Do this Saturday night: Velo Cirque Bike Show, then Oregon Timber Trail Panel and Slideshow

Posted on February 23rd, 2018 at 4:28 pm.

Whether you like to look at bikes, ride them, or both — here’s your best Saturday night.
(Photo: Velo Cult)

If you overlooked these two events in the Weekend Guide, you’ll be sorry.

On Saturday Velo Cult is hosting the annual Velo Cirque Classic and Custom Bike Show and then the Oregon Timber Trail will take center stage at Base Camp Brewing.

Both events will be held in nice and warm places and are easily accessible by transit, so the weather isn’t an excuse.

Here’s more on each one…
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Zoobomb’s Ben Hurt Chariot Wars – Photo Gallery

Posted on February 19th, 2018 at 11:03 am.

Charioteers attempt to disable battlecars and bikes amid firecrackers and rowdy onlookers.
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

This past weekend was the annual Mini Bike Winter hosted by Zoobomb.

One of the many events participants competed in was the Ben Hurt Chariot Wars. The Chariot Wars have a long and glorious legacy and are the showcase event of the three-day Olympics. The winners get an iconic trophy and major bragging rights. They also get to make up the rules.

Speaking of which, here are the official 2018 rules:[Read more…]

Partying on the Worst Day of the Year Ride

Posted on February 12th, 2018 at 8:51 am.

Worst Day of the Year Ride 2018

Our group had a birthday party theme. Can you tell?
(Photos: Madi Carlson)

Our Family Biking column is sponsored by Clever Cycles.

➤ Read past entries here.

We had a blast on our first Worst Day of the Year Ride.

New this year was a half-price four-mile family-friendly route which was perfect for us. Friends came down from Seattle because their almost-eight-year old wanted to celebrate his birthday with a bikey Portland weekend which made choosing our group costume easy: biking birthday party. I don’t think I’ve ever been on a ride with so many creative costumes and seeing the group finery was reason enough to attend.
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Community Cycling Center bringing back ‘Velotines’ delivery service

Posted on February 9th, 2018 at 9:05 am.

Community Cycling Center staffers Lindy Walsh (L), Athena and Yashar Vasef model Velotines cards.
(Photos: Community Cycling Center)

When is the last time you sent someone a hand-written note? Maybe doing that more often was one of your new year’s resolutions that needs a nudge?

For the second year in a row the Community Cycling Center will set up a letter courier system in their retail bike shop on Northeast Alberta to commemorate St. Velotine’s Day — which they call, “an emerging tradition celebrating all-analog affection.” For one day the CCC will buck the growing digitization of our lives and encourage people to send hand-written notes to one another in a bid to boost positive community spirit.

Here’s more from the CCC:

Instead of jotting a quick email thanking a friend or coworker, imagine having that note manually typed on a mid-century Olympia typewriter, then couriered by bike within Portland city limits to surprise and delight its recipient on February 14th. That is precisely what Cycling Center staff and volunteers intend to do for hundreds of messages.

From now through February 14th (which is traditionally Valentine’s Day, if you haven’t realized yet), anyone can stop into the CCC Bike Shop (1700 NE Alberta) and order a velotine for a $10 suggested donation. Once typed up and sealed with a kiss, it will be queued for bike delivery on Valentine’s Day.

This would be a great way to tell your friends and special someones that you appreciate them!

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and

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A former Portlander wants to know what ‘women led’ cities would look like

Posted on February 6th, 2018 at 9:53 am.

Katrina Johnston-Zimmerman at Portland’s Parking Day event in 2013.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Katrina Johnston-Zimmerman is putting what she learned in Portland to very good use: addressing the sexism in urban planning and helping women take leadership roles in how our cities are designed.

“The city, as we know it today, has been designed and shaped primarily by men,” she wrote in a recent email, “By bringing women’s voices to the forefront of the urban discussion, the Women Led Cities Initiative aims to achieve a greater level of equity in urban planning and design – both bottom-up and top-down – and start conversations about developing feminist city policy towards greater equality for all people in our cities.”

Johnston-Zimmerman, an urban anthropologist with a Master of Urban Studies degree from Portland State University (and who shared a guest article here on BikePortland in 2013), moved to Philadelphia a few years ago; but not before cutting her teeth on local activism efforts like Better Block and Parking Day. Back in 2012 I worked with Johnston-Zimmerman (and two others) on a project for GOOD Magazine where we envisioned a Portland where bicycling was just as easy as driving or taking transit.

