Happy Friday from Portland Bike Commuting!

From: John B.
Sent on: Friday, June 5, 2009 7:12 AM
Let us all now raise a water bottle to the weather this week! Sarah Cushman, see what you can do about synching up these nice weather weeks with Green Streets Day, can you? wink


Instead of a poll this week, since I can't think of a good one, I'll tell you about the results from the poll I've been running for the last two weeks: What kind of activities you want us to do. Although we still just have 15 responses (5% of total membership), I've bugged you enough, so let's go with it. If you haven't voted yet, you still can.

I asked for a rating 1-10 on activities you want us to do. Here's what the 15 of you said, highest average rating to lowest:
  • 7.3 - Introductory Mechanic Workshops
  • 7.1 - Intermediate/Advanced Mechanic Workshops
  • 5.7 - Themed Urban Rides, 5-15 miles
  • 5.5 - Discussion-oriented meetings
  • 5.4 - Social meetings
  • 5.0 - Introduction to Traffic Safety workshop
  • 4.7 - Introduction to Bicycle Commuting workshop
  • 4.0 - Women-only sessions of any of the above

The results were a little surprising to me, but useful, assuming they really reflect most of you. (Did I mention I only got 15 responses, but you can still vote? tongue) I place a high value personally on the value of education, both the general Intro to Commuting and the Traffic Safety, but you said these were solidly in the middle, behind mechanic workshops, rides, and even other meetings. So be it. You can always use the Message Board to ask questions on these topics, and see Bicycling Street Smarts about safe traffic cycling.

Regarding mechanic workshops, I'm at a bit of a personal disadvantage because I am not a mechanic myself. My skills don't extend much beyond changing my own tubes and brake pads. However, the three people you see listed on the site as Assistant Organizers (below my ugly mug) are all people who have said they would hold free mechanic workshops for us a couple of times a year! I've asked them about it a couple of times in the last two months, without much response (yes, I know they are all very busy!), and we've even for the most part worked out locations to hold workshops at. So at this point, I would simply direct you to them. If you have a request, please contact them directly and ask them to please set up a workshop.

Also on the mechanical topic, Meetup member and mechanic Erik West offers paid classes in his hometown of Bath, including two next weekend. I have posted those details on our calendar.

Rides - we will have them! Probably not in June, but we have 2-3 planned for July and August. Watch this summer for rides to Gorham for Portland Green Drinks, "Backyard Locavore" tours to local food sources, and a bike tour of Portland's Underground Railroad and African American Heritage trail. Member Ken O'Brien is taking the organizing lead here, with skills gained from years of ride organizing for the Casco Bay Bicycle Club and the Maine Bike Rally.

I was a bit surprised the Women-only option came in low, but then, I suppose the male half the population would have no reason to rate it high. (Although I don't know what the male/female ratio is on this site.) Given this skew factor, I'm committed to keep doing them occasionally, because anecdotal evidence suggests they are very valuable to many women. I would point out that Gorham Bike & Ski occasionally does these, and that mechanic/assistant organizer Katie is very interested in doing them. Go for it!

Lastly, one meeting I've wanted to organize soon is a get-together with some of Portland's police officers, probably concentrating on the bicycle officers but maybe also including the chief. I have in mind just a chance to get to know each other, discuss areas of concern to both, including the law regarding bicycles, and maybe ride together for a while. But I personally don't have any "in" with the police department, and have not made that approach yet. If anyone has any connections with the PPD, please let me know.


See our calendar for all details

  • Sat 6/6, 10-2: Bayside Trail Groundbreaking Celebration, corner of Marginal Way and Franklin Arterial
  • Mon 6/8, 5:30 PM: Portland Bike/Ped Advisory Commitee, Portland City Hall
  • Tue 6/9, 5-7 PM: Portland Green Drinks, Gorham Bike & Ski, 693 Congress. (Valet bike parking!)
  • Tue 6/9, 6:30 PM: Ocean Ave. Neighborhood Meeting to discuss bike lanes and onstreet parking, Cheverus High School library
  • Sat 6/13, 9 AM: "Roadside Repair" class, Bath
  • Sat 6/13, 12:30 PM: "Introduction to Brake and Gear Adjustments" class, Bath
  • June 26: Green Streets Day, also last day to register for the Traffic Skills 101 course (July 7, Fryeburg)

    Next month:

  • July 7: Traffic Skills 101 course, League of American Bicyclists, Fryeburg
  • July 10-12: Maine Bike Rally, Fryeburg
  • July 14: Green Drinks, featuring group ride to Gorham Sebago Brew Pub


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