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Find your tribe: A list of Portland’s many Facebook bicycle groups

Find your tribe: A list of Portland’s many Facebook bicycle groups

Sprockettes Girls Camp-3

Find your thing, then find other people who like it too.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Tuesday was about as wonderful a day for Northwest winter biking as anyone could wish for, and that feels like a sign that the wet, wet winter of 2015-2016 has started rolling away.

(Punxsutawney Phil, for the record, thinks so too.)

While we start to think about spring, it’s a good time to start thinking about where to find good times on bikes. So let’s do something we’ve been wanting to get done for a while and share a list of all the local bike-related Facebook groups we know of.

This won’t be a complete directory, but we’re eager to get your additions in the comments.

Grilled by Bike Club – Each ride ends in a meal that was prepared on the way.

Move by Bike – Pay it forward by chipping in on a few of these, and you will probably get people to show up and move all your stuff to your new place for the cost of a good time plus food before and after.

Women Bike – For the 51 percent.

Ladies Let’s Ride – A weekly Sunday ride of 35-50 miles, plus mid-week rides and events in the summer.

PDX Cargo Bike Gang – Haul yeah.

Portland Bike Party – Colorful, upbeat roll through the streets once a month or so.

Portland Urban Bike (Thursday Night Ride) – A newer weekly tradition in the central city.

Zoobomb – The Sunday-night downhill cruise that can only exist in Portland.

Bike St Johns – A network up north.

Bike Milwaukie – One of the region’s most active.

BikeLoudPDX community – For folks who take their fun with a slice of action.

Slow Bikes for All – Not strictly a local group but heavy with Portlanders and with Portland biking values.

Dropout Bike Club – Rides monthly. Freak bikes encouraged; all bikes welcome.

Mujeres en Movimiento – Latinas juntas.

Andando en Bicicletas en Cully – Family rides organized at Hacienda CDC.

Midnight Mystery Ride – Where will it go? The route is new each month, but there will be music on the way, alcohol at the end, and hardly any cars in between.


The Sprockettes – The incomparable women’s bike-dance brigade has graduated into offering a summer camp for girls.

Butts on Bikes – Low-pressure social rides, mostly on the west side.

Cross Crusade – The local racing series is all grown up these days.

Portland and Mt. Hood Fat Bikes – Helping you head for the hills since January 2016.

PDX Fat Bikers – Similar mission, different group, founded 2014.

PNW Bikepacking – A little rubber makes the great outdoors greater.

Carfree Portland – “People thriving in Portland without automobiles, and those who aspire to live carfree.”

River City Ride Partners – Find a buddy.

Bike PSU – Camaraderie, support, advocacy.

Sandy Ridge Trailhead Mountain Bikers – For when you’re missing the forest (or the trees).

Portland Bike Polo – The city’s true hometown sport. HQ: Alberta Park’s tennis courts.

Ten years ago, urban bike fun exploded in Portland around the digital tools of the time: listserv, a calendar and a wiki. Shift became the great bike-fun group of the 2000s. Today it lives on mostly through the annual Pedalpalooza festival it created. But though the traditions, the faces and the communication tools will keep changing, bike fun will always be with us. These days, Facebook is a pretty good place to see it blossom.

Speaking of which: Who’d we miss?

— Michael Andersen, (503) 333-7824 – michael@bikeportland.org

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“Gear Sphere” sculpture coming to North Williams Avenue

“Gear Sphere” sculpture coming to North Williams Avenue

The Gear Sphere sculpture-7.jpg

It’s coming to Williams Avenue.
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

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Artist Ivan McLean.

Portland’s busiest bike street is about to become even more bike-centric. Tomorrow at the corner of North Williams and Cook, crews will install the “Gear Sphere,” a sculpture made out of about 1,300 bicycle chainrings and rear cassettes.

The sculpture is by Ivan McLean, a renowned artist based in North Portland (his shop is in Delia on North Albina north of Rosa Parks Way). McLean was commissioned by LRS Architects to create one of his signature spheres with a bicycle theme in order to “tie into the bike corridor on Williams.” LRS plans to install the sculpture in a planter on the southeast corner of their Cook Street Apartments — directly adjacent to their short-term bike parking racks and a bike lane that sees more daily riders than anywhere in the city (see image below).

