Portland Bike Commuting September Newsletter

From: John B.
Sent on: Wednesday, September 12, 2007 1:21 PM
Portland Bike Commuting Newsletter
Published Irregularly
Volume I, Issue 4 - September 2007

Is everyone well rested from their summer vacations, and ready to face the return of cooler weather and earlier sunsets? Personally, my first hurdle is always finding where I put away those gloves and that headlight last spring!


Do you suffer from what John Forester terms, "Cyclist-inferiority phobia"? Does fear dominate your traffic experience on two wheels? Come along and let's talk about it and what you can control on your bike as well as what you might want to let go of. Cycling is still fun for some of us while we interact with traffic and follow the rules. Part of handling your bike in traffic is the art of negotiation as cyclists from the one down position, learning to drive defensively while trusting other road users.

The discussion will be led by Charley LaFlamme, Northeast Regional Trainer for the League of American Bicyclists, and League Cycling Instructor # 285. Charley is also the founder and first President of the Bicycle Coalition of Maine, a board member of the Bike/Walk Alliance of New Hampshire, a Charter Member of MDOT's Regional Transportation Advisory Committe for Cumberland & York County, and an Originating Member of MDOT's Bicycle Advisory Committee.

Please RSVP to help us plan better!


What better way to celebrate rural Maine and practice sustainability than to pedal to the Common Ground Country Fair? For years the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association (MOFGA) has promoted and exhibited sustainable agriculture, green technology, and alternative lifestyles through this popular event.

Since 1998 the Bicycle Coalition of Maine has offered user-friendly Valet Bike Parking for cyclists that want to help relieve traffic congestion, air pollution and demonstrate sustainable transportation by biking to the fair.

As a bicyclist all you have to do is ride your bike to the fair. When you arrive at the Rose (North) Gate, volunteers will park your bicycle for you and supervise it through the day until 6pm.

Too far to bike from home? Drive part of the way to any of the designated Park-and-Pedal sites and follow posted signs to experience the best bicycling routes to the fair.

Not only do you get to roll right up to the entrance and get the best parking available, you get $1 off admission!

The Bike Coalition also NEEDS VOLUNTEERS for their area of the Fair. For a four-hour shift, volunteers will receive a free CGCF T-shirt, free admission to the fair and a food voucher. Not to mention a chance to meet other friendly BCM members.

You can volunteer in the Valet Bike Parking area, the Kids' Demo Ride area or both! Thursday we will be setting up and could use help doing that. On Friday through Sunday, shifts are 8-noon, 11-3, or 2 to 6. We also could use help taking everything down on Sunday afternoon.

There will be a Biking Parade all 3 days, and we need volunteers to participate! It will be held at 10 a.m. each morning, and we need Riding Parade Marshals. Bring your bike and friends with bikes and help us make this a great success!

Please contact Deborah Ladner at [address removed] or call [masked]. Thanks!


As I write this, the Portland Maine Bicycle Commuting Meetup is at 99 online members!! Whoo-hoo! laughing Not bad for a year and a half. The following graph (hopefully it comes through in your email program) illustrates our meteoric rise to Portland bike commuting prominence. (And we're humble, too! smile)

Now, I do have an interested person who says his computer is down so he can't register right now. I haven't talked with him personally, just left a phone message, and I can't add people unilaterally, they have to sign up themselves. So, maybe he will end up being the 100th member, or maybe someone else will. I think the only objective way is by when they actually register online. So tell your friends, it could still be one of them!

The lucky hundredth member will receive a gift pack of bike-related items that I have purchased using some of our meeting donations. Hopefully it can presented in person at a meeting as soon as next week, or October if not. Who will it be... ???


The hundred member mark seems like a good time to reflect on where the club is going and what more it could do. I enjoy leading it and intend to continue, but it's a lot for one person. I think the club could do more, but not with just one leader. SO - is it time for a leadership team? How to structure it? Actual titles, just a "steering committee" (pun intended), or just a few assistant organizers? I don't know. Let's talk about it after the safety discussion next week. Please think about ways we could get more involved in your community, and what YOU could do to facilitate that.

Some ideas I have had about reaching out: More regular commuting group rides, more bike valet event parking, securing discounts at health clubs for members to use shower rooms, handing out free lights to unlit night cyclists, reaching out to local employers who employ a good number of bike commuters (including low-wage ones), reaching out to the homeless community who ride, listing more local classes such as sometimes offered through bike shops, Ride to Church day, ...

Hope to see you next week!
Ride safe, and Have Fun!
Your Organizer,


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