Thursday, May 31, 2007

Ride Report - End of May 2007

3rd consecutive day riding after my 6-day hiatus. Feels good, though the muscles are a little tired.

Mileage: 12.71 (this morning)
Top Speed: 25.8 mph (nothing special)
Average Speed: 11.0 mph (took it easy, and still got a good avg. spd.)
Time: 01:09:09
Temperature: 60 degrees F
Weight: 248 pounds

For the Year
151 Days in. 1,513.90 miles (average 10.03 miles per day)
Average speed is 10.7 mph, for a total of 143:59:50 in the saddle (that's almost 6 full days)
Top Speed (downhill): 42.8 mph (May 10th)
Highest Average Speed for 2007 Commute: 13.7 mph (April 27th)
Highest Average Speed ever on Commute: 16.5 mph (from old house on SE Allan in Oak Grove)

Total Mileage, May 31, 2007: 1,513.90 miles
Goal Mileage, May 31, 2007: 2,184.00 miles (I am 681 miles behind my goal)
Prior Mileage, May 31, 2006: 1,231.99 miles (I am 282 miles ahead of last year)

The weather has been nice, though hot in the evening. I'm really ready to have 70 degree days, but I think we're done with that for the season. Pedalpalooza is coming, and I am leading a ride on June 18th.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Halfway to Last Year, a Month Early!

Ok, so when I ride home tonight, I'll break 1,500 miles for the year. Last year, I rode 3,022 miles. To match that, I'd need to ride 1,511 miles by June 30th. Today is May 30th. Hey, not bad! Well, unless you compare it to my goal for this year, and then I suck. ;-)

The goal for this year is 5,800 miles. I'm currently about 670 miles behind where I should be to meet my goal. I need to start putting on some serious mileage if I want to meet it. To be honest, though, I'll be perfectly happy with anything over 4,000 miles, and at my current rate, I should end up with 3,600 for the year - so I only need to put out 10% more effort than I have so far to break that 4,000 mark.

Last night I led a Bike Boulevard ride around Milwaukie. There was a lot of interest at the last TSP bicycle workshop about the concept of Bike Boulevards, which Portland has successfully implemented, and the BTA is pushing heavily for. Milwaukie really doesn't have a lot of good candidate roads, but last night we rode three of the best ones - Monroe, Stanley, and 29th. In each case, they provide a way across the city that parallels a much busier route. Monroe and Stanley are heavy secondary routes in their own right, and could really benefit from some traffic calming, or even a cul-de-sac / passthrough arrangement of some sort. The real question is how the local neighborhoods would feel about it. The ride itself went well, about 7 people showed up, including city planners Katie Mangle and Brett Kelver. The next TSP meeting is coming up soon - Saturday, June 2nd at 10am.

Back to the personal front, I averaged 11.9 mph on the way in to work today, which isn't bad. I'm riding on the new back wheel now - I replaced the old one on Monday. The old (original) back wheel is a stock Matrix 750 rim, and I'd broken 18 of 32 spokes over the last 18 months. Last Thursday, I sucked the chain into the rear wheel and bent (and in some cases gouged) the bottom of 12 spokes on the drivetrain side. I tightened a number of opposing spokes to make the wheel straight enough to ride home on (and feel pretty good about my emergency repair skills). So, away it goes, and the new wheel is mounted and ready to go. The spokes tinged a bit while adjusting, and it seems to be properly stressed in now.

So once again, I'm ready to ride!

Monday, May 28, 2007

Non-Cycling Memorial Day Weekend

Yes, it's true - sometimes I do things that have nothing to do with the bike. No, I am not in this picture. This is the Egil Skalligrimson Memorial Tournament, which is an SCA event. The SCA is the Society for Creative Anachronism, a 41-year old organization where people emulate pre-17th century personas (a persona is like a character. You create a fictitious person who could have existed in the time period you are interested in, and that becomes your name / persona in the Society) (Yes, I simplified that explanation - you SCAdians can just deal with it).
My name in the SCA, for example, is Hallgrimr Ulfsson. Hallgrimr is a norseman from 10th century Norway - commonly referred to as a Viking. Egils (the Egil Skal. Mem. Tourney) is / was primarily a norse-themed event. (they changed that this year - now it's all periods) So, I spent the weekend camping with a bunch of people in Creswell, Oregon, all dressed in pre-17th century garb and running around with chainmail, swords, axes and all kinds of cool stuff.
It also means I was off the bike for 6 days. *sigh*

Friday, May 18, 2007

Mileage Report - Friday, May 18th

First of all, let me start out by saying the Bike to Work event put on by PDOT was great, and on top of that, Jay Graves worked on my bike!

