MTB Eugene Continues to Fight for Cyclist Access to the Ribbon Trail [updated]

Members MTB Eugene before the meeting

Last Monday, 60 members of MTB Eugene returned to the Eugene City Council to continue lobbying for mountain bike access to the newly-built Ribbon Trail.  This was MTB Eugene‘s second time testifying before city council.  This time, they came armed with more reasons why there should be more mountain biking trails in Eugene–including specific rebuttals to Neil Björklund’s letter in which he listed his reasons for closing the trail.

Unfortunately, this particular city council meeting was sort of ridiculous.  The public testimony portion of the meeting ran for over an hour and a half: 42 different people testified on diverse topics like the West 11th EMX route, downtown homelessness, the new “no loitering” paint by the downtown bus station, and the two chicken limit in Eugene.  The testimonies included aggressive poetry, a few hard-to-follow rants, and a live chicken.  I rather enjoyed the entire thing, being a fan of circuses in general, but it was hard for the eight people testifying for MTB Eugene to stand out amongst the craziness.

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Row, Row, Row Your Bike…

Today's flooding looked like this flooding from March 30th, except that the trees have leaves now.

The Chambers underpass on the Fern Ridge Bike Trail was flooded again at 6pm today.  The picture on the left  is actually of the Chambers underpass flooding a few months ago, but it was pouring while I was there today and I didn’t want to get my camera out.  I figure if you’ve seen one Chambers underpass flood, you’ve seen them all.

According to a commenter, the last time the Chambers underpass flooded, the West 11th and Beltline underpasses also flooded.  Bike path flooding tends to leave behind lots of slick mud and debris– such as broken glass and sticks— so be extra careful on your morning commutes.

I didn’t see the flooding until 6pm, so I was unable to report it to the City Maintenance Hotline (682-4800):  they are only open from 8 am to 5 pm.  It would have been nice to give them an early heads-up so that they could have cleared the path for the morning commuters.  Unlike the City’s leaf program website (currently suspended), there are no after-hours options for reporting debris issues.

This is how I may have to start getting to work if this stupid rain doesn't quit.

However, they do have a 24 hour pothole reporting form which I’ve begun using when the hotline is closed to report maintenance and debris (such as glass in the bike right-of-way).  I don’t know if doing this is effective, but if we all start doing it maybe something will change.

Was there flooding on your ride today or recently?  Let us know using our recently-fixed comments form!

Confident Cycling Education in Eugene

You hear people complain about ‘scofflaw cyclists’ all the time. Although I don’t think we’re going to get those who are totally blowing through stop signs, red lights, and crosswalks with pedestrians into a BikeEd class, I do think it’s a great idea for all cyclists to learn a bit more about good riding skills. Even those who consider themselves “experienced cyclists” would benefit from a League of American Bicyclists class.  Being a well-educated rider doesn’t only makes you a shining ambassador for all road users;  it also gives you some great skills and puts to words what you might already be practicing so that you can easily pass that information onto friends and family who might be interested in riding more.

Luckily, here in Eugene we have a great bike education program going through the Greater Eugene Area Riders (GEARs).  Classes are cheap at only $10 for the full 9-hour “Street Skills 101” class and $5 to free for the 3-hour “Traffic Skills for Families” class thanks to sponsorship and fundraising efforts by GEARs and its members. These “Confident Cycling” courses offer beginner and advanced riders loads of great information and they put more responsible, educated, confident, and skilled riders on the road.    Why not be one of them? Register now.

In The News: Bike/Ped Master Plan, urban freeriding, bicycle canning, and the Business Commute Challenge

“With any luck, people will fall in love with [biking] and start doing it a couple more times a week — not just during these big commute challenges, but (also) part of their daily lives,” believes Katura Reynolds. – from KEZI

Bikers and Bikettes, it’s time for that WBE feature that you know and love: The “In The News Wrap-up!” *hold for applause* Today’s wrap-up has a distinct “Eugene Weekly” flavor to it, and will feature the EW’s articles on the new Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan, urban freeriding, and a bicycle powered cannery.  We will also cover KEZI’s plethora of articles about last week’s wildly successful Business Commute Challenge.

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National Bike to Work Day Open Post

Today is National Bike to Work Day. To celebrate I’m going to post some of my favorite cycling propaganda, and I encourage you to do the same.

Take the jump to read Jim Wilcox‘s recent Register-Guard editorial and view a few pro-cycling videos that have been making the rounds.  Please feel free to post your own links and pictures in the comments.  I’d love to see some shots from this morning’s breakfast events.

