These summer bike camps still have a spot for your kid

Bike camps teach riding skills, bike maintenance, safety, and friendship.
(Photo: Nat Shreffler for Community Cycling Center)

Portland has a wide variety of summer bike camps: Everything from learn-to-ride camps that ease kids onto two wheels to camps that teach advanced riding and repair skills. You might think it’s late in the game to find a spot in one of them, but most area bike camps still have spaces in some sessions.

My son attended his favorite bike camp back when he was five. He decided he wanted “bike racing camp” instead of “regular bike camp” and I found a new camp offered at a bike coaching facility. They started each morning of the week watching Danny MacAskill bike trick videos before pedaling off via multi-use path to a park where the instructor had stashed an obstacle course in the bushes. In addition to the emphasis on riding and tricks, he came home with more art projects from this camp (we still have a precious old bike cranks and duct tape creation) than from the larger, more traditional bike camps he’s attended.

Our Family Biking column is sponsored by Clever Cycles.

➤ Read past entries here.

I’ve called around to find out which bike camps still have spots. Check out my list below. If you’re aware of any camps I’ve missed, please let me know in the comments and I’ll update the post. (Note: all grades reflect the campers’ grade in the fall.)

Community Cycling Center
$360-$425 per week

Spots are available in Cruisers (grades 5 and 6), Freewheelers (grades 7 and 8), Food Cart Seekers (grades 7 and 8), Girls Mechanics (grades 7 and 8), and Voyager (NEW! grades 9 and 10).

Community Cycling Center’s Bike Camp enters its 18th year this summer. At camp, our goals are to:
➤ Develop the skills of youth in a fun, safe, and supportive environment
➤ Provide opportunities for cooperative learning and decision making in a team environment
➤ Develop self-confidence and enthusiasm for the bicycle
➤ Connect youth with Portland’s cycling infrastructure

CCC is also partnering with Hacienda CDC, Urban Nature Partners PDX, Home Forward, and Catholic Charities to bring Bike Camp to the Cully neighborhood, New Columbia neighborhood, and McCoy Village this summer thanks to Metro’s Nature in Neighborhoods grant and City of Portland’s Expanding Opportunities for Youth grant. Through these community bike camps, participants will attend a week of bike camp at no cost and receive a bike, helmet, and lock at the completion of their week.

— Learn more at communitycyclingcenter.org.

Lumberyard Indoor Bike Park
$425 for full day per week, $49 for half day per day

Lumberyard’s website has current availability listed, with quite a few camps still with room.

With early drop-off, snacks provided, aftercare available, free park access with guardian supervision the rest of the day, and 70,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor space to shred, Lumberyard is sure to entertain (and tire out!) your lil’ shredder. The Greenhorns Half-Day Summer Camps for balance bikers on Mondays and new pedalers on Fridays are fun for the aged 3-6 set not yet ready for a full day or full bike park. Rental bikes (as well as rental balance bikes) are available for camps, too.

— Learn more at lumberyardmtb.com.

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OBRA Junior Track Camp
$150 for three days

Juniors aged 10-18 with OBRA licenses can attend a track camp June 27-29. Kids 13 and up will camp overnight at Alpenrose Velodrome while 10-12 year olds will join for the daytime activities. The weekend includes a shred session and pizza party at Lumberyard on Sunday. Those who own track bikes should bring them, but the camp fee includes track bike rental if needed as well as Lumberyard bike rental.

— Learn more at obra.org.

OMSI
$305.00 member/$382.00 non-member per week

As of this writing Bike PDX for grades 4 and 5 has space for the week of July 29th. This class is taught by Community Cycling Center’s fun instructors and meets at OMSI for 4-15 mile explorations of the area around the museum. Extended care is available and bikes can be stored at OMSI overnight. “Take science on the road!”

— Learn more at OMSI.edu.

Trackers Earth
$235 half day per week

Learn to Bike: Road Rovers has some spots available at all three Trackers locations. This class is for kids entering kindergarten and 1st grade who are just learning to ride. The class is just 9:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m., but it’s action packed with personalized instruction, crafts, and games. Includes a bike to use if the camper doesn’t already have one.

— Learn more at trackerspdx.com.