See, I have proof! ;-)

There were eggs and toast (I don't know what you call that - they tore out the center of the bread and used that hole to contain the egg while it fried), pedal-powered smoothies, bagels and other goodies. Elly handed out stickers, Jeff Smith from PDOT was at the grill, Roger Geller was there, as was half of Shift and at least a couple members of the BTA. Oh, and Aaron Tarfman, transportation diplomat and member of ECT. I got to stay for most of the event, since I took the day off work. (Yes, I know, kind of defeats the purpose of Bike-to-Work) I took advantage of my day to ride around taking pictures, ostensibly for the Milwaukie TSP Street Design workshop. In practice, though, I think I got more pictures of cool houses & buildings in Historic Irvington and SE Belmont and Hawthorne than I did street features.

The day was great, though, and I spun 58.4 miles on Wednesday. I capped off the day with the Ride of Silence, a memorial for fallen cyclists. We passed 5 (or was it 6) of the ghost bikes in Portland which mark the locations where cyclists were killed by cars. City Commissioner Sam Adams was there, Mayor Tom Potter was not. <Soapbox Moment> I don't know how Tom Potter can say he's a friend of cyclists, and helps the community when he not only initially does not fund the bike master plan update, but also never shows up for community events involving cycling. A one-time showing at the opening of the Three Bridges project does not count. </Soapbox>

The RoS was a little eerie - having hundreds of cyclists riding without noise, without cheering, everyone with a somber expression, wearing black armbands, and only the sound of gears and pedals turning. A dozen or so of Portland's motorcycle officers were our official escort, as we had a parade permit. The route took us down (and blocked) a number of main routes in the city: Alberta, MLK, Fremont, 33rd Avenue, Stark and Belmont. I don't know what everyone in their cars thought of this spectacle of bikers showly riding by with police escort.

It was a serious end to the day, but one I feel very.... priviledged to be a part of. While I didn't know any of the deceased cyclists personally, for a moment I felt one with all cyclists on the ride, worldwide, honoring those who have gone, and commiserating with the loved ones they left behind. The power of those emotions, and the rituals that we build to surround and direct them, is in a word, awe-inspiring.

The Shift meeting afterwards was an appropriate coda, and a good opportunity to unwind.

Wow. reading that makes this next part seem trite.

Mileage as of May 18th:
Total miles: 1,394.56 (average 10.11 miles/day for 138 days)
Average Speed (overall): 10.7 mph
133:05:36 hours total saddle time
Top Speed: 42.8 mph (May 10th, 2007)

Goal Mileage: 2028 miles
Mileage this date last year: 1209.25 miles

Big Rides: 2006 (over 30 miles, single ride)
Feb 12th: 41.46 (Worst Day of the Year Ride)
Feb 19th: 52.16
Mar 05th: 74.58
Mar 19th: 101.00
Jun 15th: 85.03
Jul 02nd: 107.07
Jul 15th: 103.25 (Seattle to Portland)
Jul 16th: 103.25 (Seattle to Portland)
Aug 27th: 113.13 (Rode from Milwaukie to Timberline and back)
Sep 12th: 34.78
Oct 08th: 78.42 (Harvest Century)
Nov 12th: 30.63

Big Rides: 2006 (over 30 miles, single ride)
Jan 07th: 34.36
Mar 25th: 55.01
May 01st: 32.43
May 05th: 40.03
May 29th: 31.85 (Added May 31st)

Hmm.... my rides are a bit smaller this year - going to have to correct that forthwith. I have ridden 12 of the last 14 days, though. February and April were my weak points this year, with a 12-day and 14-day gap, respectively.

Back to the grind.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Midnight Mystery Ride - May 11th

Last night was the ever-popular and always fascinating Midnight Mystery Ride. As always, the ride started at midnight (duh) at one of Portland's fine drinking establishments. This month, the destination was Hayden Island, and I made it to the destination area but did not stick around for the festivities - since I live in Clackamas County, it's a LOOOONG ride home.

In fact, since I had to stop by work and finish a couple of things before heading home, it was longer than normal: 20 miles from the office to the ride location and back to the office, and I got back to the office at around 2:30am. It was well after 4am when I was finished and ready to go, and I was so wiped that I knew I wouldn't make it home. So, I crashed on the couch in the break room until 6am and then took my bike on Tri-Met until I got within a mile of my place.