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MTB Eugene plans to testify again at Monday’s City Council Meeting, requests all cyclists to come and show support

The Eugene City Council listens to testimony from MTB Eugene on April 26th

The recently-formed mountain bike advocacy group MTB Eugene is returning to the Eugene City Council on Monday, May 24th to lobby for the re-opening of the Ribbon Trail to cyclists.  MTB Eugene, which was formed in response to the city’s decision to ban cyclists from the Ribbon Trail, has a goal to eventually open the entire Ridgeline trail system to bicyclists.

The closing of the Ribbon Trail has proven to be the most popular subject on WeBikeEugene by far; this seems to indicate that mountain bikers in Eugene are a silent and suppressed majority.  Indeed, Eugene (like Portland) has ridiculously little mountain bike trail access in relationship to its size and large bicycling populace.  Much of this is due to a perceived conflict between mountain bikers and hikers, and the belief that mountain bikes damage trails more than hikers.  Both of these beliefs have been shown in study after study after study after study to be false.  Some studies have indicated that the real issue is the fear that hikers have of conflict with mountain bikers – a fear that for the most part exists only in hikers not exposed to mountain bikers.

MTB Eugene’s testimony before city council on Monday will address a few of these issues, as well as other specific reasons that The Ribbon Trail should be re-opened to bikes.

Go here for previous coverage of the closing of the Ribbon Trail and here for coverage and video of MTB Eugene’s previous testimony before City Council.

Take the jump to read MTB Eugene’s full press release for the upcoming May 24th City Council Meeting.

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Press Release: May 19th “Ride of Silence” Honors Bicyclists Killed on Roads

The following is a press release from Sue Wolling, President of the Greater Eugene Area Riders (GEARs):

“Ride of Silence” Honors Bicyclists Killed on Roads

The Ride of Silence, an annual bicycle ride held to memorialize cyclists killed or seriously injured on local roadways and to promote traffic safety, will be held on Wednesday, May 19.  Riders will gather at the EMU Amphitheater on the University of Oregon campus (13th & University) at 6:45 p.m.  After a brief ceremony, the group will leave on bicycle to visit the sites of several bike fatalities in recent years.

The Ride of Silence is a slow-paced, silent ride, similar to a funeral procession.  Besides honoring those who have been killed while bicycling, the Ride seeks to give a visible reminder to motorists and bicyclists alike of their responsibility for ensuring safety on our shared roadways.

According to the Oregon Department of Transportation, eight bicyclists were killed in motor vehicle collisions in Eugene-Springfield from 2004-2008 (the most recent data available).  Another 37 collisions resulting in serious injuries to bicyclists were reported to ODOT during the same period.  At least two additional bicyclists were killed in rural Lane County from 2004 to 2008..

Wednesday’s ride will depart from the EMU around 7 p.m. on a flat, 10-mile route that will stop by three different locations at which bicyclists have been killed.  A brief memorial to the cyclist involved will occur at each site.  The ride is open to bicyclists of all ages and abilities.  Helmets are required by law for all cyclists under the age of 16, and are strongly encouraged for all.  For more information, contact Sue Wolling at 541-345-2110 or sue (at) eugenegears (dot) org.

Mid-May InMotion: There is a ton of stuff going on this month!

Sign up for the Business Commute Challenge this week!

The wonderful folks who write the city’s monthly InMotion newsletter have put out a mid-month supplement to help cover the plethora of events happening during National Bike Month (May, silly).  I’m grateful, because that means they’ve done all my work for me!

This short supplement covers the upcoming “Breakfast at the Bridges” events and this week’s Business Commute Challenge (featuring a couple Breakfast and the Bridges scheduled for Friday May 21st; see InMotion for locations).  May 21st is Bike to Work Day, so in addition to the Breakfast at the Bridges the BikeLane Coalition is providing free coffee at Eugene Coffee Company at 18th and Chambers and Gary’s Coffee at 525 High.  The InMotion newsletter also covers Wednesday’s Ride of Silence and Envision Eugene.

Take the jump for all the InMotiony details!

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Introducing the Willamette River Open Space Vision: The possible future of cycling in Eugene and Springfield

GEARs inspects the Willamette River Open Space Vision

The Lane Council of Government’s (LCOG)  Willamette River Open Space Vision has been making the rounds lately and will be presented to local elected officials in June.  It is a vision of what citizens would like the area to look like in 20 years, and LCOG is trying to gain as many community endorsements of possible in order to give the plan some momentum and “heft.”

This vision is broad;  it encompasses river flow and health, agriculture, food security, transportation, and many other things. It also provides a great wish list for future bike paths and routes in the area, including some already scheduled for construction.  Take the jump for exciting details.

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Lake Franklin: Creating Beachfront Property in Glenwood

Every so often in Oregon, it’s been known to rain. And when the rain comes, Lake Franklin arises from the misty landscape.

Franklin Blvd in the guise of a placid pool

Low tide with automobiles.


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