Learning to throw their bikes down chain-side up before sprinting across the field.
(Photo: Madi Carlson)

WashCo Bikes
$295 per week

Washington County kids aged 9-12 will love Saddle Up Summer Bike Adventures. The Hillsboro camp is full (but there’s a waitlist), but other cities — Beaverton, Forest Grove, Tigard, and Wilsonville — each have one open one-week camp spaced throughout the summer.

Campers will bike to different programs and activities in 2-5 mile increments, building their fitness levels over the course of the week as they gain riding skills and repair knowledge. Using project-based learning each camp will explore parks, watersheds, and cultural sites in and around the communities of Washington County. In addition to riding, kids will do art, environmental projects, community building activities, play interactive games, and journal about their adventures.

Note: scholarships application are still being accepted online, and no campers will be turned away for lack of resources.

— Learn more at washcobikes.org

YMCA Camp Collins
$835 per week overnight camp

Camp Collins Questers in grades 7-9 leave the comfort of their extraordinary Treetops Village for camp activities each day, including 2-3 hours of a specialty focus. For sessions 1, 3, 5, and 7 (June 23–29 Harry Potter theme, July 7–13 Color Wars theme, July 21–27 Jurassic Adventure theme, and August 4–10 Star Wars theme) Questers can select mountain biking as their specialty (note: Camp Collins does its best to assign each Quester their first or second choice specialty so no guarantee you’ll be biking).

Questers learn basic riding skills, maintenance, and bike safety. They’ll explore the trails of Oxbow Regional Park and enjoy a long trail ride off camp. Bikes and helmets are provided.

— Learn more at ymcacw.org

Did I miss any? Or do you have a fun bike camp story to share in the comments? Thanks for reading!

Remember, we’re always looking for people to profile. Get in touch if it sounds like fun to you. I’d especially like to feature families of color so please get in touch or ask friends of color who bike with their kids if they’re interested in sharing their stories. And as always, feel free ask questions in the comments below or email me your story ideas and insights at madidotcom [at] gmail [dot] com.

— Madi Carlson, @familyride on Instagram and Twitter

Browse past Family Biking posts here.

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‘Missing middle’ housing bill needs a push in Salem

Plenty of “middle housing” in Montreal is one reason why it’s such a great city for biking.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

One of the most important bills we’ve been tracking this legislative session is hanging in the balance.

House Bill 2001 would allow “missing middle” housing (a.k.a. multi-family dwellings) in places currently zoned for only single-family housing. It would have a vast impact on cycling because it would enable more people to live in closer proximity to jobs and other destinations — making a trip by bike more feasible.

According to advocates who support the bill, the time is now to press legislators to move the bill forward. Below is a message from southeast Portland resident Doug Klotz:

This is the crucial time to make your voice heard in Salem in support of House Bill 2001, Speaker Kotek’s bill to legalize duplexes, triplexes and fourplexes statewide. It would require cities overt 10,000 to allow duplexes everywhere in single-family zones, and triplexes and fourplexes somewhere in those zones as well.

Most Democrats [who hold a super-majority] wants to do the right thing, lift the ban on missing-middle housing and make affordable housing possible in every neighborhood. But they need to know, right now, that you’ve got their back on this. Can you take four minutes to find your state legislators here — you’ve got one senator, one rep — and ask them to support HB2001?

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Those in Southeast Portland and Milwaukie should know that our Senator is Kathleen Taylor (503-986-1721), who is on the fence about it. You could also call Representative Rob Nosse (503-986-1442). I don’t know his position on it. If you’re in other districts, look up your legislator here.

Votes are being counted right now. There’s a hearing Tuesday and it could go either way. It won’t go to the floor unless there are enough votes counted among the members, even those who are not on the committee. Your call could make the difference.

For more information on this bill re-read our past coverage in the related posts below and check out PortlandForEveryone.org/hb2001.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org

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Business district welcomes carfree customers with ‘Walk Williams’ event

If I owned a business on Williams I’d want to celebrate these potential customers too.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Imagine a business district that celebrates cycling and welcomes those who do it with open arms. That’s what we have on North Williams Avenue.

As one of the first major commercial corridors in Portland with dedicated cycling access and the highest volume of riders in the city, I’ve often thought of Williams as the best bike street in Portland. Now Venture Portland and the Williams Vancouver Business Association want to cement that reputation with their monthly Walk Williams event which is set to kickoff next Wednesday June 12th.

