Thanks to Sabin’s fantastic bike train leader, Bill Griesar, for a fun write up with awesome photos from a recent visit from a group of sixth graders out of Rochester, NY. They were in town to learn how to make bicycling better back home. Other meetings during their four-day fact finding mission in Portland included visits to Alta Planning and Design, The Bicycle Transportation Alliance, Portland State University, and even a tour of the Chris King factory! Big thanks to everyone who helped throw together this great learning experience! Read on to hear how the morning went from Bill’s point of view.
Safe Routes staffer, Carolina, recently rode along with an all-girl bike train headed to Beverly Cleary in NE Portland. She passed along this write up for us:
Twice a week Brock Lower wakes up early in the morning, gathers his two daughters, their bikes, and meets with their friends to lead an all-girl bike train to Beverly Cleary. Rain or shine, the group rides to school all year long. On the cold January morning that I joined them, the temperature was barely over 30 degrees. To encourage the bike train, Brock brought hot cocoa (including a topping of whip cream) to the meeting spot.
A total of 5 riders make up this weekly bike train. Brock started riding with his daughters a couple of years back and invited their friends to come along. The girls enjoy riding to school. As one student put it, she loved riding in the rain “because it left a cool print on her pants.” Brock enjoys riding with his daughters to school as it gives them some extra time to talk about their days.
Lewis Elementary in SE Portland has a long history of bike and walk events. A group of dedicated parents host monthly Walk + Bike Celebrations complete with hot cocoa, raffle prizes, and music; then every Thursday a Bike Train rides from the north while a Walking School Bus heads in from the west. Once a month they also hold a Park & Parade ‘Stop + Walk’ program where parents park their cars in the nearby Key Bank parking lot and walk to school together as a group. Just when you thought there wasn’t anything else left to support walking and biking, they’ve come up with a new idea: A longer, 45-60 minute bike train route into school for those Late Start mornings.
I came along for the first official Late Start Morning Bike Train tour today with parent organizer, Lennie Bjornsen, and two spirited Lewis students. There were cold hands and feet, but also a lot of smiles and laughs. Here’s Lennie going over the map with one of the riders.
We met at a nearby park and followed a route mapped by Lennie and two fellow Lewis parents. They use Google Maps to link the route and meeting points up to other parents on their Walk + Bike email list.
Our tour led us down some of SE Portland’s unpaved streets, which our two riders thought was awesome! They maneuvered the potholes and puddles like pros. Sometimes that ‘maneuvering’ resulted in a little intentional puddle splashing.
One of the best things about taking part in their morning ride was overhearing all the chatter and exclamations as our two riders pointed out everything they were seeing. Holiday decorations, community gardens, parks. It was fantastic. These ladies had a great time taking to the streets of SE.
We only had two riders this morning due to sick kids and busy schedules, but Lennie and fellow parents are planning to keep up the momentum for these longer 45-60 minute rides. They’ve created the route in hopes of picking up the most amount of Lewis kids throughout the surrounding neighborhoods. Perhaps come spring they’ll have a great display of students on wheels. This morning was a wonderful start.
Last week I got the chance to ride along with a bike train headed to Chief Joseph in North Portland. They have been riding every day this year, rain or shine! The four boys in the photo above are all fifth graders and have taken the Safe Routes/BTA bike safety education course at Chief Jo. I was impressed with their know-how of signals and safety. They take turns leading the train on different days after they’ve proven their safety skills.
I showed up early and had coffee with Jess and Michael, two parents who met one another at the local pool this summer and decided to start up the bike train together. Jess made some killer coffee cake for us! We joined up with some neighbors who like riding with the train. They dropped us off at Chief Jo and continued on to Portland Village School. Here they are waiting for us.
The building they live in has sweet secure bike parking for all the residents .
Their train is waiting for a safer crossing to be finished at Michigan and Rosa Parks so they can cross the street without getting off their bikes.
We had an awesome ride which kept to low-traffic Neighborhood Greenways the whole way after the sidewalk on Rosa Parks.
Thanks for the awesome ride, Chief Jo!
Last Friday, Hayhurst had their first official bike train ride. I went along to check it out and ride in my first bike train, too! We started at the Mittleman Jewish Community Center and picked up other folks along the way. One of the riders made awesome signs for people to wear on their backs.
Our route took us over a few SW hills, but it wasn’t anything that the train couldn’t handle!
The rider with the red backpack had just ridden to school for the first time on International Walk and Bike Day the Wednesday before. Awesome! He said riding to school was lots of fun.
And when we got to school everyone parked underneath Hayhurst’s new covered bike shelter that was built over the summer.
There’s no school this Friday, so the train will have to wait until next week to try another ride. There were already other parents interested when they saw us pull up to school. What a great way to start the day!
Watch the official bike train movie.
It was been a beautiful, crisp, and rain free week so far in Portland. Sabin’s bike train was filmed by Kona bicycling for a video about bike culture they are producing. I served hot chocolate at Beach (N Portland – Concord and Albertaish) and Vernon school (NE Portland – Killingsworth and 20th) this week and next week I’m set at Trillium and Beverly Cleary as well as giving the City Brown Bag talk Thursday at 12.
Here are some pictures from the week!