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Concept drawing of Cook Street Apartments that includes the sphere.

I stopped by McLean’s shop this morning to get a closer look.

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Human added for context.
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The cassettes bulge out, giving the sculpture more depth and texture.

The sphere is six feet in diameter. McLean partnered with the Community Cycling Center to find the used chainrings. After he used all they could supply he was still several hundred chainrings short, so he ended up laser-cutting some of them himself. There’s a shaft in the middle to add stability and McLean has added several bicycle wheels to it.

While he’s added a glass-bead blasted finish to the parts, some of the chainrings and cassettes have already started to rust. McLean is fine with that. “It will be kind of cool with all the different textures as the rust comes through.”

You might not know his name but you have almost certainly seen McLean’s other work around town. He’s done several pieces for New Seasons Market, including the carrots on Vancouver and Fremont and the fish on the roof of several locations. McClean is also behind the road sign trash cans on Alberta Street; the blue, tree-inspired bike racks at the new Mason-Williams Apartments a few blocks up the road from the Gear Shere; the public benches along Highway 30 through Linnton (where he lives); and others. And if you’ve ever attended the What The Festival in the Gorge, McClean is responsible for the 70-foot long, fire-breathing dragon stage with the 30-foot pagoda that houses a DJ booth. (He’s also profiled in the current issue of 1859 Magazine.)

Speaking of fire, before I left I asked McLean if he had any other thoughts to share about the Gear Sphere. “I’m sad it doesn’t have any flames,” he said, with a smile. “Flames make everything better.”

Next time you’re riding up Williams, remember to look to your left as you cross Cook Street to steal a glance at this fantastic sculpture.

— Jonathan Maus, (503) 706-8804 – jonathan@bikeportland.org

BikePortland can’t survive without paid subscribers. Please sign up today.


The post “Gear Sphere” sculpture coming to North Williams Avenue appeared first on BikePortland.org.

Art project will put Portland riders on a pedestal as climate change heroes

Art project will put Portland riders on a pedestal as climate change heroes

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“Bicyclists are today’s heroes.”
(Photo by Bill Cravis)

Ever felt like you weren’t getting the props you deserve for riding your bike everyday and not spewing toxic, climate-change inducing exhaust into the air? An artist from Bend wants to fix that.

Bill Cravis is an assistant professor in the Fine Art and Communications Department at Central Oregon Community College and his latest art project aims to show how, “bicyclists are today’s heroes – contemporary mavericks who play an active role in reducing the threat of global climate change.”

To make his point, Cravis will set up a photo shoot in the South Park Blocks in front of the Portland Art Museum on October 24th. If you show up, you’ll be asked to climb up onto a miniature plinth with your bike and become a “living statue”. Artist Paula Bullwinklel will then photograph you right next to the bronze statue that depicts Theodore Roosevelt as a Rough Rider.

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All the images will be uploaded to a website and will be available to download for free. Each image will also have a quote from the subject that “relates to his/her use of a bicycle in Portland.”

The event is a benefit for and collaboration between Caldera, an arts non-profit that helps youth with limited opportunites and Fallen Fruit of Portland, a group of artists who use fruit to examine concepts of place, history, and public space.

— For more information about this event, download the flyer (PDF).

— Jonathan Maus
jonathan@bikeportland.org
(503) 706-8804
@BikePortland


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At Chrome store, free waffles and champagne on Messenger Appreciation Day

At Chrome store, free waffles and champagne on Messenger Appreciation Day

messenger with cargo

Greg Doctorelo out on delivery for GO Box.
(Photos © J. Maus/BikePortland)

Today is Messenger Appreciation Day, also known by its messenger code name as “10-9 Day.” To mark the occasion the Chrome Hub store in downtown Portland hosted a free breakfast to these unsung heroes of Portland’s economy.

When I rolled in around 9:30 or so the smell of fresh Belgian waffles and coffee filled the air. Chrome store manager Lilly Hager and her crew had set out a feast for working messengers. There was a tub of champagne, bagels and cream cheese, a dozen donuts, and a sign hanging above it all that read: “Happy Thank You.”