Those projects were just the start for Johnston-Zimmerman. She’s also founder of the THINK.urban consulting firm, part of the tandem (along with fellow urbanist Kirsten Jeffers) that hosts the Third Wave Urbanism podcast, and one of the driving forces behind the Women Led Cities initiative.
[Read more…]

Cycle Oregon goes ‘Gravel’ and heads to eastern Oregon in 2018

Posted on January 31st, 2018 at 7:36 pm.

The Hells Canyon Overlook will be one of many highlights in Cycle Oregon’s 2018 Classic ride.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Like a phoenix from the ashes of forest fires that caused the cancellation of last year’s ride, Cycle Oregon announced their 2018 season to much fanfare in front of hundreds of fans at the Portland Art Museum tonight.

Big crowd at tonight’s kickoff party at the Portland Art Museum seemed eager to get riding after a year off.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Before the meat of the presentation began, Executive Director Steve Schulz addressed the controversy around last year’s abrupt cancellation. Schulz humbly and fully apologized. “We learned we can always make improvements on how we do things and how we say things,” he said.

Then, as he appeared to choke up with emotion, he thanked the Cycle Oregon community for their support. Last year alone, in large part through riders who opted to donate $500 (half) of their entry fee, over $128,000 was donated to the Cycle Oregon Fund. “The money went back to those communities who suffered — not just from Cycle Oregon not being there, but from an entire season of wildfires.” “It reinforced to us,” he continued, “That you care about your fellow riders, you care about this state, you care about the communities, you care that we can continue to explore this state every year from the seat of a bicycle. This is your brand; and this brand is strong.”
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Business leaders hear how Portland has fallen behind and needs their support to reach transportation goals

Posted on January 31st, 2018 at 12:14 pm.

The event was held at the vintage decor shop Urbanite on SE Grand Ave.
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Business for a Better Portland hosted its first policy event of the year last night. The up-and-coming association is looking to be a counterbalance the impact of the Portland Business Alliance, a more conservative group that has had a vast — and some would say deleterious — influence on city transportation policy over the years.

“When I got here the PBA [Portland Business Alliance] was the only voice that was listened to. In four short years that has changed dramatically and this business group has tremendous influence.”
— Leah Treat, PBOT

Billed as “Portland’s Transportation Future: Business Stepping Up To The Challenge” — the goal of the event was primarily one of education and networking. If Portland is going to fulfill a progressive transportation agenda that breaks through the driving-dominant status quo that’s shackling us to the past, the business leaders of our region must rally behind a new vision and lobby electeds and bureaucrats to make it a reality. Business for a Better Portland seems poised to lead that movement, having grown from zero to 210 dues-paying members in the past year alone.

One of the panelists, Portland Bureau of Transportation Director Leah Treat, spoke to this dynamic during last night’s discussion. “This organization has had a growing voice in the city, especially with City Hall,” she shared. “When I got here the PBA [Portland Business Alliance] was the only voice that was listened to. In four short years that has changed dramatically and this business group has tremendous influence.”

The event featured Treat and three other transportation leaders: Multnomah County Commissioner Jessica Vega Pederson; former Washington Secretary of Transportation (and candidate for Metro President) Lynn Peterson; and Nolan Lienhart, the director of planning and urban design at ZGF Architects. The moderator was Oregon Humanities Director Adam Davis.

Top: Nolan Lienhart, ZGF Architects and former Washington Secretary of Transportation Lynn Peterson. Bottom: County Commissioner Jessica Vega Pederson (L) and PBOT Director Leah Treat.

Blumenauer via video.

It seems like no discussion of Portland’s transportation future can happen without a look back at the projects and people who were present during our glory days. Last night it was U.S. Congressman Earl Blumenauer who set the table with a pre-recorded video message (he was busy at a State of the Union-related event). From a big screen above the panelists and crowd, Blumenauer said the Portland region needs to figure out its priorities and move forward on them. “This is an outgrowth of deep expressions of concern I’ve heard from our community over the last few years,” he said, “That our region is falling behind on transportation and infrastructure.”

