From U-Haul to You-Haul

I’m going, how about anybody else? If so, I’ll see you at…

HOW TO MOVE BY BIKE presented by Steph Routh

Moving to a new home is often considered one of life’s top 10 most stressful events, but it doesn’t have to be! Add bikes, have fun. Bike moves transform a task traditionally filled with untold drudgery into a stuff parade and a housewarming party. In Portland and beyond, moving by bike has become a growing movement.

Steph Routh has participated in 67 bike moves to date and is author of the book “How to Move by Bike.” She is also the Mayor of Hopscotch Town, a consulting and small publishing firm that inspires and celebrates fun, lovable places for everyone. You can find her on the web at hopscotchtown.com and follow her on Twitter @stephrouth.

*Special bonus opportunity – join Steph at “I <Heart> Cargo Bikes” on Thursday, Feb. 13th, hosted by Splendid Cycles, 407 SE Ivon St. Kids activities from 3-5 pm, reception 5-7 pm.*

Bicycle Lunch and Learn
Thursday, February 20th, 12 to 1 pm
City Hall, 1221 SW 4th Ave, 2nd Floor -Lovejoy Room
(bring your lunch!)

Cuz’ The Northwest is Rocking the Cycling and Seattle is Starting to Lead the Pack!

Recently Seattle stepped up its game even more. Not only is a streetcar line soon to open between King Street Station, First Hill and Capital Hill but also a cycle track is going in on Broadway. I knew all about the streetcar line going in but holy moly I’d no idea they were getting a cycle track too. A trip will be scheduled and I’ll be aiming to bring some of the cycle track and streetcar action to you via Transit Sleuth TV once they’re both open! Here’s a sneak peek via Streetsblog.

The streetcar system is connecting three major points in Seattle, this is going to be a pretty big deal. Here’s a summary of the four places. For more official information about the streetcar service, check out Seattle Streetcar.

King Street Station @ Pioneer Square area to Chinatown then thru First Hill & Capital Hill

King Street Station is the Amtrak Station that has recently been returned to it’s proper magnificent glory of yesteryear. In some ways it is also the northern terminus for Sounder commuter rail service from Tacoma and the southern terminus for Sounder service to Everett. It’s a gorgeous station, worth a trip by itself. There are a number of other things in the Pioneer Square area of downtown Seattle that are worth checking out. This area along with King Street Station is basically the southern terminus of the line. The line then traverses part of the International District (or still commonly referred to as Chinatown in Seattle) and then turns in the First Hill area. It continues through the First Hill area and into Capital Hill, which is one of the dense urban areas of the city where music, art and livability thrive. It also is partly rooted to the future Link Light Rail Station for Capital Hill. This connection point is poised to be one of the busiest areas of the city in the coming years, easily transforming the very vibrancy and life of Seattle.

The Broadway Cycletrack

If there is a sure fire way to avoid streetcar tracks on a bike, it’s to have a cycle track right next to them! Seattle has planned for this and the Broadway Street segment is going to have just that. Here’s a cross cut view of the cycle track next to the streetcar and road traffic on Broadway.

Seattle Transportation Department also has more information about cycletracks going in around Seattle along with some information about ones elsewhere.

Detroit, More Grass Roots to Show Us How To Do It!

So Detroit has been notorious for hitting the bottom of the barrel. In large part because so many people that should have cared, gave up and surrendered the city. Also because the city was run inappropriately. The list of issues, concerns, screw ups, racism, discrimination, spite, infighting, bad culture, car dependency and other things that have sunk this once great city is long. Extremely long. One thing that is becoming apparent though, and if the citizens of the once great city have anything to do about it, is that the city has life and that life intends to live well. It intends to give the city a rebirth of sorts.

Of course, there are a number of completely idiotic things that the city is doing, such as taking money to expand an interstate. Note, the city is at about 600k people versus the 2+ million the infrastructure is designed for. However, as I was saying, even in spite of these completely insane moves that are further sinking the city government, the city’s people are breathing new life into things that truly matter. Here’s a video of some of the cycling community taking to the streets for critical mass, to help out kids and provide after school activities and more. It’s a very heart lifting video.

Also, if that isn’t enough, Detroit has lit off one very unique bus company too. (I previously posted this some months ago, but it’s worth mentioning again!)

Reading Portland Transport, The Roman Candle Bakery Came Up…

There’s an article over at Chris Smith’s blog Portland Transport on “Repeating the Sins of Other Modes“. I left a comment since I’m intimately familiar with the area now. I’ll leave it to you to read the article (even you guys that were jack asses and got banned from commenting can at least read it). Here’s my comment however on Division Street and the immediately few blocks where the Roman Candle Bakery Co. is located at.