According to organizer Dane Fredericks, for one evening a month they’ll roll out the red carpet for bicycle riders and other non-car-using customers with live music, freebies, discounts and more. “We know that biking is a pro-social decision that creates pleasant streets and strengthens our community,” Fredericks shared with us via email. He calls this event, “A monthly summer party on the only main street in Portland where bikes come first.”

Here’s how it’ll work (scroll down for full list of exclusive cycling deals):

Pick up an event passport at participating businesses on each second Wednesday June – October from 4-8pm, eat, shop and play to earn three stickers, and turn your passport in for automatic prizes like beer, chocolate or oysters. Each passport you submit is entered into our grand prize raffle, meaning you can play five Walk Williams, automatically win five monthly prizes and enter five times in the grand prize drawing.

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And here are the cycling-only deals:

GET FREE STUFF
North Portland Wellness Center (4922 N. Vancouver) is giving out free bike seat covers.
JinJu Patisserie (4063 N. Williams) will boost your blood sugar with 2 free bonbons.
Starcycle (4133 N. Williams) will turbocharge your training with a free class card.
Stella’s Kitchen on Williams (4215 N. Williams) is helping you hit your macros with a free Chia Pudding

LEARN NEW THINGS
East Multnomah Soil and Water Conservation District (5211 N. Williams) is offering a free educational urban garden tour for all, but only the cyclists get the free lemonade and cookies.
Poa Café (4025 N. Williams) will help you make and take home your own DIY Slime for $5

HYDRATE
Crisp Salads (3901 N. Williams) will set you up with $3 pints.
Hopworks N. Williams Pub & Beer Garden (3947 N. Williams) will knock $1 off your first beer.
Memoz Dessert Café (3494 N. Williams) has cold brew for just $3.

SCORE DEALS
Fringe & Friends Salon (3508 N. Williams) will offer 25% off any single item.
Hand & Stone Massage and Facial Spa (4155 N. Williams) is offering member pricing for 30 min massage $34.95 ($20 savings) all summer.
Monochromatic ( N. Williams) will take 20% off a single item.
Namaste On Williams (4201 N. Williams) will discount a 10 class pack for $102 (reg. $140).
Queen Bee Creations (3961 N. Williams) is offering 15% off everything all day on Walk Williams dates
SpielWerk Toys (3808 N. Williams) will give you 10% off your first visit all summer.
TEMPLE GOODS & PDCO+ HOME (3316 N. Williams) will give you 25% off any single item.
Workshop Vintage (4011 N. Williams) is giving out a free button pin and 10% off coupon.

Check out the official website for more info and download the official guide as a PDF below…

WW Passport DRAFT for review (1)

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org

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Breakfast on the Bridges is every Friday morning in June

Volunteers and commuters chat on the western end of the Tillikum Bridge this morning.
(Photos: Eric Thornburg/no.lens.cap)

Breakfast on the Bridges is a proud Portland tradition. It’s been happening for about 16 years and shows no signs of running out of steam — or should I say cream. As in, cream for your coffee.

Coffee is just one of the free treats you can find on the Steel, Tillikum and Hawthorne bridges on the last Friday of every month between 7:00 and 9:00 am. But during Pedalpalooza in the month of June those reliably wonderful Shift volunteers can be found every Friday morning.

This morning our photographer Eric Thornburg caught some of the action on the Tillikum where hot and fresh berry pancakes, muffins, coffee, and smiles were being served to anyone who walked or rolled by.

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Breakfast on the Bridges is one more reason to bike to work. And just one more thing that makes Portland — especially during Pedalpalooza — such a fun place to be. So mark your calendars for June 14th, 21st, and 28th. And leave a few minutes early to make sure you have time to stop, snack, drink, and chat.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org

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Weekend Event Guide: Ripplebrook, Fanno Creek, murals, Sunrise Movement, and more

The Sprockettes will host their last kids camp this weekend.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Remember how I said last week’s relative quiet was the calm before the storm? Well the storm is here. Pedalpalooza is in full swing and we’ve got a tantalizing selection of rides for you to choose from this weekend.

