Ride Me is dedicated to the lifestyle and culture of living Car Free in Portland, Or. Traveling only by bike and public transit is a great way to get around the Rose City.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Copenhagen leading the charge!

We all love Amsterdam, sure.

There's Hookers, Hash and Heineken a plenty, and oh yeah, a pretty fabulous cycling culture throughout the entire country as well.

What about their Scandinavian cousins to the north?

You know, the Danish..?

It seems the Danes have taken a pretty big bite out of the cycle culture pie as well. With the goal of becoming "the best cycling city in the world" Copenhagen's Mayor Klaus Bondam just put forth a proposal that would make even the most ardent Dutch cyclist take a second glance.

On May 30th Mayor Bondam presented the Copenhagen Bicycle Proposal which for DKK 75 million ( $13.5 million US) will make it more fun to ride a bicycle and hopefully also tempt more people to use their bicycles.

"The more people bicycling and the more people who will stop using their cars every day, the more we will contribute to lower the CO2 emission. 14 per cent more cyclists will contribute to 80,000 less CO2 emission. The number of accidents in Copenhagen is not high, however, it is still our ambition to half the number of accidents on bicycles, because if you feel safe, you will also feel like riding your bike" , says Mayor Bondam.

It's refreshing to hear a politician talking about ACTUALLY changing our behavior as way to curb emissions. I think that the already cycle-savy Danes will also benefit from increased health and a connection to the community as well.

I'd like to issue a challenge to our State and Local leaders to follow Mayor Bondam's lead. Take a look at our fair Rose City, we're pretty cycle friendly, but I think we could do more by simply driving less.

C'mon Mayor Potter, Commissioner Adams and all the others down there at City Hall. Stop pandering to the car! Forget about " Auto-Couplets", increased Parking and Freeways.

Those things are Dinosaurs, man.

Ride free.

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Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Clever Cycles nears opening day

Today on my ride home I happened to stop by Clever Cycles and talk with Todd. As we talked he showed me around the shop and subterranean vault of Oma and Bakfietsen they have to offer. The shop will have a 'soft opening' on June 1 with a Grand Opening coming later.
I for one cannot wait to see the impact these bikes will have on the cycling landscape of Portland.
Good luck Clever Cycles...!

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What are YOU doing in the middle of the street...?

I have to admit when I first heard those words, I was slightly surprised. This morning as I rode to work, while in the middle of the left-hand lane on SW Oak, I looked over to my right and there was an angry motorist intentionally moving toward me, forcing me into the parked cars, while shrieking for me to "get on the sidewalk..." The ensuing interaction is not worth noting word for word. Suffice it to say she felt that bikes not only have no right to be on the street, but my safety was not worthy of consideration. After she informed me that she would " run me down in a second..." I felt it best to move aside and let her get on her way.
Recently, I read comments on the bikeportland.org forum to a similar effect. It seems the author was confronted by a person who felt cyclists are not allowed on the streets...
How is it possible in a city like Portland that folks truly believe bikes no longer belong on the street?

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Monday, May 21, 2007

What DOES it take to be Bike Friendly..?

A recent article by Alan Durning on the Sightline Institute blog asks that very question.
I think there are some very good points made in the article and in readers comments. Primarily it is the perception of rider's safety that is limiting more ridership.
How do we change that perception you ask?
Good question.
As I've said before I think the root is creating a network of separated bikeways and providing for "bike first" right of way laws. I know there are folks who don't agree with that. Even folks who would consider themselves pro-bike fear that removing bikes from the street traffic somehow diminishes our rights as cyclists. Face it, if you expect to live without cars then we need to be safe. If you continue to share driving space with the motorists YOU WILL BE IN DANGER at least at some point.
Separate but equal.

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Thursday, May 17, 2007

World's First Car-Free City

The UK Architecture firm Foster and Partners has announced that the walled city of Masdar in Abu Dhabi, being designed by the firm, will be the world's first zero-carbon, zero-waste city.

Unveiled on May 8th at the Cityscape conference in Abu Dhabi, Foster + Partners said Masdar would be a dense, walled development constructed in two stages. The first phase would see the construction of a large photovoltaic power plant, which would later become the site for the second phase.

The surrounding land will contain wind, photovoltaic farms, research fields and plantations, so that the city will be entirely self-sustaining, the architect said.

The development is set to open in late 2009.


Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Ride of silence

Around the World today the Ride of Silence honors the memory of those who have been killed or injured while cycling on roadways. In Portland there were rides on the East and West sides this evening at 7 pm.

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Raliegh Superbe

I just got my UK issue Raleigh Superbe. Based on the serial # I think it's a '78 model. I love these old English 3 speeds.Built to last and super retro-cool. It will take me a few weeks to restore it to gleaming condition, but when I do... LOOK OUT!
All I need now is a tweed jacket and a pipe... tally-ho.

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Get Dustin a NEW Bike

Let's pool together and Dustin Kent a new bike. Bikeportland.org just reported about Dustin's near death experience on the I-205 bridge bike path last week as a NISSAN PICK UP attempted to run him down. The end result was a crushed bike and fairly shaken cyclist.
If you can help out leave your name, email and amount you can contribute in the comments and I will contact you to let you know where to send your support
Thanks to Jonathon at bikeportland.org for bringing this to the community's attention.