“This is an outgrowth of deep expressions of concern I’ve heard from our community over the last few years that our region is falling behind on transportation and infrastructure.”
— Earl Blumenauer, congressman

We’ve been pounding this stagnation problem for many years now and believe me when I say this: It is no small thing for one of the most prominent figures in Portland’s lauded transportation legacy to publicly acknowledge that Portland has fallen behind. (Leaders rely on the success narrative to cement their legacy and positions, so admitting things have gotten bad takes courage and integrity.)

“Our past successes,” Blumenauer continued (after mentioning light rail, defeating the Mt. Hood Freeway, and the Tilikum Crossing), “are not the end of our story.”

The problem as Blumenauer sees it — and what became a recurring theme of the evening — is that leaders in our region can’t agree on a vision to move forward with. “Our region is struggling to fully agree on what we should do next and exactly what we need… We appear frozen in place.”

The moderator Adam Davis then asked the panelists several questions. There wasn’t any huge news made here and since the event wasn’t intended to be wonky, no one got into the weeds on anything. But there were some notable statements and exchanges.

When asked by the moderator to name existing obstacles that prevent us from moving forward, PBOT Director Treat made a passionate plea for more citizen advocacy:

“At the City of Portland, we have so many amazing projects lined up. So many things that we can deliver. We have tons of stuff we want to do. What we need is support from the business community, from Portlanders everywhere, to help our council make some really hard decisions. Every time that we do a big transportation project, the sense at city council is that there are binary choices being made; that there are winners and losers being presented. And rather than having a conversation about who’s winning and losing, we need people to come together and voice their support for outcomes and policy decisions that the council needs to stick with. Every Wednesday morning at 9:00 the council agenda is open for anyone to come talk about anything. And they listen. If you showed up in front of council your voice will be 100 times more important than mine over the course of the year. So show up!”

Solid turnout.

Jessica Vega Pederson said the problem is that a clear vision has not been articulated. Lynn Peterson said we focus too much on individual projects and we need to, “Go toward a corridor mentality.” Nolan Lienhart said, “We’ve done a lot of the big visionary things people were thinking about us needing to do in the 70s and early 80s — so now it’s time to recharge that.”

“Our vision needs to be a description of a system rather than a disparate strategy. Yes it’s not the same solution everywhere, but it’s also not six different solutions that don’t relate to each other.”
— Nolan Lienhart, ZGF

When the discussion turned to the geographic equity — and inequity — of transportation investments, Lienhart said our planning approach should be more unified. “Our vision needs to be a description of a system rather than a disparate strategy. Yes it’s not the same solution everywhere, but it’s also not six different solutions that don’t relate to each other.”

Then there was an interesting exchange between Peterson and Treat. Peterson argued for having a, “Base level of service we are providing for everyone in the region.” To which Treat replied, “I agree… But people in east Portland have been under-invested and under-serviced, and they still have the worst transportation network in the city. So while we do want to have an overall system that works for everyone, I think it’s disingenuous to not point out that we have much greater need and obligation to invest in east Portland.”

The highlight of the night was an audience question.

The panelists were seated in front of north-facing windows that looked onto rush-hour on the SE Grand-Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd couplet. A man in the back of the room (I regret not getting his name) said, “The backdrop behind you is an unending stream of cars coming off the Morrison Bridge. It’s deliciously ironic. This [pointing to the room] is the choir, that [pointing outside] is the congregation. What do you preach to them when they think that whatever you say is going to cost them more and leave them with less?”

Treat, who was very sharp all night, jumped on it. Here’s her answer:

“We are experiencing tremendous population growth, and they’re going to continue to come. Our system is reaching capacity and the way we have to manage it is not going to be through building new roads, so we have to start working the system to help prioritize throughput for cars, to help prioritize throughput for freight, and add travel options for other people. And I don’t know if we’ll be able to say, ‘It won’t cost you more.’ We’re looking at congestion/value pricing for a reason. The studies we have from the Rose Quarter show that 26 percent of the trips that are made at the PM peak through the Rose Quarter are discretionary. If we can get 26 percent of discretionary trips off the Rose Quarter in the PM peak, it would be the same effect as building the auxiliary lanes as proposed [In the I-5 Rose Quarter project]. So we can’t please everybody and we’re all competing for very valuable space.”