Whether you’re looking for adventure, activism, pure free fun, or all of the above — check out what’s in store. And remember to peruse the full Pedalpalooza calendar for even more rides.

Saturday, June 8th

Ripplebrook Backroads – 9:00 am from Ripplebrook Store in Estacada
If you want to delve deeper into the unpaved roads and trails around Timothy Lake and Clackamas River, this is the ride for you. Let Our Mother the Mountain’s route masterminds take you on an unforgettable adventure. More info here.

Fanno Creek Family Bike Ride – 9:30 am at Garden Home Rec Center (SW)
A very short (two-mile loop) and very sweet ride aimed at being doable for even the newest and smallest riders among your troop. Stops at a playground for extra fun. Come out and discover the great Fanno Creek Trail! More info here.

Sprockettes Girls Day Camp (Sat-Sun) – 10:00 am at Irving Park (NE)
The Sprockettes are a Portland-based mini-bike dance team. They’re hanging up the pink and black or good at the end of this year so this is your final chance to indoctrinate your kids to their wonderful ways. Camp will teach them basic bike dance/stunt skills in a supportive environment. Sliding scale price is $60-$100. More info here.

Beyond Portlandia Radical History Bike Tour – 12:00 pm at Everybody’s Bike Rentals (NE)
Ecology, geology, history and culture! Discover a different side of north/northeast Portland on this 10-mile ride led by knowledgable locals. More info here.

Brooklyn Scavenger Hunt – 1:00 pm at Brooklyn Park (SE)
Have fun while demonstrating your knowledge of the Brooklyn neighborhood as you fulfill interesting objectives and post proof of completion to Twitter. Prizes await the winners and everyone gets to imbibe and eat with new friends at the end. More info here.

Teenage Dirtbag Ride & Party – 8:00 pm at Laurelhurst Park (NE)
What’s Pedalpalooza without big dance party ride? Roll up and rock out with tunes from the likes of Blink, Lit, Len, Green Day, Weezer and all the other “dirtbag classics”. More info here.

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Sunday, June 9th

Ghosts of Northeast’s Past: A History Ride – 10:00 am at McMenamins Kennedy School (NE)
Led by historian Doug Decker, this 8-mile ride will regale you with stories of northeast Portland neighborhoods known by only a few and mostly invisible to the untrained eye. More info here.

Mural Ride – 11:00 am at Clay Creative parking lot (SE)
Public art on walls is endlessly fascinating and usually beautiful. If you agree with that statement, get ready to ride your heart out with two fellow mural lovers. More info here.

Sunrise PDX Pedalpalooza Climate Ride! – 11:00 am at PSU Plaza (SW)
Come and join the growing movement that is connecting climate change and transportation reform activists into an unstoppable force. This ride will include a rally with speakers at the Zenith oil terminal just a few short miles from downtown Portland. More info here.

Pregnant AF – 12:00 pm at Normandale Park (NE)
Baby on board? Come join others in the same situation. Bike with your bump on this flat ride that will end in a picnic. More info here.

Get Lost! – 1:00 pm at Velo Cult parking lot (NE)
A Pedalpalooza mainstay, this ride takes the form of whatever the dice say. Seriously. Leader will roll two dice to determine how many blocks left or right to ride. Where you stop and go, nobody knows! More info here.

Stay plugged into all the bike and transportation-related events around the region via our comprehensive event calendar. Pedalpalooza is the entire month of June. Check out the full list of events on the official calendar.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org

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First Look: Halsey-Weidler couplet in Gateway updated with protected bikeways and more

Look what PBOT did!
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Southeast Foster Road fans are rejoicing today as their beloved retail strip now has dedicated bike lanes. But that’s not the only east Portland commercial area to get new bike access this month. The Portland Bureau of Transportation says they’re about 99% finished with the much-anticipated Halsey-Weidler Streetscape project.

This $5.5 million project is a partnership between PBOT and Prosper Portland that (similar to Foster), aims to use street design changes to improve safety and boost economic development. The city has made significant updates to Halsey and Weidler between 102nd and 112th. Changes include: curb extensions on every corner, new pavement on Halsey, improved street lighting, median refuge islands, three new crossings with rapid flash beacons, parking protected bicycle lanes, transit stop upgrades, new street trees, a “festival street”, a new public plaza, and more.

