Bicycle Commuting Newsletter, December 2009

From: John B.
Sent on: Saturday, December 5, 2009 12:47 PM
Good morning! Welcome to what I call the "meteorological whiplash" time of year. What was it Thursday, 68 degrees? You know, the day the sun came out 30 minutes after I arrived at work in the pouring rain? That's just wrong. And the long-range forecast is talking snow next Thursday! Speaking of which...


Let's gather at someone's house, eat, drink, be merry, and talk about how to continue riding throughout the winter. If you are yourself a winter rider, please bring winter-related items to show and tell, such as clothing, reflectors/lights, studded tires and other special equipment.

Bike stickers and Bicycling Street Smarts booklets will be available for free, and special prizes will be given to anyone who bikes to it!

It is entirely possible that the spirit may move those who have their bikes with them to take a short night ride! (Lights required.)

Note we have a page of information from past Winter Riding meetings here, including clothing resources and other winter cycling websites. We also had a good discussion of bike lights last year.

Please RSVP here.


Lauren: "I love biking and being green!"

Judith Harris: "Communication between Portland and Riders" [Judy is a City of Portland employee working on transportation issues. -John]

Kenji Funahashi: "To improve the life of any cyclists co-inhabiting on the road with other vehicles."

Allyson (no comment given)


* NEW PAINT IN PORTLAND - You have probably noticed new bike lanes and "sharrows" appearing along Forest, Deering, and Park Avenues. What do you think? Like? Problems? Please leave comments on our Feedback on new paint on Forest and Park Avenues message thread.

-> This will likely be on the agenda at the December meeting of the Bike/Ped Advisory Committee, 12/14, 5:30 PM, City Hall Room 209. Please attend if you are interested.

* PORTLAND: BICYCLE FRIENDLY CITY? - Last fall, Portland applied for "Bicycle Friendly Community" (BFC) designation from the League of American Bicyclists (LAB). They received an Honorable Mention, along with a document of recommendations for improvement.

On Saturday, January 9th, from 9 AM to Noon, a planning forum will be held at City Hall to brainstorm these recommendations. In preparation, I have posted the recommendations document to our Files area, and started a discussion thread about it.

* BIKES ON TUKEY'S BRIDGE - I and some other advocates have been discussing with Dan Stewart, Bike/Ped Coordinator for MDOT, the possibility of allowing bicyclists to ride across Tukey's Bridge in the general travel area, rather than being forced to use the narrow and crowded recreational path. For those confident enough to do it (and it's not any worse than the Casco Bay Bridge, IMO), it is much faster and more direct, making it the logical route for transportational bicyclists (many of whom already do it despite it's being illegal). An initiative is underway to make it legal, in the form of a petition letter to MDOT for a "rule change". For more information, read our discussion thread, and Shoshana's brand new 'blog essay.

-> This will likely be on the agenda at the December meeting of the Bike/Ped Advisory Committee, 12/14, 5:30 PM, City Hall Room 209. Please attend if you are interested.

* BICYCLE COALITION OF MAINE - BCM is looking to hire two new employees, an Education Director (30 hours), and an Office Manager (20 hours). Job descriptions may be found on the BCM website. Also, BCM is selling a limited number of raffle tickets to win a completely custom-built bike by Frank Bikes in Belfast and Downeast Bicycle Supply in Fryeburg. Tickets are available until December 31. For details and to purchase, see here.


I started this Meetup in March 2006, and through 2006 and 2007 scheduled offline meetings pretty faithfully. In 2008, I expanded into including repeating "beginner" topics for general bike transportation and traffic safety. In 2009, I intended to revamp these courses over the winter, but due to a lot of different reasons too numerous to go into, I was not able to put together either these educational sessions or very many general Meetups during this year. It's like the stars were just completely out of alignment.

I feel that I am being led in a direction of focussing my energy on a more specific bicycle related projects over the next year, including getting back to those educational sessions, but also some other things. I would love to have the Meetup get back to doing more social stuff, like discussion meetings and social rides, but I don't see that as something I will be able to do in 2010.

So after the December Party and Winter Riding Discussion, I will no longer be scheduling offline social events for this group. I will continue to support the Meetup financially, so that it will stay online, and no doubt I will continue participating in the online features. I will continue to update the calendar with events that I know about, including any that I help to organize independent of Meetup. I'm undecided at this point about continuing this periodic newsletter.

WANTED: Someone (or a group of people) to step up and try their hand at creating and promoting monthly social get-togethers for us. I can assist with advice on places and publicity. Please consider if this is something you can do, and feel inspired to. You will be making an important contribution to bicycling culture in Portland. THANK YOU!

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