Treat’s comment is important. Note that her argument includes telling people who mostly drive that their trip times might actually improve if we redesigned roads and started to charge people to use them. And the best line of the night was how she directly questioned the need for the new lanes as proposed by the Oregon Department of Transportation in the I-5 Rose Quarter project. PBOT has been a staunch ally and partner of ODOT’s on that controversial freeway widening project. Are Treat’s comments a sign that the City of Portland might support pricing and transportation demand management before the project breaks ground?. CORRECTION, 2/1: Portland City Council passed an amendment to the Comp Plan in October stating that ODOT and PBOT should work together to use pricing and TDM, “as soon as feasible and prior to the opening of this project.”

Overall, the night felt like a sucess for Business for Better Portland. From a policy standpoint, there was a lot of talk about a vision but there was still no clear description of what it should be. Another thing I’ll takeaway is that it is now completely mainstream to acknowledge — even at the highest levels of leadership — that Portland has fallen behind and is in dire need of a bold wake-up call that can summon the courage we had 40 years ago.

From here, Business for a Better Portland says they’ll convene a working-group to come up with a transportation-related “call to action” they’ll broadcast in March. Stay tuned.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and

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At route reveal party, Cycle Oregon will look to roll past tumult of 2017

Posted on January 30th, 2018 at 3:02 pm.

Cycle Oregon Executive Director Steve Schulz is eager to move past 2017.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Tomorrow night Cycle Oregon will celebrate the 30th running of their week-long “Classic” ride. At least they hope it will run this year.

It’s Cycle Oregon’s 31st year in existence, but last year’s ride was cancelled at the last minute due to wildfires that ravaged several sections of the planned route. This year the nonprofit is back with lessons learned and hopes that their fans are willing to give them another shot.

They’ll get a chance to make their pitch for the 2018 ride at the annual Kickoff Party at the Portland Art Museum Wednesday night.
[Read more…]

‘MAMIL’ (Middle Aged Men in Lycra) documentary coming to Portland

Posted on January 30th, 2018 at 9:36 am.

Official poster.

I can’t believe someone made a documentary out of this. But I’m happy they did.

MAMIL’s are the oft-ridiculed cycling world sub-culture characterized by men in bright-and-tight lycra who speed around in packs chasing Strava segments and trying to recapture their glory days. Now their story has been told in a feature documentary, MAMIL, that will screen one night only in Portland. The screening is organized by Demand Film, a “cinema on demand” service that is showing MAMIL on 300 theaters across the country on the same night: February 21st. You can see it in the Portland area at: Regal Fox Tower Stadium 6, Regal Lloyd Center 10, and Regal Hilltop 9 Cinema (Oregon City).

The film is narrated by legendary Tour de France commentator Phil Liggett. Here’s the official blurb:

“MAMIL captures on film the spirit and the members of a movement that is growing throughout the world — middle-aged men taking to their cycles and biking through mountains, city streets, you name it, all in the name of CYCLING. Some do it for health, some for love, others just to clear their heads and face the world. And despite all the crashes, mega-pricey carbon fiber cycles, and wives worrying that they’ve been replaced by two wheels and a $1,200 bicycle seat, these guys wouldn’t have it any other way.

Filmed in the U.S., Australia and the U.K., MAMIL is a celebration of the love that can finally be shared – that of man for bike. You might be in an LGBT cycling club in New York or Christian in the Midwest; you might be a lawyer or a cancer survivor, you might be hauling your middle-aged belly over the next hill, or speeding along the open road, but you still thrill to the meditation of the bike.”

Here’s the official trailer:

[Read more…]

Ovarian Psycos documentary is coming to Portland this Sunday

Posted on January 24th, 2018 at 10:07 am.

A documentary based on the East Los Angeles-based activist group known as the Ovarian Psycos will be shown in Portland this Sunday night as a benefit for the Community Cycling Center.

The “OVAS” as they’re often known — which stands for Overthrowing Vendidxs (vendidos, or sell-outs), Authority, and the State — began in 2010. They define their politics and activism as having, “feminist ideals with indigena understanding and an urban/hood mentality!” Using bicycles as a tool for power and organizing, the Ovas annual rides include the Black Mass (“Resistance on Two Wheels”), Clitoral Mass, protests against gentrification, and more. Beyond riding, they empower and inspire young womxn of color to become community leaders.

“We are connecting dots,” they write on their website, “becoming aware of community agencies, spaces and movimientos in an effort to solidify our local networks making everything and everyone more accessible for and to each other.”
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