elly blue

Portland’s BikeCraft fair is back for the 2017 holidays

Michael Andersen (Contributor) by on October 5th, 2017 at 2:44 pm

BikeCraft 2012-2

BikeCraft 2012.
(Photo: J.Maus/BikePortland)

After a year on hiatus, Portland’s only bike-specific craft fair will ride again this December.

The simple idea, as phrased by co-producer Elly Blue of Microcosm Publishing: “Anyone who makes something bike-centric can pay a small tabling fee and come sell their stuff to a crowd of happy cyclists. It’s informal, fun, and all about building community and supporting the kitchen table and small business economy.”

This year’s event happens the weekend of Dec. 15-17 at the Bike Farm, 1810 NE 1st Ave. just north of Broadway. It’s free to attend Saturday and Sunday; this year there’ll also be a paid preview party on Friday night to benefit the Bike Farm’s mission (a cheap place to crank on your bike and/or learn how) and to let people “shop early in a festive but less busy setting,” Blue says.

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How Sunday Parkways helps bridge Portland’s racial divides (video)

Michael Andersen (Contributor) by on November 20th, 2015 at 2:28 pm

When I started getting seriously interested in bicycles a few years ago, I already knew they were pollution-free, cheap, healthy, quiet, nonlethal and space-efficient.

What threw me for a loop, when I was talking to other Portlanders who were already interested in bicycles, was that they kept talking about community. Biking (and walking, and public transit) connected them with their neighbors and surroundings in a way that driving can’t.

The idea, it turned out, is backed up by science.

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Riding against violence: Two Portlanders’ story of using a bike ride to call for peace

Michael Andersen (Contributor) by on September 15th, 2015 at 9:45 am

As every bike-lover knows, it’s not really about the bike.

For Jason Washington and DeMarcus Preston, 40ish Portlanders and friends who were fed up with local shootings last summer, a bike ride seemed like a natural way to wipe aside a cycle of gang violence and bring the community together into “one gang” in the best sense of the word.

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Youth Bike Summit will bring Portlanders to Seattle next week

Michael Andersen (Contributor) by on February 5th, 2015 at 9:44 am

pasqualina-youth

Youth Bike Director Pasqualina Azzarello
speaking at the 2012 National Bike Summit.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

If you think about it, there’s little question about which disenfranchised minority has the most to gain from good bicycling: kids.

A national conference for people interested in the education, advocacy and organizing of young people who are interested in bicycling is about to kick off just up the road from Portland.

The annual Youth Bike Summit has taken place in New York City for the last four years, but this year Seattle will host its first year “on the road.” Portlanders will be presenting on three of this year’s panels: one by publishers/creators Elly Blue and Joe Biel called “Making Change,” and one from the Multnomah Youth Commission called “Youth Advocacy Initiatives: Transit Justice through Youth Organizing” and one by the Bicycle Transportation Alliance and MYC called “Getting What You Want: Advocate.”

The City of Portland is sending Janis McDonald as a representative of their Safe Routes to Schools program.

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Elly Blue Publishing merges with Microcosm

Michael Andersen (Contributor) by on January 2nd, 2015 at 1:27 pm

Elly Blue

Elly Blue, on the job in 2013.
(Photos: J.Maus/BikePortland)

One of the power couples of Portland biking has decided to formally join forces professionally, too.

Elly Blue, creator of the Taking the Lane zine about feminism and biking and the author or publisher of several other bike-themed books, announced this week that she’s merged her living-room operation Elly Blue Publishing with Microcosm Publishing, the Portland-based independent publisher founded and managed for years by her partner Joe Biel.

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‘Wheelwomen Switchboard’ is a new forum for women in biking

Michael Andersen (Contributor) by on March 18th, 2014 at 3:08 pm

A screengrab of the new Wheelwomen Switchboard.

A new online community for the women’s bicycling movement, launched by a local bike writer and built on a web startup by two Reed College alumni, seems to be off to a roaring start.