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Lilly Hager displaying her chopstick skills.
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Photographer and messenger Damian Riehl celebrating the day.

While the business of delivering things by bike has changed dramatically over the years, Portland is still home to about two dozen messengers. Or at least two dozen of the classic style of messengers made popular by Hollywood and Madison Avenue ad campaigns over the years.

These “business couriers” or “office guys” have set routes and clients and deal primarily in parcels, blueprints, data files, and other time-sensitive documents. They are a different breed in many ways from the newer-style of bike delivery people that have sprouted up in recent years thanks to companies like B-Line, Portland Pedal Power, Jimmy Johns, and others. Then there are the start-ups like Postmates, Delivery Dudes, and Caviar.

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Jay Grisham has been a messenger in Portland for two years.

“In some ways we’re seeing the death of the industry,” said messenger Jay Grisham as he bit into a waffle, “But in many ways, bicycle delivery has never been stronger.”

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Kevin Phomma stopped by before clocking in for the day.

Jay is one of four bike messengers employed by MercuryPDX. He said working as a messenger in this more traditional role doesn’t pay as well as working for one of those other companies, but for him it’s not all about the money.

“All the perks aren’t financial,” he said. What are the perks I asked? “Freedom.”

“With so many jobs,” he continued, “when you’re not busy, they want you to look busy. But when I’m not busy, I can come here, eat a waffle, read a book. It’s pretty nice.”

And he isn’t envious of people who have to deliver food. “I like carrying envelopes rather than plates you can spill,” he said.

One of Portland’s most established messengers, Dee Branham of Magpie Messenger Collective, was also there this morning. When I came in he was holding up the 2009 Portland City Council proclamation where then Mayor Sam Adams made Messenger Day official.

These days most of Dee’s business comes from doing post office runs. He and the Magpie crew do an early mail run for businesses whose mailperson comes too late in the day and then a similar run in the afternoon.

Dee and Jay both said the messenger scene has remained a pretty close-knit community. One downtown business recently moved to Swan Island so they didn’t need a bike messenger any longer. “He retired,” Dee said, “And there are so few of us that when one person leaves it’s actually a large percentage.”

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Dee pops the cork on a bottle of champagne.

If you see a messenger today, give them a “thank you” or a nod of encouragement. They deserve our gratitude and support!


The post At Chrome store, free waffles and champagne on Messenger Appreciation Day appeared first on BikePortland.org.

Bike riding musician and poet Ben Weaver coming to Velo Cult Thursday night

Bike riding musician and poet Ben Weaver coming to Velo Cult Thursday night

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A bicycle has done much more than simply get musician Ben Weaver to his gigs; the act of pedaling has transformed his music and his mission.

Weaver, who’s set to perform Thursday night at Velo Cult, says something changed deep within him when he stopped touring in a car and started carrying his instruments in bags hooked onto his bike: “Instead of performing in traditional concert settings,” he wrote at BenWeaver.net, “I began building tours around natural spaces, specifically around water. I wanted to give back, build communities, and learn more from the people and places I visited.”

Weaver’s latest tour was a 1,400 mile circumnavigation of Lake Superior. On that ride he had a lot of time to contemplate water in its many forms. The result is his “Surrounding Water” tour which comes to Portland for one night only. At Velo Cult tomorrow, Weaver — who’s described as a musician, poet, letterpress printer and naturalist, — will blend his music and “poetic advocacy” with a talk moderated by bike industry veteran Kevin Murphy.

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Weaver’s fully-loaded Salsa.
(Photo: Ben Weaver)

“We’re going to have a discussion about his mission as a musician on a bike,” Murphy shared with us via email yesterday. “His music is soulful and deep, perhaps as a result of his having lots of time to think it through and work it out along the highway, pedal stroke by pedal stroke.”

Weaver’s work is garnering attention in both the music and cycling press. Mojo Magazine referred to him as the “Hillbilly Leonard Cohen” and he’s the subject of a major feature story in the September issue of Bicycling Magazine.

