A Summer of Riding Bikes in East County!

This bike season offered us the amazing opportunity to partner with the Rosewood Initiative and P:ear Bike Works on six bike events. Sponsored by the East Portland Action Plan, we were able to create bike rides and events from Lents to Rosewood, working with a tool library, two elementary schools sharing one campus, and two cities bordering one neighborhood. Along with our work this summer with the City of Gresham and schools in the Reynolds District, we have been so excited to get to know these new partners!

 Triumphantly arriving at the Midland Library.

Triumphantly arriving at the Midland Library.

We started in May with a ride from Rosewood to the Midland Library where the city was hosting an open house to talk to the community about safe infrastructure in East Portland. While a small ride, the journey along the 4 Ms—Main, Millmain, Mill, and Market Streets—was a big deal for one rider, who was on a bike for the first time since he graduated from high school in the late ‘80s. Bonus: he got his bike fixed and running by P:ear Bike Works at the beginning of the ride!

Our next ride coincided with the all-June festival of bike rides—Pedalpalooza!—and saw an enthusiastic turn out. Our goal was to partner with the Green Lents and highlight some of their programs and projects, including the Lents Community Tool Library and the Lents Green Ring. As an organization that strives to create community by fixing bikes, we work in symbiosis with organizations that do the same through create safe, accessible, locally focused, and sustainable spaces for riding those bikes. This past winter we worked with the Tool Library to create a four-bike rental fleet and a basic bike repair tool kit donation to retrofit the collection of bike tools already there. This was a great opportunity to introduce these bikes to the community. In addition to the inauguration of this mini-hub of community bikes out of the library, this ride also celebrated

IMG_1817.JPG
  1. The P:ear Bike Works team providing love and attention to bikes in the Tool Library courtyard!

  2. The season’s first Lents International Farmer’s market!

  3. Ripe strawberries at the Malden Court Community Orchard!

  4. The magic of visiting with the Belmont Goats!

  5. Completion of an intersection painting in front of Kelly Elementary!

  6. A pollinator habitat in SE Lents!

For full photo narrative, scroll to the bottom. In the meantime, enjoy this young rider escaping the bounty of the Malden Court strawberry patch.

 The NWBSC helmet-fitting team enjoying the sunshine at Rosewood Walkways

The NWBSC helmet-fitting team enjoying the sunshine at Rosewood Walkways

In July Oregon Walks partnered with the Rosewood Initiative to create this year’s Oregon Walkways event along 162nd Avenue: Rosewood Walkways. We came with the Northwest Bicycle Safety Council to provide a bikey corner with P:ear Bike Works for The Rosewood Walkways event. We raffled off three kids bikes, fitted free helmets for those who came by, and donated a few scoot bikes to the fleet P:ear Bike Works made available. This was the first external event for our summer intern Mary, and her first experience creating a blog post for us as well :-) At this event and Rosewood Night Out the next month, we granted and fitted over 100 helmets!

IMG_2699.JPG

September saw a partnership with Oliver and Parklane Elementary schools, as we celebrated the painting of a bike safety mural on the Oliver track with an event the Saturday morning after its completion. We provided a mini fleet of three bikes for kids to ride along the newly decorated track, which were raffled off along with a couple dozen kids bikes donated by P:ear Bike Works. Kids visited a series of stations—helmet fitting, pedestrian safety, our bike safety station—before ending at the Rosewood table to get a raffle ticket. In spite of a sudden downpour of rain, the kids remained enthusiastic, and, true Oregonians, rode soggy laps around the track. The raffle ceremony was moved to the cafeteria by some last-minute logistical magic.

IMG_2839.JPG

We had our last event this month—the Shine On! Reflective Ride—during a lucky dryspell. Participants received a free lock and usb-rechargeable lights, and got to see a lovely sunset as we wound through the curvy streets of the Parklane subdivisions and over to the dirt desire line through Lynchview Park, and back to the Rosewood Initiative. Scouting and planning this route made me appreciate the Rosewood Walkways event even more, as I realized 162nd sees only one viable crossing between Stark and Division Streets. Rosewood Walkways closed one lane of 162nd empowering the community to walk in what is usually an uninterrupted 40 mile-an-hour stretch of car-dominated space. Main serves as a safe crossing, with a light, crosswalk, and pedestrian signal. However, there exists no other infrastructure roughly a mile in either direction. For comparison, SE 7th sees nearly a dozen marked crossings for pedestrians between Division and Stark. Another interesting distinction these bikeways have from the central city is that Main, Mill, and Millmain, while listed as bikeways on the city map, have no sharrows to signal to cars, and bikes, that the street is to be shared. We encountered no challenges on our ride, and saw cars give us lots of space and time on our route, as well as some bemused looks, and also received a little cheer from folks at Parklane Park. Seeing four generations of riders, most from Portland and a few from Gresham, lighting up the streets and taking some lanes, was a great way to finish out a season of events.

Thanks to everyone who came out to these events, and for all of our partners for making them happen :-)