“Ah, very cool you stopped by there. It’s a great joint. I live barely a block away and am there regularly. The bike racks are routinely consumed by the employees of Roman Candle and the other businesses that are located in that building (there are more than the two you can see from the street). In addition there is minimal parking for bikes near the car-free apartments also, which has street level businesses. Matter of fact, let’s lay this out real quick.

Roman Candle*, Pok Pok, Whiskey Soda, Caffe Pallino, Kuava House, Detour Cafe, Artigiano, Salt & Straw* and other businesses along this street ALL have significant numbers of employees that bike to work. All stats that the city has zero way to measure – pumping up bike commuter numbers even higher than they appear in trending analysis. The #4 brings nobody to work that I’ve observed to any of these businesses. It does however bring customers. The irony is, there is this big complaint about the supposed lack of auto-parking in the area, which may one day exist. Currently though the only REAL shortage of parking is for cyclists along this route. During the course of the day all the parking, corals, bike racks on sidewalk and more are routinely filled up along with all the signs and posts of sorts along the way.

The cycling traffic in this corridor is only posed to explode even more with the Clinton Street bike corridor connecting directly to the bike highway over the new transit/ped/bike bridge.

Anyway, that might shine some insight on this area. It’s heavily, HEAVILY trafficked by bikes.

A few more tidbits.

One thing I noticed about people – that are obviously not Portlanders – is they tend to come in two different ways to the area to eat, drink and be merry. The Vancouverites who can’t seem to put one foot in front of the other come by car. People from New York, Chicago, San Francisco and other cities almost always come by cab. On Friday and Saturday night Pok Pok has an almost unending stream of Taxis bringing 1, 2, 3 and sometimes 4 or 5 people to Pok Pok. The line doesn’t end until late and the businesses across the street also routinely have taxis dropping people off. This is a great thing considering many, if not all partake in good beverages over there. Usually not to the point of “drunkiness” but it sure beats em’ trying to drive to and fro.

Overall, in the near future it appears that two major things will have to happen at some point.

1. Something is going to need to be done with the automobiles on Clinton that use it as a thruway to 39th. They speed and more than a few end up just blowing through the stop signs and pass dangerously, ESPECIALLY during rush hour when Clinton Street is packed with an unending stream of cyclists going by. I do mean unending too. Often spaced side by side or one after another, sometimes packed together. But from about 4-6pm the road should be primarily cyclists, the motorists pose a dangerous risk and are not following the intended corridor of Division.

2. Transit service is going to need bumped up as well as bicycle amenities along this corridor. If the apartments that are car-free are truly going to attract people without cars (which there is reasonable estimation that a number of people there will actually be car-free) they’ll really need to have some bus service, and right now the #4 is not particularly frequent nor is it reliable. Maybe that’ll change one day but right now… damn it’s frustrating when there is commonly a gap between buses that exceeds 30 minutes when they’re supposed to be *frequent*.”

So go leave a comment over there or leave one here, whatever the case. What would your solutions be to the pending carpocalypse of parkingocalypse in the Division street area? I’m real curious what you think of the pending issues with the Clinton Street bike boulevard corridor. A street which is by all means paid for with general budget funds with not a penny to be seen from the gas tax. Do bikes, the most numerous and efficient users of the street get a little protection or do the corridor runners get precedence still? Sharing is all grand (not really for many) but when you’re routinely threatened because the cars can’t “get around” ya through the small road and they start playing chicken with the oncoming traffic, things are about to get super sketch.

I Was Asked, “What do you do to fight…?”

What do I do to fight to improve our lives, our communities our city and our society? That was the question, paraphrased. My response,

“I don’t drive, don’t consume any oil products directly and try to minimize air travel and use rail or other means for longer distance trips when possible. Minimizing oil usage is difficult in these times since it has been pushed into the cornerstone of so many daily products: from diapers to the automobile.

I also make a point to support local co-ops that provide freshly grown food within 50-100 miles of where I live. I cook, sometimes eat out and eat foods that aren’t genetically modified. I’m actively involved in groups working to stop lawsuits to eliminate organic foods (Monsanto has tried in numerous states to sue any farmers that don’t use Monsanto’s genetically modified seed). I will work with and help anybody else as I can to stop these types of lawsuits, these absurd notions of “patenting life“, etc.