Here’s an excerpt form that article written by Jonathan Miles:

Ben Weaver’s songs are not about cycling, or even traveling. They’re about the things most songs are about: love, or the lack thereof; the highs and lows of existence, and all their attendant mysteries. They’re gravelly, poetic, musically spare, often a little haunted. Their gritty moodiness stands in contrast to what cycling tends to evoke: sunshine, major chords, quick cadences. But then Weaver—whose thick build and scraggly beard give him the look of a 19th-century lumberjack—hews to few stereotypes of the modern cyclist. He has little interest in data points such as speed or mileage, he’s fond of the occasional cigarette, and his primary source of refueling is Little Debbie snack bars. Yet cycling has become as integral to his life as music is—especially since he joined the two pursuits three years ago.

Tomorrow night’s Velo Cult show is free and it starts at 7:00 pm.

After the show Weaver, 36, will pack up his notebooks and instruments and pedal north for shows in Seattle and Bellingham, Washington.

— Learn more at BenWeaver.net.


The post Bike riding musician and poet Ben Weaver coming to Velo Cult Thursday night appeared first on BikePortland.org.

Learn more about Portland’s new bi-weekly ‘Rush Hour Alleycat’

Learn more about Portland’s new bi-weekly ‘Rush Hour Alleycat’

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The bike scene in Portland is a wonderfully dynamic thing. It never stops evolving and there are always new people, ideas, and events coming into it. As they do, they keep the scene healthy by forcing it to re-invent itself and absorb new perspectives.

Part of my job is to monitor this ecosystem and understand the role that each piece has on the greater whole. One such piece that I’ve recently heard about is the Rush Hour Alleycat.

Like many new things that appear on the Portland bike scene horizon, it starts with some tweets or maybe at text and email or two from the organizer. Then it might gain a Facebook page or website. The event might fizzle out. Or, if enough people link into it, it might sustain itself and build into something special.

(Side note: Have you noticed how big the weekly Thursday Night Ride has gotten? Organizer Nathan Jones (proprietor of Ride Yr Bike bike shop) started it as a way to keep the Pedalpalooza spirit strong. Now it attracts well over 100 people every week. It meets at 7:30 tonight at Salmon Street Fountain if you’re curious.)

Now, back to this Rush Hour Alleycat…

I was curious about it, so I contacted the organizer. His name is Michael and he’s lived in Portland for four years. He moved here from “betw­een the suburbs” surrounding New York and Boston. Michael is currently looking for a job (in food service or sales) so he started creating and printing flyers to occupy himself and earn some extra income. That turned into Gorilla PDX, a business he calls a, “Bicycle powered, street level advertising firm.”

So, why did he start the Rush Hour Alleycat? I’ll let him explain:

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“When I got to Portland, I resumed bic­ycling for the first time as an adult an­d found riding in the city center to be ­much less intimidating than I would have­ expected. I was still shy about riding­ around rush hour, but when forced to co­nfront it, that too was easier than anti­cipated. I strangely felt more confiden­t than at other hours.The cars which p­reviously were passing me too close at 3­0+, were now stacked into neat little ro­ws.

The bicycle is the most free a huma­n being can be in the congestion of a ci­ty center. After learning about Lucas Brunelle on YouTube, I discovered Alleyca­t Races, and it clicked. Here was a way­ for me to celebrate my new found freedo­m, and find other people like me. With t­he same dumpster dive sourced printer, a­nd my amateurish graphic arts skills, I ­set to work ripping off Disney cartoons ­and creating flyers.”

Michael told me his goal with the Alleycat is to find other people who like to ride confidently in rush-hour traffic — like we’ve all seen in those crazy Lucas Brunelle videos. It’s a riding style Michael says is “often maligned.”

While his Alleycats are a race, Michael wants everyone to know that it’s more about participation than competition and that all skill levels are welcome. He even gives out a “really awesome prize” for last place.

So far it appears he’s onto something. Tonight will be the third Rush Hour Alleycat. Just three people showed up for the first one and 12 showed up to the second one. Who knows how big it will be tonight.

Oh, and did I mention that after the Alleycat everyone rides together to the Thursday Night Ride?

— Learn more about alleycats here and get all the details about the Rush Hour event at GorillaPDX.com or on Twitter at @gorillapdx.


