Tag Archives: cycling

BTA ambassadors become roll models for young riders

By Margaux Mennesson, Contributing Writer

“I want to have your job when I grow up.”

When the Bicycle Transportation Alliance’s Bike Safety Education instructors hear remarks like this from kids they’re teaching in Portland, it’s both rewarding and exciting. If we plan to meet the growing demand for bike safety programs in schools, we’ll need to hire more teaching staff to teach the curriculum – so we’re glad to hear that kids will want our jobs!

In fact, the BTA is looking specifically to hire new staff just like these kids — or their older brothers, sisters, and neighbors — through a new workforce development program starting this fall. The BTA intends to hire two new Assistant Ambassadors from the same communities where the BTA is teaching, said LeeAnne Fergason, education programs manager at the BTA. Continue reading

Sustainable Cycles pedals awareness about menstrual cups

By Toni Craige and Sarah Konner, Contributing Columnists

Toni Craige and Sarah Konner are bicycling down the West Coast, living on $4 a day, and talking to people about sustainable menstrual products.

Over a lifetime, the average woman spends about $2,000 on single-use pads and tampons, creating an enormous truckload ofa trash. There are more affordable and sustainable options that very few people seem to know about. To raise awareness, we decided to take this cycle to the road – literally. Continue reading

Wrench Raiders: a hidden bike culture

By Terris Harned, Contributing Writer

In April, 2010, C.J. Speelman founded Wrench Raiders, a grassroots organization of volunteers who help maintain bikes for people who are homeless or with no other source of income or transportation. The California transplant calls himself a self-taught mechanic who put himself in this line of work after seeing the need among people who were homeless who relied solely on their bikes for mobility, but who couldn’t afford to fix them. A flat tire or faulty breaks could be crippling and even fatal. But equally important; a solid, well-oiled steed is independence, opportunity and survival.

Wrench Raiders operates a mobile repair shop that provides repairs at no charge, but underlying the work is a message of building community and connecting social classes, inside and outside.

Terris Harned: Tell me a little about Wrench Raiders. How did you guys get started? Who do you serve exactly? Can anyone come and get assistance?

C.J. Speelman: I started a non-profit about six years ago that was primarily focused on creating a space to build community for people who were experiencing homelessness in my area. I learned a lot about my new friends and the problems and experiences they faced every day. One of the largest hurdles they faced was the issue of transportation. So many people take the ability to get from here to there for granted. I knew I did. I found out quickly that bicycles could be a great source of transportation, but they were prone to disrepair.  I began to learn how to fix bikes, building up my own bike from just a frame.  When I moved to Portland two years ago, one of the main reasons was to develop this concept of a mobile bicycle repair shop. We did some research, made a few connections and Wrench Raiders was born April 2010. Continue reading

Bike Portland’s Jonathan Maus keeps the gears turning on the city’s two-wheeled vision

By Israel Bayer, Staff Writer

Bike Portland is an example of how a dedicated individual, a camera, a computer and a blog can blossom into a platform for a specific topic and shoot ahead of newspapers and nonprofits that invest millions of dollars to engage and educate the community. In this case, the topic is biking, and that individual is Jonathan Maus.

Starting in 2005, Maus, an avid biker, created BikePortland.org, a daily news blog that covers biking in Portland. In the past five years, Maus, a former public relations consultant, has trained himself in journalism and photography and now runs one of the most popular bike blogs in the region and possibly the world — reaching 8,000 to 16,000 people daily on the latest news on biking in the Rose City.

Israel Bayer: Can you talk a little bit about Portland’s Bicycle Plan for 2030, and where we are headed as a community?

Jonathan Maus: I think the big thing is that’s it’s just a plan. It’s a great plan, the best in the country, but still, it’s just a plan. The only real money that’s been talked about for the plan has been handled poorly and created negative attention. When it comes to actually doing the things that we need to do to achieve what’s in the plan the revenue is just not there.

From a technical perspective (the plan) doesn’t go far enough. In 2005, Mayor Sam Adams and some of the best and brightest from Portland went to Amsterdam and began to talk about how Portland could be modeled after European cities. But if you look at the plan, we do very little to model ourselves on cities in Europe.

We know we have to create separated bikeways from vehicle traffic. More people don’t bike because they don’t feel safe. If we had separation more people would bike. It’s simple. Continue reading