The ride itself was great - lots of people I knew, a bigger crowd than normal, and an entertaining ride through the back alleys of N / NE Portland for a mile or more, all while watching a pair of tallbikes and a hundred plus riders try to negotiate choke points, avoid chains, fences, broken glass and busted pavement. I almost took a fall near Delta Park when I got into the gravel at the road edge on a turn, and once or twice I had riders cut right across my path really darned close. That happens, though - you've got to be prepared for it.

This is my fourth MMR, and one of the reasons why I love Portland. Sure, Amsterdam has 40% of its working people commuting by bike, but we have this incredible hodgepodge of cycling culture, and all the weirdness that ensues. It's part of what makes Portland such a vibrant place to live. I think it's great.

The start point, Amnesia, was pretty cool, and had tons of bike parking (they obviously know the score - cater to bikes and you sell a lot of beer). Barflymag says they have live bluegrass on Fridays, but apparently that stops before 11:30pm, or there just wasn't anyone there that night. The porter they had on tap was pretty good - I'll probably head back over there at some point to try the food.

Anyway, thank you Team Midnight for the Midnight Mystery Ride!

Thursday, May 10, 2007

New Top Speed!

Ok, so I needed to run some personal errands this morning, and went into work late. Since I was over near Clackamas Mall anyway, I rode up Bob Schumacher Drive to the intersection with Idleman, SE 97th Avenue and Otty Rd. (That sounds complicated, but it's not - it's a regular intersection, but each of the two roads has a different name on each leg)

Otty Road is almost ridiculously steep. Not quite as steep as Thiessen, but close. Now, Otty road has a bike lane part of the way, and has a 40mph speed limit. Oregon law permits you to leave the bike lane to avoid hazardous conditions. Riding at high speed to me qualifies as hazardous, so I rode in the middle of the car lane, and for good reason - I could keep up with traffic. I hit 42.8 mph on my way down Otty Road, and unfortunately had to stop for the red light next to Mall-Wart (sorry, Wal-Mart - same thing). So, I'm kind of celebrating, because I also broke 1,200 miles for the year. Anyway, here's the stats:

Mileage: 12.21 miles
Top Speed: 42.8 mph
Average Speed: 11.0 mph
Time on Bike: 01:06:47

2007 To-Date:
Mileage: 1,204.32 miles
Top Speed for Year: 42.8 mph (Otty Rd. downhill, Thursday, May 10th)
Total Days: 130
Mileage per Day: 9.26
Overall Average Speed: 10.7 mph
Total Time on Bike: 114:17:31

Goal Mileage by Today: 1,920 miles (715 miles behind schedule)
Mileage This Date, 2006: 1,151.11 miles (53.2 miles more in 2007 than in 2006)

What I need to do now is to start cranking up the mileage to make up for the gap. My schedule assumes riding to work 4 days per week, so every week I ride all 5 days I gain another 25 miles. At that rate, it will take me 28 weeks to make up the difference, which is basically all year. So, I need to work in some long training rides on the weekend to make up the difference.


Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Ride Report - Wednesday, May 9th 2007

Mileage: 12.61 miles
Average Speed: 11.0 mph
Time: 01:08:41 (in motion)
Temperature: 44 degrees F
Weight: 246.5 pounds

Year (2007): 129 days
Total Mileage: 1,179.36 miles
Overall Average Speed: 10.7 mph
Top Speed for the Year: 41.6 mph (Otty Road downhill - May 8th am)
Total Time: 111:59:57
Average Distance per Day: 9.14 miles
Mileage Goal (today): 1,908 miles
Mileage Goal (entire year): 5,820.6 miles
Mileage this date, 2006: 1,128.61 miles

Notes: Well, I did not ride RACC like I'd planned. I also didn't ride the Monster Cookie Metric Century. So, I'm nowhere near my mileage goal, and instead of being down 400-500 miles, I'm now down almost 730 miles. So, I've got a ways to catch up. Last night I left work late, and while riding home I got some good pictures of the dragonboaters. Not much longer until Rose Festival, when we get to see the dragonboats in action. I think I'm going to head downtown for that this year. I just need to remember to take sunscreen with me. Also coming up is Pedalpalooza, Portland's plethora of bicycle fun.