I spent about an hour so on the couplet yesterday to talk with folks and watch how the street is being used.

“People hate it,” said the manager of a liquor store near 103rd. “95% of our customers have asked me about it… Mostly they’re upset about the loss of parking. This is the main thoroughfare and they took out like 14 spots.” Upon further discussion, the man said he thinks the changes are, “A good idea,” but that’s just been implemented poorly. He didn’t elaborate on how he thinks it should have been designed; but he said he’s heard of two people (drivers) who have been hit as they stepped out of their cars in the new “floating” parking zone (which puts them in much closer proximity to passing drivers than parking at the curb).




Two people waiting for the bus were thrilled with the changes. I watched one man with a cast on his foot cross where PBOT just installed a curb extension and a median refuge island — essentially reducing the distance across by about 15 feet or so. “I wouldn’t have tried that before with my foot like this,” he said with a smile. “I’m not very fast these days.”

A woman behind the counter of Namaste Indian Market (which is wonderful by the way) had some concerns about parking loss. Her store is adjacent NE 103rd, the street PBOT converted from a parking lot/alleyway into a “festival street”. The idea is to make it more of a public plaza with one-way driving access that could be prohibited (via bollards) during events like farmer’s markets. She wasn’t sure what the plan was and didn’t understand the new bike lane and other changes to the street. Once I explained everything, she agreed it seemed like an improvement that would encourage people to visit the Gateway district and make the streets safer.

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Here are a few of my observations and images to illustrate:

– The transit island just west of 102nd is a marvel: It makes transit service and biking more efficient, there’s plenty of space for bus riders to get on-and-off, and makes for a nice, low-stress welcome to the couplet.





– From what I could see, the changes are working relatively well. People are still getting used to the new striping and lane configuration. And yes, there were several folks who parked in the new bike lane. Hopefully that subsides.



– PBOT really needs to do more to protect these new biking spaces. Whether it’s plastic wands, concrete curbs or both. And maybe “BIKES ONLY” pavement markings, more signage, and a few enforcement actions to drive awareness. If we’re going to call these “protected” bikeways, let’s be honest about it and give people what they deserve.



– Fortunately speeds on the couplet are relatively low, and the median islands and other changes will only make them slower. People on foot now feel more empowered to cross in more locations, which makes people in cars more cautious.

– Now that we have this great bike facility, we need places to park! I had to park to a sign pole because there were no staples in sight. That should never happen!

– One serious problem is how many drivers coming onto the couplet from a sidestreet block the new bike lane as they wait for a gap in traffic (see below). This is a tricky situation and I’m not sure what the solution is, other than signage and pavement markings. Of course if people were more competent and courteous in general — and if cars weren’t such large and awkward vehicles — this wouldn’t be a problem.



– The new Gateway Discovery Park at 106th and Halsey is fantastic! It’s a modern facility with wifi, places to hang out, and lots of cool amenities. And one of the best crossing treatments is right on the corner so it’s very welcoming.

Here’s a video of me riding the entire couplet (has been sped up 2X to save you time)…

But wait, there’s more…

Bike only signal on 102nd is a welcome touch…

Here’s the current status of the festival street/plaza at 103rd…

The problem with parking protected bike lanes is that you feel kind of scrunched between the cars and the curb. Also not wide enough for side-by-side, social cycling…

Another view of the crossing treatment at 106th/Gateway Park…

This is a median-protected crossing enhancement at the off-set intersection of Halsey and 108th…

Beyond the project boundary, we still have some work to do…

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org

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Bikes, Bridges and Bullet Trains: Riding Japan’s Shimanami Kaido route

Dedicated bike path that connects to the Kurushima Kaikyo bridge.
(Photos: Robert Pickett)

Robert Pickett, a former (and future!) Portland resident and member of the Portland Police Bureau Bicycle Patrol Unit, is currently serving as a U.S. diplomat stationed with his wife and two daughters in Sapporo, Japan.

“Its the best ride in Japan—let me know if you end up doing it and want some company.” High praise from my boss — a taciturn triathlete with an eye for art and nature, and many years living in Japan. I figured I’d better ride the Shimanami Kaido sometime before the end of my time here.

The route hops over several islands.

