Category Archives: Bike Programs

Different, awesome, sometimes institutionalized things that happen around bikiness

2 hours of scoping an intersection (or, who’s using the streets?)

You know, it may not sound like all that much fun, but sitting at an intersection corner for two hours, counting the people who go by on bicycles, is actually a pretty interesting endeavor.

Earlier this summer, I signed up to help City of Portland with their yearly summer bicycle counts. What that means is that I joined a whole army of volunteers, each of whom agrees to sit at a specific intersection for two hours, either 4-6pm or 7-9am, one Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday during the summer. For those two hours, we count the number of people who cycle through–not only which direction they’re going, but also whether they’re male or female, whether or not they wear a helmet.

Data like this helps City of Portland show cycling trends, but is also useful to inform decisions about infrastructure and help show success (or failure) of infrastructure improvements.

Plus, on a micro-scale, it’s also pretty darn interesting.

bike count form

Those are my counts for the two hours I sat at NW 24th and NW Thurman on last week’s sunny Wednesday evening. Hunkered down with a vegan cookie from Food Front Co-op right down the street, tucked behind the sparse shade of a planting-strip tree, I settled in for the long haul.

Every time someone cycled through, I meticulously marked their direction of travel, gender, and helmet use. For my own entertainment, I also kept a tally of interesting things carried by bike (mostly a guitar and two children), how many people used the sidewalk as part of their travel through the intersection (15) and also how many people skateboarded (1) or scootered (2) through.

In 120 minutes, 112 people biked through, almost one cyclist per minute. What ws surprising, though, was how sparse that actually felt. One cyclist per minute, when I say it that way, sounds like a lot. At least to me. But when in that minute there are also twenty million cars going through (not to mention 10 million pedestrians), it feels like an awful lot happens between seeing one cyclist and then seeing the next.

I feel like I can’t talk about this without also mentioning the gender split: 77 men; 35 women, or 31% women–which, according to the 2012 Bicycle Count Report (find it here), is about average for Portland. (I’m not sure if that went up at all for 2013, since that report isn’t online.) On this Wednesday, though, for these two hours, women were much more likely to wear helmets than men. Not sure what, if anything, that means:)

Anyway. Like I said, I wasn’t necessarily expecting to enjoy my two hours of sedentary counting, but I actually really did. It’s sort of fun to hunker down and take a two-hour cross-section of street use, especially at an intersection like Thurman and 24th, where there’s so much going on. So many people use one little piece of Portland in a day–it really reminded me how important it is that we can all share.

(If you’re interested, I strongly recommend helping with a bike count sometime. Keep your eye on the City of Portland bike count site for details!)

Women’s Touring Workshop! Tomorrow!

Are you curious about bike touring? Are you a woman or someone who identifies as a woman? Are you free tomorrow evening? Come join me and Erinne Goodell at VeloCult for a women’s specific bike touring workshop!

We’ll be there to talk about our experiences, show off our loaded bikes, and answer (or at least give our best shot to:) all of your questions. You’ll learn about gear options, how to carry things, tips for the road, thoughts about safety, ideas of nearby places to travel, and so much more!

Last year it was a super rockin’ good time with some super rockin’ ladies, and this year is sure to be even better:) Come join us! And bring all your awesome lady friends!

  • 6:30 pm tomorrow, Tuesday (the 10th)
  • Basement of VeloCult (1969 NE 42nd Ave)
  • We’ll for realz start the chatting around 6:45, so feel free to grab a beer or some water if you want before you head downstairs.

I realize this doesn’t give you much notice. My fault. Ironically enough, I didn’t really think about the fact that I could mention anything here.

BUT! See you then, right??  :)

Tomorrow is Breakfast on the Bridge–Superhero Edition!

Sadly, I won’t be there (though happily, because I’ll be in Eugene:), but head down to the Steel, Hawthorne, or Burnside bridges tomorrow between 7 and 9am for some free coffee and treats. And superheroes!!

(Yes, this is the Breakfast on the Bridge version of Halloween:)

Tardy slips are available:)

I’m back! Time for Breakfast on the Bridge!

I’m back from Glacier! Needless to say, it was pretty darn amazing, in no small part because of this kind of thing:

grizzly(okay, that particular bear was from Alaska a few years ago. But I did see a bunch of grizzlies:)

But more later in a real post. The important thing of note this evening is that Breakfast on the Bridge is tomorrow! If you want to hear all about Glacier in person, before the internet world (or if you just want some free coffee and pastries), come hang out with me on the Steel Bridge sometime between 7 and 9am! If all goes according to tonight’s elaborate baking scheme, I’ll even have vegan/gluten-free muffins to share!

I’m psyched! If there’s anything better than crazy amazing adventure, it’s crazy amazing adventure followed by getting back to your favorite city in the world! :)