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‘Reconnecting the Gorge’ films debut amid enthusiasm for Historic Hwy completion

‘Reconnecting the Gorge’ films debut amid enthusiasm for Historic Hwy completion

Reconnecting The Gorge Series 1/6 – From Historic Road to Trail, by Path Less Pedaled

This story was written by Ted Timmons.

A film premiere in northwest Portland last night highlighted one of the most exciting transportation projects the State of Oregon has ever undertaken — the re-establishment of the 100-year old Historic Columbia River Highway as a biking and walking-friendly byway that hugs the Gorge far away from the dangers, noise, and exhaust fumes of I-84.

This project started in 1996, but gained a significant boost in 2007 with the birth of the Friends of the Historic Columbia River Highway. The 2013 Policymakers’ Ride showed us just how many people are interested in this project.

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Photo by Ted Timmons.

Now, thanks to the excellent film making talents of Russ Roca and Laura Crawford of Path Less Pedaled, the interest and enthusiasm are sure to spread even wider.

Last night Travel Oregon and the Friends group hosted an event at Pacific Northwest College of Art to premiere six new short films produced by Path Less Pedaled. The films were created with the aim to educate more people about the project and stoke enthusiasm that will, hopefully, hasten the completion of the project.

Watch the five other films and you’ll see why so many people are excited about this project:

Reconnecting The Gorge Series 2/6 – Shellrock Mountain, by Path Less Pedaled

Reconnecting The Gorge Series 3/6 – The Mossy Road, by Path Less Pedaled

Reconnecting The Gorge Series 4/6 – Last 5 Miles, by Path Less Pedaled

Reconnecting The Gorge Series 5/6 – Mitchell Point Tunnel, by Path Less Pedaled

Reconnecting The Gorge Series 6/6 – Benefiting Communities, by Path Less Pedaled

At the event we learned that a mere ten miles remain before the Historic Highway will reach the full glory it had when it first opened in 1916. Five miles of those have been funded and construction is scheduled to begin this fall. The construction of a period-appropriate viaduct around Shellrock Mountain (PDF) called the Summit Creek Viaduct will begin in late 2016 and be completed in 2018, with an estimated cost of $2.4 million.

The final five miles will be the most difficult and most expensive – a progress report estimated $32 million for this section. Notably, that includes a tunnel through Mitchell Point. Ironically, the original Columbia River Highway included the Mitchell Point Tunnel, which was a tunnel with five “windows” blasted through the rock. Clearly, a replacement tunnel in 2015 will be substantially more expensive than the original in 1915. Even worse, the tunnel was removed to build I-84, leaving behind unstable rock which makes the construction even more difficult. There was audible excitement when it was announced that the replacement tunnel will also have daylighted sections.

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Several people spoke about the project at the event last night. To me, the most inspiring was Kathy Fitzpatrick, the city manager of Mosier, Oregon. Mosier is located east of Hood River, which means cycling tourists won’t start arriving until after the entire 10 miles of missing trail are completed. Kathy spoke about how Mosier was in a period of decline after losing steamships (Bonneville Dam), freight and passenger train service, and the Historic Highway. The census illustrates this: Mosier had a population of 340 in 1980 and 244 in 1990. Fitzpatrick talked about Mosier’s pub, coffee shop, and Rack and Cloth, a restaurant and cider house. I can’t wait to visit those places when the trail is completed.

Fitzpatrick also mentioned the concept of a “bike hub” in Mosier and other cities in the Gorge. It’s a brilliant idea — kiosks where cyclists can access tools, see a map of local amenities, relax, and perhaps recharge a cell phone. Metro gave a grant of $50,000 for the Gorge Hubs earlier this year.

On a somber note, the importance of completing the Historic Highway was underscored last year when Ellen Dittebrandt was killed in a collision while she cycled on the shoulder of I-84. When the Historic Highway is completed, people won’t be forced into that dangerous situation.

— To learn more about this project, see ODOT’s HCRH Plans and Reports, information at Friends of HCRH, and previous BikePortland coverage.


The post ‘Reconnecting the Gorge’ films debut amid enthusiasm for Historic Hwy completion appeared first on BikePortland.org.