Created by Elly Blue, who is herself a sort of bicycle hub who has taken human form and lives in Portland, Wheelwomen Switchboard sorts its users’ posts into two categories: “asks” and “offers.” The Wheelwomen community has drawn more than 70 such posts in its first two weeks.

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After complaints, Amtrak clarifies: folding bikes always allowed as carry-ons

Michael Andersen (Contributor) by on December 18th, 2013 at 9:54 am

Amtrak Cascades Mud Bay Surrey BC 2007_0917_1052

Amtrak Cascades, the regional line several BikePortland
readers said is bike-friendlier than many.
(Photo by Stephen Rees.)

A late-night incident in which Amtrak workers awoke two Portlanders to tell them, incorrectly, that their folding bikes weren’t allowed as carry-ons has led the agency to clarify its policy.

Amtrak spokeswoman Vernae Graham said last week that every passenger car in the system allows folding bicycles as carry-on luggage “if they fit the dimensions described in the policy and can fit in the areas designated for carry on baggage or bikes.”

The maximum dimensions are 34 inches by 15 inches by 48 inches, as stated in Amtrak’s policy. Mass-market folding bikes meet those constraints, Dean Mullin of local shop Clever Cycles said Wednesday.

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Citing nonexistent policy, Amtrak workers haul away Portlanders’ bikes – UPDATED

Michael Andersen (Contributor) by on December 3rd, 2013 at 3:11 pm

Texas Eagle

The Texas Eagle in Austin, Tex.
(Photo by Ian Westcott.)

[See official response from Amtrak in update at end of story.]

Amtrak apologized Tuesday to a Portlander traveling through Texas who said train workers woke her up and yelled at her for having a folding bicycle as carry-on luggage — something the national rail service allows.

“Unfortunately, we have found that Amtrak employees at all levels tend to be unaware of the company’s policy’s regarding bikes, folding and otherwise,” Elly Blue, a Portland-based writer who is on a business trip with her partner Joe Biel, wrote in an email. (Blue and Biel didn’t end up losing their bikes or needing to check them, though they were taken away overnight.)

“I love the train because it’s low-stress,” Blue lamented. Last night’s trip, though, was anything but.

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Radically sensible: 8 questions for Elly Blue, Portland’s pop bikenomist

Michael Andersen (Contributor) by on September 5th, 2013 at 10:17 am

Cover of Bikenomics

As she writes in her new book Bikenomics, Portland-based bike writer Elly Blue backed into bike activism in her mid-20s, when she realized that bikes advanced so many of her other wishes for the country.

Almost a decade later, Blue has organized years of observations about the economic benefits of biking into a 194-page book of deeply rational arguments that’s poised to make a splash. It’s studded with stories from her reporting around the United States and anecdotes from her own life and work. Yesterday I talked to Blue, 35 (founder of Elly Blue Publishing, a columnist for Bicycling.com, self-publisher of the quarterly zine Taking the Lane and a former managing editor here at BikePortland), in an email conversation about the country’s most underrated biking city, one of her frustrations with this very blog, and that one time she finally learned to drive.

You’re the queen of bike statistics. Pick your favorite.[Read more…]

Elly Blue and Portland’s bike book boom

by on November 8th, 2012 at 10:02 am

Elly Blue, publisher.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

These are boom times in the bike book publishing world. From big coffee-table books detailing the beauty of bike design, to guidebooks on where and how to ride and everything in between — the cycling renaissance in North America is being mirrored by an equally robust uptick in the amount of new books that document it.

Major publishing houses have noticed and they’re certainly getting a piece of the action; but here in Portland, a growing number of authors are turning to small press and independent publishers.

And who’s at the forefront of this fledgling revolution? None other than activist, businesswoman, writer, journalist and southeast Portland resident Elly Blue. Under her Taking the Lane Media banner, Elly is publishing, consulting on, distributing, marketing, and even writing bike books at a breakneck pace. After cutting her teeth on writing and bike journalism here on BikePortland back in the day, Elly found big success as a columnist for Grist.org. Since that gig ended, Elly has spent the last two years learning everything she can about the publishing business (and she’s also become something of an expert on how to win a Kickstarter campaign).[Read more…]