I'm hoping I can make enough of those events to build up some mileage. I'm also trying to use the bike rather than the car for as many things as I can. Technically I don't own a car anyway. I mean, my name is on the title, but I rarely if ever use it. Which brings me to some notes for an article I'm going to write and post either on this blog or another (new) soapbox blog:

Appropriate Transport:
  • 0 - 1/2 miles: Walk
  • 1/2 - 5 miles: Bicycles
  • 5 - 25 miles: Bicycle / Car (depending on how much time you have)
  • 25 - 100 miles: Car (or bike if you have all day, and the stamina to do it)
  • 100 - 300 miles: Car (or Bike if you have LOTS of time, and lodging)
  • 300 + miles: Train, Plane, Car (depending on time and other factors)

I'd prefer people replace "car" with something more fuel efficient. Motorcycles and scooters have less efficient engines, but they move a lot smaller mass, so many of them get better gas mileage. Do we really need 4,000 pound vehicles that seat six? Not for most people. maybe as many as 1/4 of everyone in greater Portland could get by 95% of the time with a 1 or 2-seat vehicle with a 100-150 mile range. We could easily build electric cars to do that.

More when I've though about it a while.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Milwaukie TSP Bike / Ped Meeting #2

Saturday, May 5th was the 2nd bicycle / pedestrian workshop for the Milwaukie Transportation System Plan update. This workshop is part of a series of meetings hosted by the City of Milwaukie and facilitated by Jeanne Lawson Associates to allow the public unprecedented input into the planning and decision-making process regarding the future of Milwaukie's transportation network. DKS Associates, a national transportation planning firm, has been hired by the city to provide design and planning services to supplement and support the city's staff.

Brett Kelver opened the meeting with an overview of what the workshop is trying to accomplish - this was the second of two planned workshops. In the first workshop, the participants identified current conditions and identified a number of areas where improvements would be beneficial. The planners then took that information, and along with the original 1997 TSP they compiled a list of operational and capital projects to be listed in the new TSP. In this second meeting, the job of the participants was to prioritize those projects and provide feedback on anything that might be "missing".

Ryan Marquardt then reviewed the evaluation criteria for evaluating projects, which covered the following areas:
  • Connectivity - To transit, the Springwater Trail, activity centers (schools, parks, commercial areas), and neighborhoods. Also focusing on "filling in the gaps" in the existing pedways / bikeways.
  • Safety - Addresses locations with higher rates of pedestrian / bicycle accidents

  • Existing Facilities - Addresses facilities that are currently substandard or in need of repair.

  • Commuting - Improves or enhances commuting corridors.

  • Maintenance - How difficult will the project be to maintain?

  • Overall Scope - Determine whether it is a long-term or short-term solution, and how well the project connects / coincides with other jurisdictions.

Brett then went over the Operational Projects:
  1. Signage for the treatment plant trail (Kellogg Trail)
  2. Signange for the Springwater Corridor Trail
  3. Signage for Sparrow Street (Island Station neighborhood)
  4. Signage for neighborhood bike routes
  5. Re-striping projects (bike lanes)
  6. Sweeping out bike lanes
  7. Street-grate replacement (of existing badly-designed grates)
  8. Street-grate design
  9. Safe crossings for the Trolley Trail
  10. Milwaukie bike map
  11. Enforcement
  12. Education
  13. Multi-jurisdictional coordination

A lot of lively discussion ensued, mostly focused around items 3, 5, 11 and 12. The Island Station neighborhood was well-represented at the meeting, and it was determined that the issues facing cycling and River road on the hill up from and down to McLoughlin had concerns beyond simply signage, and that the project should be moved to the capital projects list. Ditto for the Trolley Trail. The participants generally agreed that the bike map that the City of Portland's Transportation Department put together was a great thing. (PDOT made a Milwaukie Bike Map thanks to a grant from Metro which covered extending the Smart Trips program to the Milwaukie portion of the Ardenwald / Johnson Creek neighborhood).

Additionally, "Encouragement" was added to the Operational Projects - programs involving community rides and other ways to encourage people to get out in the city on their bikes.

The discussion was followed by a vote. Each participant received a set of small circular labels (5 total) and was instructed to vote on the projects they thought were most important. Voting with more than 1 label per project was allowed.

After the voting was complete, it was evident that the participants overwhelmingly supported bike route signage, sweeping of bike lanes and education. Participants also supported (to a lesser extent) street-grate design, multi-jurisdiction coordination, the bike map (printing and distributing), signage for the trails and re-striping the existing lanes.