The Shimanami Kaido is a 45-mile bicycle route across Japan’s Seto Naikai (Inland Sea) from the City of Onomichi on Japan’s main island of Honshu to the City of Imabari on Shikoku, the smallest of Japan’s four main islands. Well marked, its mostly country roads skip across six smaller islands via one ferry and six soaring bridges, all with dedicated bicycle facilities.

Last May, during Japan’s Golden Week of consecutive holidays, my boss and I spent three days and three nights surrounded by amazing culture and unforgettable scenery in an out-and-back trip starting in Yokohama.

Our bikes, tucked away on the train.

It says, “Let’s follow the traffic rules and enjoy cycling!”

In Japan, if your bike is covered by something, anything, you can bring it on most trains for free. This lovely policy his has led to the birth of a relatively small, but active rinko (bike travel) culture. Most bicycle shops sell thin plastic rinko bags shaped to encase a bicycle with one or both wheels removed. It isn’t exactly putting your bike in a plastic trash bag, but close. My boss and I bagged our bikes and hopped on the bullet train, stashing them in the space behind the last row of seats. Arriving in Onomichi about two hours and 400 miles later, we reassembled our bikes and rode to a hostel for the first night.

The next morning started with a ferry across a narrow waterway to the first island stepping-stone. Originally designed for a couple of cars, the boat now hauls cyclists and pedestrians for a minimal charge. At the opposite terminal we started following the special blue-colored fog lines that guide cyclists along the Shimanami cycle route to the first of six major bridge leaps to the next island. The bicycle approaches to most of these bridges are completely separated from the motor vehicle approaches, and the first one was a ten foot ribbon of asphalt winding through trees and flowers on a climb up to the cycle/ped crossing suspended below the main automobile deck.

Satisfied grin of a biker on a bike/ped only ferry.

Follow the blue painted line.

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One of many lovely bridge approaches.

Cars above, bike riders and walkers below.

The day continued with bridge crossings and blue road traverses along emerald-edged coastline, through citrus and fig fields, and narrow village streets.

Traffic was relatively light, and featured plenty of other cyclists. Some were clearly serious with lots of spandex. Others were families with younger kids, out to ride just a bridge or two. Another nice thing about Japan is the frequency of convenience stores and their relatively fresh, healthy fuel options.


The last bridge of the day was the longest, tallest with the most breathtaking views. The Kurushima Kaikyo span is actually three contiguous suspension bridges, resulting in 2.5 miles of road suspended 200 feet in the air by six, six-hundred foot towers. Imagine the St. Johns Bridge, but six times longer and two-hundred-foot taller towers. The bicycle-only approaches spiral up into the air, first through, then above the trees to reach the road deck.

Oh the political will needed to pour that kind of money into a bicycle facility!

Sea level.

Climbing up.

Made it!

That night we spent at an Airbnb that featured bike parking in the bedroom. We also explored the local castle.

You know you’re on a well-worn bike path when…

We began the next day with a soaring, tailwind-powered flight back over the Kaikyo Bridge. Instead of repeating the exact ride back to Onomichi, we diverted to a few of the less-pedaled islands, enjoying the even quieter roads and blue-water vistas, slowly making our way to an intriguing guest house I’d found online.

Entrance to Shiomi Guesthouse.

Japanese family-style dinner.

The Shiomi Guesthouse was cheap, off the beaten path, featured communal eating and sleeping on Japanese tatami rooms, as well as a wood-fired hot tub. But the hook was set when I clicked “history” and found a multi-part account of Robert Shiomi, born in the house in 1904, and immigrated to Portland when he was 13. He attended Failing Elementary, Benson Polytechnic, U of Oregon Medical School, and became a doctor! Interned to Minidoka in Idaho with his wife and six-month-old daughter during WWII, he returned to Portland with his family after the war where he lived his life as a respected doctor and unceasing advocate for better relations between Japan and the U.S. It was an unexpectedly sassive Japan-Portland connection… And the guy’s name was Robert! My high expectations were met by a kind, gracious hostess, interesting guests from various parts of Japan (including a gentleman who had already accomplished his retirement mission of visiting all 6,800 or so of Japan’s islands), great local cuisine, and a hot soak. A great finale to a fun trip.

The next morning we made our way back to Onomichi, bagged our bikes back up, and bulleted back home to reality.


