PDFs, the map is very impressive. There are several featured rides — including the “Historic Helvetia Loop” and the “Fern Hill Loop” — that include a description of the route, GPS coordinates, an elevation profile and so on. And, since this is a WCVA publication, there’s a complete listing of nearby wineries.

Here’s a detail shot from the draft version of the map:[Read more…]

‘Ride the City’ online route planner now available for Portland

Posted on September 30th, 2010 at 8:07 am.

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PBOT unveils series of recreational cycling maps

Posted on September 16th, 2010 at 12:50 pm.

Vernonia, a popular riding destination for Portlanders, is one of several areas that now have bike routes mapped thanks to PBOT.

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E-bikes, the law, and you

Posted on August 26th, 2010 at 8:57 am.

E-bikes are popping up all
over Portland these days.
(Illustration: Mark Young/Portland Storyboard)

Whether you like them or not, electric bikes have arrived and it looks like they’re here to stay. E-bikes can now be found in almost every local bike shop, major manufacturers are adding e-assist to a growing number of urban and cargo bikes, and e-bikes can be spotted among bike traffic more and more. But what about the laws governing their specifications and usage?

This isn’t intended to be legal advice, as I’m not a lawyer, but a brief summary of e-bike related law at the federal, state, and local levels.
Federal Law
At the Federal level, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) relegated defining what an e-bike is to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). The CPSC defines a low-speed electric bicycle as:

“… a two- or three-wheeled vehicle with fully operable pedals and an electric motor of less than 750 watts (1 h.p.), whose maximum speed on a paved level surface, when powered solely by such a motor while ridden by an operator who weighs 170 pounds, is less than 20 mph. (Public Law No. 107-319, section 1, 116 Stat. 2776 (2002))”

[Read more…]