I stay in reasonable physical condition merely by living healthy, eating well and staying active. I cycle, I walk and generally I live actively. It goes a long way in making a happy life.

I work diligently to promote better lifestyles than the consumption based, debt oriented, auto dependent fiat currency based modes that are currently – for now – prominent in the United States.

I work in community groups to support children being able to ride their bikes to school, to ensure that neighborhoods are built reasonable with walkability – i.e. human beings in mind – so that no matter the limitations at least 99% of the populace can get to a grocery store, to a school, to a nearby park safely without the necessity of a car or other transportation requirement.

I work with economic development groups to align job location (albeit sometimes companies just don’t give a flying hoot) a reasonable distance from where the workforce is. It’s insane to think anybody travels more than 5-10 miles to work. Nobody should have to travel more than 1-3 miles to work. In the coming years, it will become economically, environmentally and emotionally unreasonable to do such things. In addition, if we keep transforming the way we live utilizing what we’ve learned from history – and trying new techniques to live, locate, get to work and other such ideas people in general won’t find it acceptable to travel such egregious distances to work anyway. (Imagine gas at $15 bucks a gallon, reflecting a more realistic unsubsidized cost of exploration, losses, costs, etc, then tack onto that the cost of roadways actually being reflected in tolls and other taxes to maintain them, we leap from a few pennies a mile of direct taxation to about a buck a mile of costs/taxation, etc). Meanwhile transit, biking and walking are all exponentially cheaper, easier to manage and more resilient to these high costs – especially for the general population.

I also produce and attempt to write on a regular basis an effective way to live without all the incredulous waste and servitude of a debt based, auto dependent lifestyle (sometimes here, sometimes elsewhere). In addition to writing I also work with videographers to put together other material that shows how easy it is to live well, without making huge changes. Just by merely thinking through the day better and stepping away from the “regular” lifestyle.

I petition and advocate at Government (because I won’t work for them), I work with companies, especially companies that give a hoot (and there ARE a LOT of them), I work with individuals and I work with my local community neighborhood groups & others to do the above things.

Simply, I try to right the wrongs, educate and improve what we as a society are doing today. All while trying to repair the damage that is already done. I do so through no use of force, only through passion and education. So maybe, if it isn’t my children, somebody’s children can have a better life. Because the immediate next generation (and the millennials) have been handed a lump of coal.

…so that’s what I mean by fighting.”

This all got me thinking. Maybe I should update my manifesto a bit. Thus, an updated Manifesto.

This thinking also got me wondering, what other things could I do? What do you do? How do you squelch the apathy and improve things in your community?

Cheers, Transit Sleuth.

Super Casual Fixie Bike Technology!

After months of hard work I’ve finally developed a new bike technology that I’m calling the “Super Casual Fixie Bike”! Check it out!

NOTE: Yes, I’m being sarcastic, as it only took a few minutes of tongue in cheek video absurdity to put the “Super Casual Fixie Bike” together!

Joining Bicycle Transportation Alliance, Velo Cult and Night Time Wild Ride Race vs. Bus #75 & Bus #4…

I joined the BTA finally, after meaning to for years. Met Carl & others at Velo Cult. I needed to meet a fellow coder, cyclist and cool guy Benjamin Van der Veen over there to wrap up some business. I noticed that Velo Cult was having happy hour, he’d mentioned he wanted to check it out, so we setup to meet there at 6:00pm.

I rode out Multnomah, cutting around through the bike boulevards toward the Hollywood District where Velo Cult is on 42nd Ave just off of Sandy. I got there just a few minutes early and locked up my bike in the bike corral out front. As I walked in the door I realized that a special guest appearance by retired road racing cyclist Nelson Vails would be in store tonight! Call me stoked, and here’s a little background.

• 2009 Inductee to the US Bicycle Hall of Fame

• 1984 Olympics: Track – Sprint Silver, 1984

• First African-American to win an Olympic Cycling Medal

• 1985 World Championships: Tandem Sprint, Silver

• 1984, 1985, 1986 National Tandem Sprint Champion

• 1984 National Sprint Champion

• 1983 Pan American Games: Gold Medal

• 1980s and 1990s competed professionally in the 6-Day circuits in Europe and the Japanese Keirin events.

• Media Cycling commentator involved in cycling commentator for major TV networks and cycling safety programs.

• Starred with Kevin Bacon in the Columbia Pictures release of “Quicksilver”, a movie about the tough world of bicycle messengers in New York City.

Yup, this guy has ripped it up over the years. He showed a few of his races and gave some commentary about his insight, strategy and approach in each of them. Overall, great to hear about his races from him personally.