Alan Snook from DKS Associates then went over the capital projects, and introduced a map of the proposed changes to the bikeway system. Various points on the map were designated as capital projects, which were divided into Intersection Improvements, Bikeway Improvements, and Off-street Trail Improvements. Additionally, the 2 projects moved from the Operational Projects list were added, and during the course of discussion a few additional projects were also added. The final list that the participants voted on contained the following projects:

Intersection Improvements

A - Hwy 224 @ SE 17th Ave.
B - SE 17th Ave. @ SE McLoughlin Blvd. (99E)
C - SE Adams St. @ SE 21st Ave. (Railroad Crossing)
D - SE Johnson Creek Blvd. @ Springwater Trail
E - SE Johnson Creek Blvd. @ SE Linwood Ave.
F - SE Linwood Ave. @ SE King Rd.
G - SE Linwood Ave. @ SE Monroe St.
H - SE Linwood Ave. @ SE Harmony Rd.

Bikeway Improvements

I - SE 17th Ave. from SE Waverly Dr. to Harrison St.
J - SE Harrison St. from McLoughlin (99E) to SE 21st Ave.
K - SE Lake Rd. from SE Main St. to SE Guilford Dr.
L - SE Oatfield Rd. from SE Guilford Ct. to SE Lake Rd.
M - SE Harrison St. from Hwy 224 to SE 42nd Ave.
N - SE 37th Ave. from SE Harrison St. to Hwy 224.
O - SE Railroad Ave. from SE 37th Ave. to SE Linwood Ave.
P - SE 43rd Ave. from SE King Rd. to SE Filbert St.
Q - SE Linwood Ave. from SE Queen Rd. to SE Johnson Creek Blvd.
R - SE Linwood Ave. from SE Juniper St. to SE Harmony Rd.
S - SE Rusk Rd. from SE Lake Rd. to North Clackamas Park.

Off-street Trail Improvements

T - Springwater Corridor Trail from Three Bridges area to SE 82nd Ave.
U - Milwaukie Riverfront to Treatment Plant.

Added Projects

V - Sparrow & River Rd. - to connect to treatment plant trail.
W - "Big-picture" multi-jurisdictional coordination (e.g. regional bikeway system, etc.)
X - Trolley Trail design / planning / signage
Y - Bike Boulevards / Designated path location
Z - Railroad to International Way connection
AA - Intersection: International Way / Lake
AB - Intersection: Oak / 224

The participants then voted (10 stickers each this time, to reflect the greater number of projects), and a few items stood out well above the rest.

First off, the participants were overwhelmingly in favor of bike boulevards / designated bike paths. There was also a strong desire for improvements to the intersections of SE 17th with Hwy 224 and McLoughlin / SE Harrison. My issues with that second intersection require a post all to itself, which I'll try to put up in the next couple of days. Also given extra weight were projects V, W, and AB.

Other projects that the participants preferred were D, I, J, O, T and Z.

The remaining projects received 3 labels or less each, and projects C, R and S did not receive any votes.

Also discussed were the possibility of more exclusive multi-use paths, especially along the Willamette, and increasing connectivity by using alleyways / greenways between the "dead end" connectors in subdivisions. Milwaukie contains a number of hidden alleyways and accesses that are available to be utilized by bikes and pedestrians.

A couple of participants pointed to Portland's use of "dots" for directing bike traffic, and their new network of bicycle signage. Emily Gardner of the BTA (who was present as a meeting participant) expounded on this issue and others.

Due to the large number of issues raised during the meeting, and concern that all issues would be able to be addressed, it was determined that a third bike / ped workshop should be scheduled. Katie Mangle, Planning Director for the City of Milwaukie, also asked if the participants thought that the city needed a bicycle advisory committee, and a number of meeting participants thought that would be a great idea.

Further info coming when I have it.


After the meeting, I led a ride through a portion of Milwaukie to illustrate some of the issues present in the current transportation network. The ride included (among others) transportation diplomat Aaron Tarfman, Brett Kelver and Ryan Marquardt from the planning department, and Del Scharffenberg, a member of the Clackamas County Pedestrian / Bikeway Advisory Committee. We covered the major problem intersections along McLoughlin and SE 17th, the Three Bridges project, one of Milwaukie's "hidden" alleyways, and low and medium traffic residential and connector streets. I had planned a longer route, but misjudged the time required to cover all the locations I had planned.

Overall, the ride went well. It's difficult to understand the issues regarding Mcloughlin and the southern commute unless you actually ride it. Likewise, the problems with the SE 17th / McLoughlin / Harrison intersection are much more effectively communicated when you can witness them firsthand. I'm planning to do another 2-3 rides, each focusing on a different area of the city. We'll see how that goes.