Guest article: Biking on the cheap

Guest article: Biking on the cheap

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Reuben Deumling.
(Photos © J. Maus/BikePortland)

This article was written by Reuben Deumling, a Portland resident, active participant in the local cargo biking scene, and frequent commenter who some of you may know as “9watts.” You might also recall the cool, DIY wooden child seat he shared with us back in 2010.

——

I often read here on BikePortland about $5,000 singlespeeds and $6,000 cargo bikes, and I think about a lifetime of used or discarded bikes I’ve fixed up and ridden or resold. I enjoy the lines of a Vanilla or Ahearne or Bullitt as much as the next person, but choosing to live lower on the pecuniary totem pole, that is just not my market.

I’d like to share what the economics of bicycling looks like from my perspective.

Part of the fun of not owning a car is that you avoid all the bills — gas, oil, insurance, parking, and repairs, (not to mention buying the car itself and eventually replacing it) — that come with it. For me, that statistic you read about that suggests the average car-owning household spends around $9,000 per year in car-related expenses, is inconceivable given how our household has chosen to spend money.

I’ve often gotten the impression that many people believe you have only two options when considering a new bike: (1) spend $1,500 at a local shop, or (2) reward thieves by looking for a questionable bike on Craigslist. My experience has been quite different.

Over the past nine years, my family of three has spent an average of just over $2,000 on transportation annually, of which 50% goes for the once-a-year airplane trip to visit my in-laws (I know – a carbon disaster!), while the remaining $1,000 are divided among bikes ($400), busses, and trains ($400), and auto-related costs (when we hitch a ride, take a taxi, or rent a Zipcar) ($230).

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The $400 we spend on bikey things in an average year goes for bikes (our daughter has used and grown out of I think seven used bikes already), parts, accessories, and the occasional tool ($270); bike trailers ($50); and panniers, helmets, and clothing ($90).

For me, the best part is that most of the money I spend on bikes and trailers and panniers and racks stays right here in Portland, and, like the bikes themselves, the money continues to circulate in our community.

Often here on BikePortland we discuss the fact that we-who-bike depend on the global economy, oil, and things made-in-China like everyone else, since our bikes and parts are now assumed to have been made over there and shipped halfway around the world. And this is probably largely true when it comes to a new brake pad or chain or derailleur cable. But taking a larger view of owning and maintaining a bike, it is possible to go about this in a manner that is far less dependent on that kind of commerce and rapid replacement schedule.

There are, after all, millions of used bikes, dumpstered tires, wheels left out on the curb, and used parts bins in bike stores. Holding on to the bike you have, or finding a decent used one, and making it last a lifetime is in most cases entirely possible. But does anyone still do this? Yes! And we don’t all have the same reasons.

For some of us there is satisfaction in making the cast-offs, garage sale bikes, and parts that someone else doesn’t want anymore work as well as whatever the Bike Shop or the internet has to offer this month. For others, the opportunity to avoid buying plastic parts made in Asia is a chief motivation.

Some of you might be tempted to dismiss this approach, and assume it is solely because we don’t have much money. But I think you’d be missing a lot if you did.

For me, the best part is that most of the money I spend on bikes and trailers and panniers and racks stays right here in Portland, and, like the bikes themselves, the money continues to circulate in our community.

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Citybikes is a good source for used parts.

The only bike I ever bought new was a 1987 Schwinn Cimarron MTB when I was sixteen. It cost $700.00. I’ve owned and ridden other bikes since then, but all were acquired used, and maintained or pieced together from my stash of parts. I can usually find a complete bike that may have retailed for a lot when new, but now just needs a tuneup, for less than $100. The bike stores I’ve long preferred also sell used parts and accessories. Looking through the bins at the Citybikes at 1914 SE Ankeny, or scanning Craigslist for (mountain) bikes from the late eighties always yields something useful and often fairly cheap.

Case in point: I rode my 28 year-old Schwinn mountain bike to Citybikes just this morning and came home with some lightly used Kool Stop cantilever brake pads for $4.00.