Benjamin showed up and we snagged a beer, finished the business we had to do and commenced to just hang out. The BTA was taking memberships and since it’d been years that I had intended to join, I figured today was the day. I went over and met Carl handling registrations and got signed up in just a few minutes. Now I’m a proud member of the Bicycle Transportation Alliance!

Joining the BTA

If you’re curious what the BTA does, besides simply helping to make America not suck so bad at life, here’s a few of the cool things…

Walk + Bike to School Network : You know how you hear about police arresting parents for letting their kids ride their bikes to school? You know how in most of America now kids can’t ride their bikes to school, often can’t even bike or walk to school, because it’s just too dangerous. Well, the BTA works diligently to make sure that is never going to happen in Portland!

Walk + Bike to Work : Not sure how to bike to your office? The BTA has workshops to help people figure out how to get to work, in one piece, in good fashion, and generally be awesome while doing it!

…and much more!

The Race Begins

After Velo Cult dinner was had and then a race began. Kristen and I were here, in Hollywood area and home was many blocks away in southeast Portland. We went to wait for the bus at 42nd and Sandy. I of course was going to end up riding and she was going to take the bus, since she was bike-less and I was bus pass-less. The #75 route bus arrived and she boarded.

The bus make the green light and I was stuck behind at a red light. I saw it disappear a block away around the corner. The light turned green and I tore through the intersection cranking hard. I dug into the turn that the bus had just gone through seconds before. There was the bus stuck at the next red light. I pulled up behind it. The bus slowly moved forward and I sprung around it to the left as it turned right into the Hollywood Transit Center.

I rode up to the 3 story flight of stairs and jumped off my bike, slung it upon my arm and started hoofing it up the steps. The #75 started to pull away behind me to get back on the main road. I got to the top of the steps and rode across the Interstate on the biking & pedestrian overpass, turned hard onto the switchback on the other side. It was entirely empty. I stay safe and don’t want to injure anyone, so go super slow when pedestrians are around or if there is auto traffic.

I made it around the switchbacks and into the north south bike boulevard and immediately started cranking hard. I ripped through the neighborhoods in the darkness. I could feel the breeze and dryness of my eyes as the wind whipped around me. Through the ups and downs in the road I swerved in and out keeping a smooth line. I made it to the main arterials; Belmont and then Hawthorne. I then got the Lincoln street bike boulevard and cut down to 39th, where I figured I would see the #75 coming.

Sure enough here comes the bus and I have a red at the bike boulevard crossing! Arrgh the bus is going to get ahead of me again! I wait, impatiently, and the bus passes. As soon as the light turns green I rip into 39th, with no traffic I go bold and follow directly behind the bus. I actually catch up and am traveling faster than the bus. I have to brake. Then it actually starts to brake too for the upcoming stop, the stop were Kristen will get off the bus to transfer to the Division #4 route. It stops and I pull up, standing there as if I’d been at the stop for ages.

Kristen gets off the bus and gets a little confused as to which direction is which, we figure out we’re going to the stop westward. At first it seems like it’ll be a short distance, but we quickly realize it is closed. We keep walking and get to the next stop. I wait with her for the next bus which pulls up just a few minutes later. I again take off behind the #4 bus (I NEVER like to be anywhere near the front of the bus).

After barely a half block I cut off to the left, south to the Clinton Street bike boulevard. I turn onto the clinton street boulevard hard. I can hear my tire gripping the road. There are a few tweaks in the bike, kind of like hearing the bike itself moan under the force of my pushing it into this hard turn. It’s a Surly 4130 cromoly CrossCheck, so I know it’ll hold up though.

I continue to push hard, cranking against the chain hard I can feel things flex on the bike. I had not ridden this hard in a while. I tend to ride fairly easy and take care of the bike. But today I’m having fun, I’m pushing the envelope, I’m tasting the speed and the fresh air and the night. Blazing down the bike boulevard I make it down the street super fast and then turn at 12th (having just ridden from 39th to 12th in just a few minutes). At 12th I come upon Division, the street the #4 travels down and see it pulling away from the 12th and Division stop. I blaze by the stop on 12th and continue toward home…

I’ve won, while being good company while waiting for the buses, with a solid 30+ seconds to spare!  😉

Of course, if I’d ridden straight through, I’d have been about 10-15 minutes ahead of the bus. But it was a game of wait and go tonight. Fun for all, a great day, great ride, great new people and a new BTA membership and beer run to Velo Cult. Cheers