And of course I Strava’d my ride home on the bullet train, just so I could see the 249 mph average speed.

I highly recommend this route if you’re looking for a fun bike tour in Japan. For more info, check out this PDF for excellent maps and information in English.

— Robert Pickett

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Ride in northwest? Tell PBOT what you think about latest bikeway designs

PBOT is inching closer to finalizing these 12 projects.

It’s time to help the Portland Bureau of Transportation make northwest neighborhoods as bike-friendly as possible.

PBOT has just opened an online open house and shared latest project concepts for their Northwest in Motion project. This is an effort to identify and prioritize about a dozen projects that aim to encourage biking, walking, and transit use in and around the Pearl District .
继续阅读“Ride in northwest? Tell PBOT what you think about latest bikeway designs”

Opinion: Our candid commissioner

Pretty safe to say the commissioner won’t be at the World Naked Bike Ride.

It’s been many years since we’ve had a transportation commissioner as willing to voice progressive ideas and positions as Chloe Eudaly.

I’m not sure if it’s because Commissioner Eudaly is simply more comfortable on social media than any other council member, or because she sees the communication channel as a strategic tool to shift the conversation her way. Whatever the reason(s), I like it. And if you care about smashing the transportation status quo, you should too.

Two recent Facebook comments from the Commissioner stand out. One was lighthearted, the other more meaty.

Last week she jokingly posted a “Hard Pass!” graphic in response to our story about the upcoming World Naked Bike Ride. Then, in response to a constituent who felt the new bus/bike lane on SW Madison unfairly “forced him out” of his car (as if!), the Commissioner wrote in all caps “YOU ARE THE CONGESTION!”  The exchange was worth a screenshot:

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Eudaly speaking at the Lori Woodard memorial rally. (Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

It’s one thing for a leader to have these opinions, it’s another thing to express them candidly in a public forum like Facebook. And they have added resonance because people tend to tune out politicians who can only speak in glittering generalities and who fear direct communication via social media. 

While PBOT remains too timid, they agency has shown promising signs of progress recently. Now with Chris Warner being firmly seated as director — and with Eudaly gaining more confidence on transportation issues with each passing week — I’m optimistic about what lies ahead.

If PBOT is ever going to start riding faster, they need someone like Commissioner Eudaly out front to provide a draft. We are nowhere near the finish, but at least we have someone on city council not afraid to engage and speak truth to naysayers.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org

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City lowers speed limits in latest effort to control the insanity on Marine Drive

PBOT crews installed the new signs this morning.
(Photo: City of Portland)

Marine Drive has been a problem child for the Portland Bureau of Transportation for years and the city hopes recent disciplinary actions help set it straight.

The road’s design encourages dangerous driving and the city has tried all types of tricks to slow people down and prevent them from running into each other, or from running off the road and into the Columbia River — something that happens more often than you think.

In one week last month, two drivers failed to control their vehicles and ended up in the river. One of them didn’t make it out alive.

The latest move is a speed limit reduction from 45 to 40 mph on an 8.5 mile segment between NE 33rd and 185th (Portland city limits). Last year PBOT lowered the speed limit west of this segment (from 40 to 35) and installed speed cameras at two locations (33rd and 138th).

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It’s really a two-lane freeway.

Why the fuss? Consider these stats: Between 2012 and 2016, there were 189 total crashes on Marine Drive between 33rd and 185th. Those crashes included four fatalities and 144 injuries. Since 2017, six people have died while driving on that segment. Turns out streets that have no guardrails (it’s built on a federally protected levee), are adjacent to industrial/rural zoning, have straight and clear sightlines and relatively few stop signs and traffic signals, are a petri dish for dangerous decisions.

And of course Marine Drive isn’t just an arterial for driving on, it happens to be a vital part of the very popular 40-Mile Loop bike route and serves as a gateway to many popular areas.

PBOT says this is just part of their ongoing war on speeders and dangerous drivers on Marine Drive. The construction schedule for this summer also includes: a new traffic signal at NE 122nd, gaps filled in the existing path from NE 112th to NE 185th, flashing beacons at NE 112th and NE 138th), buffered bike lanes from NE 112th to NE 122nd, and centerline rumble strips from 33rd to 185th.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org

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