I don’t think any of us are getting rich recycling used parts into “new” bikes — but we end up with bikes that can serve us well, and that we are able to maintain, find parts for, and keep riding, year after year, decade after decade.


The post Guest article: Biking on the cheap appeared first on BikePortland.org.

Meet Aixe Djelal, the ‘helmetographer’ behind BicycleHead

Meet Aixe Djelal, the ‘helmetographer’ behind BicycleHead

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All images by Aixe Djelal.

I’m not sure how I stumbled onto the work of Aixe Djelal (pronounced “eye-SHAY ja-LAL”), but now I find myself checking her latest images several times per week. I think it’s the randomness of them, or maybe it’s how she captures the ephemeral vignettes I often see myself but rarely capture.

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Djelal, the woman behind the BicycleHead website and Instagram account has been publishing (almost) daily images of Portland bike riders since May 2013. What sets her images apart is that she never even looks at her subject and all her shots are completely hands-free.

That’s because Djelal is a self-described “helmetographer” whose images are created with a camera mounted to her helmet that’s always on during her daily bike commute. The result is a running narrative of what it’s like to ride a bike in Portland in all it’s exhilirating, fun, stressful, annoying — and always interesting — glory.

I recently caught up with Djelal and asked her a few questions via email…

First, a bit of personal background. What part of town do you live in?

I live in the Sunnyside neighborhood of Southeast Portland.

How long have you lived in Portland?

I moved here in 1989 to go to Reed College, and I’ve lived here ever since (with the exception of graduate school in Arizona, which made me love cycling in Portland even more). The bicycle has been my primary form of transportation most of my life.

What do you do when not taking bike photos?

I’m a senior web project manager at OHSU and I also help my husband Matt Proctor run his electric guitar making business, M-tone Guitars. When I’m not riding my bike, you can usually find me walking all over Portland. I also like to take photos of local bands and BMX freestyle jams, and I daydream about extending my helmetography project all over the world.

What motived you to start BicycleHead?

In 2013, an irate driver tried to run me off the road in downtown Portland. I got a helmet camera to capture video of my rides in case another driver threw a baby fit about cyclists using the road. Once I saw a couple of my rides on video, I realized I was getting some cool scenes of Portland that would be a lot more interesting as still photography. The goal of my helmetography is to share Portland from a year-round bicycle commuter’s point of view. People all over the world seem to have an interest in Portland bicycle culture right now, and my helmetography helps paint a picture of what it’s like to ride here.

What is your camera set-up and how do you get your shots?

I use a Contour Roam2 camera mounted on a Bell Muni helmet. The camera has a 170 degree lens which gives the photos a slightly fish-eyed dreamy look. It is set to intervelometer mode: as soon as I turn it on it automatically shoots a still every three seconds. I discovered that I get better photos when I point the camera backwards, so I do that most of the time. My standard commute is six miles round trip, though sometimes I will ride different, longer routes to keep the helmetography fresh. I like riding slowly, so every night I sort through 500-900 photos and keep maybe a couple. It’s a somewhat compulsive, time consuming project, but I really love sharing Portland through my bicycle commuter lens.

What’s the most surprising thing you’ve captured on camera?

Some of my most interesting shots are of infrequent snow (mostly because it’s unusual), tail lights in thick fog, a guy shoving a crossfit sled down the street like Sisyphus, a right to sleep demonstration that was an offshoot of Occupy Portland, and most recently, the protest ride in response to the uptick of motorists hitting cyclists in May 2015. After 26 years, I consider Portland a fairly normal place to live and ride, but when people from other places see my photos they are surprised how many cyclists there are on the road.At this point I plan to keep on going with my helmetography. I enjoy it, others seem to as well, and I am happy show what a joy it is to ride a bicycle!

Check out a few more of Djelal’s images below, or see them all at BicycleHead.com.

2014-09-12_sunny_tieandtruck

“The necktie and the truck” (9/12/14)

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wedgeofbluethroughunderpass

“Wedge of blue through underpass” (1/24/14)
cyclist-streaming-away-from-sunset

“Cyclists streaming away from sunset.” (4/22/15)
2014-07-22_cloudy_doggybag

“Doggy bag” (7/22/14)
2015-05-12_downboundtrain

“Downbound train” (5/12/15)
2015-04-20_shadows-gliding-down-salmon-street

“Shadows gliding down Salmon Street.” (4/20/15)

BicycleHead.com


The post Meet Aixe Djelal, the ‘helmetographer’ behind BicycleHead appeared first on BikePortland.org.