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Bike to Work Week- May 14-20

This week is Bike to Work Week with events in Portland starting Wednesday the 16th with the Bike to Work Breakfast.
Get out, ride your bike, and encourage a co-worker, friend or relative to do the same.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

On yer Left...!

I have to say, when I hear " ON YER LEFT..." barked at me from behind, it startles me. It seems that using a bell is a much better way to warn someone that a cyclist is about to overtake them. Recent discussions on the bikeportland.org forums show that the community is mixed in it's feeling as to whether bells or barking are the preferred measure of warning.

Vote one for bells here. Jing-Jing...

That's why I was glad to see there will be a new program, called "Bells on Bridges" organized by Margaret Weddell of the CCC to distribute and install FREE bike bells, courtesy of Bike Gallery, on the Westbound side of the Hawthorne Bridge starting Thursday 5/15 from 7:15 - 8:30, along with coffee and goodies.

Stop by get a free bell and leaving the barking to the dogs.

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Monday, May 14, 2007

Ouch, I think a truck ran over my head

Ryan Lipscomb a college student at the University of Wisconsin was recently run over while riding his bike along the East Isthmus Bike Path in Madison, Wisc.
He flipped his bike at an intersection and an oncoming Delivery Truck RAN OVER HIS HEAD. You might think that is a blog-worthy incident right there, until you hear HE WASN'T HURT, except for a mild concussion. His helmet, a Giro, was crushed, but Lipscomb's head was fine.
"I didn't see it coming, but I sure felt it roll over my head. It feels really strange to have a truck run over your head", said Lipscomb after being released from the hospital.

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Sunday, May 13, 2007

Bike helmets inspire unsafe driving

There always seems to be a debate about wearing helmets. Most folks in the US, and definitely here in Portland, wear a helmet while riding a bike. As a matter of fact if you’re under 16 in the state of Oregon you’re required by law to wear a helmet. In Denmark and the Netherlands where cycling infrastructure is much more evolved than here, no one ever wears one.
Scientific American.com recently posted an article about Ian Walker, a psychologist in Bath, England, where he rode his bike around either helmeted or naked-headed to gauge how motorists behave in both situations. Ian had heard several complaints from fellow riders that wearing a helmet seemed to result in bike riders receiving far less room to maneuver—effectively increasing the chances of an accident. So, Walker attached ultrasonic sensors to his bike and rode around Bath. After being overtaken by more than 2300 cars he found that helmeted cyclists inspire more dangerous driving from the cars around them, while bareheaded cyclists are treated with greater respect.

His findings, published in the March 2007 issue of Accident Analysis & Prevention, state that when Walker wore a helmet drivers typically drove an average of 3.35 inches closer to his bike than when his noggin wasn't covered. But, if he wore a wig of long, brown locks—appearing to be a woman from behind—he was granted 2.2 inches more room to ride

"The implication," Walker says, "is that any protection helmets give is canceled out by other mechanisms, such as riders possibly taking more risks and/or changes in how other road users behave towards cyclists." Walker, whose much-publicized report may inspire a new generation of bareheaded riders, won't make any specific recommendations to other cyclists though he notes that when it comes to riding in traffic, motorists are the real problem. "If people read the research and decide a helmet makes them safer, they should wear one; if they read the research and decide it doesn't, perhaps they don't need to," Walker says, adding the caveat, "But they do need to read the research!" And watch out for cars.

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Wednesday, May 02, 2007

To be... Car Free

There are more car free sections added to cities every day. I love it when I read something like this.
The Christina Science Monitor recently posted an article about the emergance of car free days in sections of cities from San Fransisco to Bogata, Columbia. "Cities across America are increasingly declaring that parks are for people, not cars, ... and closing roads within parks is one result of that," says Ben Welle with The Trust for Public Land's Center for City Park Excellence, in Washington. Resistance can be fierce at first, he and others say, because of worries about traffic congestion, parking problems, and loss of visitors for businesses and museums. But studies are showing that traffic problems can be minimized, shops and museums get more visitors, and residents begin to cherish their where-the-action-is location.

Across the world, this is a trend that is growing. You may remember my post last winter about the Lyon Protocol. Building sections of the city to be car free, Lyon is leading the world in car free living. In Bogotá, Colombia, which in 1983 embarked on a program called ciclovia (bike path), in which designated streets were closed to cars every Sunday but open for jogging, biking, dancing, playing ball, walking pets, strolling with babies – anything but driving. One-and-a-half million people now turn out each week for ciclovia. Other cities in Latin America followed suit, closing parts of parks or whole urban districts to cars – some intermittently, some permanently. A result: revitalized neighborhoods and an influx of people.

Even El Paso, Texas is getting in on the car free game. The El Paso Times reports that their weekly ciclovia participants proved that residents of the city are willing to support a safe and healthy activity that brings people together as a community, El Paso Mayor John Cook said.

I hope that Portland will begin to follow these leads. There has been a lot of talk lately on bikeportland.org about Portland's effort to become a platinum level cycling city. I think this is just the type of event to propel us into platinum status.

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