City launches ‘Bike to Books’ art contest to kick off Bike Month

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Multnomah County Youth Librarian Barbara Head at Bike Storytime in Hillsdale this morning.
(Photos by J. Maus/BikePortland)

The City of Portland and Multnomah County Library (with an assist from Metro) have teamed up on a novel way to promote National Bike Month: They’re hosting an art contest with a grand prize of having the winners’ design installed as a bike lane character.

Ever notice how some of the bike lane symbols around town have extra special flair? Some are subtle little twists and others are nothing short than a work of art. It’s a tradition that the Portland Bureau of Transportation started back in 1999. And now four lucky young Portlanders will get a chance to have their vision turned into a piece of infrastructure.

The “Bike to Books” program kicked off this morning at the Hillsdale Library. With the library’s book bike (more on that later) parked in the entrance, over a dozen pre-schoolers were treated to a special, bike-themed storytime. Youth Librarian Barbara Head kept the kids entertained (no easy task at that age) with bike books and bike-themed songs. It’s all part of an effort to get people of all ages to bike to the library during the month of May.

Any Multnomah County resident in kindergarten to 12th grade can grab a coloring contest flyer from a library or online and give it your best shot. The contest is open all month long and entrants must return the finished art to a library branch. Four grand prize winners (one for each age category) will get their bike lane art installed. The second place prize is four passes to The Lumberyard Indoor Bike Park and third place gets a Nutcase helmet.

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It’s Bike Month – what’s your bicycle evangelism story?

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Nothing like starting off Bike Month with 80-degree temps!
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Welcome to May, the month that bicycle lovers go forth and multiply.

Now that National Bike Month lines up with the Bicycle Transportation Alliance’s Bike More Challenge and also with the Month that Portland Weather Starts Being Awesome on a Fairly Regular Basis, it seems fitting to spend some time reflecting on the way bicycles reproduce in our auto-oriented society: recruitment.

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Touting ‘Platinum’ status, Commisioner Novick proclaims Active Transportation Week

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward

Bureau of Transportation staff have had their say about grumblings in the community that Portland doesn’t deserve its “Platinum” bicycle-friendly status*.

Now it’s City Hall’s turn.

In an statement to kick off National Bike Month in Portland, PBOT spokesperson Diane Dulken said Portland Mayor Charlie Hales will announce next week that May 10-16th will be Active Transportation Week in Portland. The proclamation was written by PBOT Commissioner Steve Novick and will cite, “Portland as a Platinum bicycle-friendly city, Sunday Parkways’ popularity and that bicycling has changed commute choices, reducing single-commuter trips from 64 percent to 57 percent since 2000.”

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PBOT offers bikers a ‘Quick Fix’ of donuts, coffee and conversation

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward
PBOT Quick Fix event-3

Sunday Parkways? Nope. Just the
morning commute on N Willamette Blvd
(with a free donut stop).
(Photos J. Maus/BikePortland)

It was like a mini Sunday Parkways this morning on N Willamette Boulevard. As part of their National Bike Month outreach efforts, The Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) set up a “Quick Fix” station to offer free coffee, donuts and lube jobs to anyone who happened to be biking by. And business was brisk.

Andy and Cheryl Kehrli where two of dozens of people who stopped by. Andy held a mug of coffee in one hand and his bike in the other while PBOT staffer Abra McNair lubed up his squeaky chain. “We were just riding over to get coffee and we knew this would be here,” said Andy. He told me he bike commuted to work for nine years before he retired a few years ago. Now he and Cheryl ride every day. “We just sold our Prius,” he said, “Because it never gets driven.”

This part of north Portland (the Overlook/Arbor Lodge/University Park neighborhoods) is booming with bicycling these days and quiet, calm streets like Willamette are a big reason why. It also doesn’t hurt that some of the city’s best neighborhood greenway streets — like Concord, Bryant, and Wabash — criss-cross the area. There were so many people biking out on Willamette this morning that when a car did come rumbling by, it seemed out of place. Or, as PBOT’s McNair put it, “Cars just seem awkward on this street.”

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How to make Bike Month matter in Portland

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward

Great idea from Portlander Russ Roca: when you
patronize a bike-friendly business this month, draw a bike on
the receipt and share a social-media photo to thank them.
(Photo: The Path Less Pedaled)

Much like Arbor Day, and for basically the same reasons, National Bike Month has long been a bigger deal in Nebraska than it is in Portland.

But, though it’s a little harder to spot around here, May is indeed Bike Month in the United States. And there are lots of great ways to celebrate it locally.

First, here’s a wonderful idea from Russ Roca of The Path Less Pedaled: All this month, patronize businesses that you know to be bike-friendly, and thank them for it by drawing a little picture of a bike on your receipt. Then share a photo of the receipt on your favorite social media account with the hashtag #bikenomics.

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