Cycling beyond 80: Providence sponsors trike ride for senior residents (photos)

Cycling beyond 80: Providence sponsors trike ride for senior residents (photos)

smiles

The weather was perfect for a pedicab trip to Peninsula Park.
(Photos: M.Andersen/BikePortland)

A cohort of residents at local senior housing facilities took a roll through North Portland in style Wednesday, including one 96-year-old taking her first cycle trip ever.

Organized by local bicycling advocate and Providence Elderplace optometrist A.J. Zelada and sponsored by Providence as an Earth Day-themed event in its Elderplace program, the pedicab and cargo bike ride from North Albina Avenue to Peninsula Park drew smiles from participants of at least four generations.

“I rode a bicycle,” said Luu Quaiuu, a native Cantonese speaker, in broken English, before being helped into the bucket of a cargo trike. “But now I’m very old.”

swaddled

Luu Quaiuu, bundled up.

Carol Freda, 76, said she hadn’t ridden since moving from Chicago to Portland 20 years ago to live near her late sister.

“When I came here I stopped riding altogether,” Freda said. “I can go down the hill but I can’t go back up. I would get asthma attacks. It’s just not worth it.”

helmet fit

Carol Freda, right.

Freda said that among Elderplace’s events, this ride rated an 8 or 9 out of 10.

“Since we got Dustin, we’ve had a lot more interesting outings,” said Freda, who said she doesn’t get a lot of other social time since her sister died a few years ago and her niece moved out of town.

zelada blanket

Dustin Razo, Elderplace’s life enrichment coordinator, said Providence Elderplace’s other activities include a competitive beanbag team, a watercolor class for people experiencing cognitive loss, and sessions listening to history podcasts.

“Most sites offer the standard bingo, birthdays, singers,” he added. But other sites, he said, focus on people in their 70s, 80s and 90s. “We’re more like 55 to 75. They want to do stuff.”

The ride set out from Elderplace’s Marie Smith Center on North Albina a little before noon, with Portland Pedicabs providing some of the chauffeur services.

pedicabs

waving

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The ride even had music. Biking advocate Kiel Johnson had shown up with an on-bike speaker system playing Frank Sinatra classics.

music

happy box bike

little bit

thumbsup

“This is an attempt to start really making the 8 to 80 rule of active transportation
a reality for an inclusiveness of ALL,” Zelada, himself a regular participant of Shift bike fun events, wrote in an email. “I think this is a prelude for all the Shifties as we all enter those golden years.”

michigan

Martine Sacks (center below) was among the skilled corkers; I only noticed one honk from someone annoyed to wait for the ride to cross a street.

corkers

sharrows

There was also a little bit of tension when one of the trikes got stuck briefly entering Peninsula Park, causing a backup on North Albina Avenue. But a couple of the participants were pretty effective ambassadors, waving in thanks to people in cars while the problem was resolved.

ambassadors

into the park

At the park, Zelada gave a short address at the bandstand about its history — envisioned, like many other parks in Portland and around the country, by the Olmstead brothers.

jerry opening

jerry talking

And then the pedicabs headed down into the park’s rose garden for a few loops around the fountain, followed by a stop for picnic snacks.

park circuit

“Maybe a 96-year-old can do this after all,” said one participant, Fran Woolford, who is only a bit younger than the fountain. Woolford, whose birthday was this month, said she’d received a bicycle from her aunt when she was a little girl, but had never actually used it.

City staffer Greg Raisman, there to document the event, asked Woolford how she liked her first ride.

“So far,” she said, “it’s fun.”

John Bilinowich, who was driving the van that would take people home after the event, agreed.

“It’d be more fun than riding in the vans, that’s for sure,” he said. “They’re meant to haul stuff, not people.”

The post Cycling beyond 80: Providence sponsors trike ride for senior residents (photos) appeared first on BikePortland.org.