“Bicycling Mayor” Ruth Bascom to be Honored Wednesday

Ruth Bascom 1926-2010

I didn’t live in Eugene when Ruth Bascom was the first female mayor of Eugene (1993-1997), nor did I live here when she was a city councilor for eight years before she became mayor.  I wasn’t around when she inspired and was the driving force behind the Ruth Bascom Riverbank Path System (named in 2003).   I wasn’t around when she helped pioneer cycling in Eugene in the 70’s and planned much of our current infrastructure.  But I do live here now, and there is rarely a day that I don’t benefit from the great work she did while she was here.  I never met her, never saw her, but I know her name because she improved my life.

Bascom passed away last Thursday from injuries sustained in an August 11th car crash near Bend.  She was 84.  The Greater Eugene Area Riders (GEARs) is planning a memorial ride on Wednesday, Sept. 1st at EWEB Plaza.

From GEARs:

Wednesday’s ride is free and open to all.  The ride will start at the EWEB Plaza, 500 East 4th Avenue, and follow the riverbank path for about 10 miles.  It will be a flat, easy, slow-paced ride suitable for riders of all ages and abilities.  Bicycle helmets are required by law for all riders under 16 years of age, and are highly recommended for everyone.

The ride is sponsored by GEARs (Greater Eugene Area Riders).  For more information, contact Sue at 541-345-2110 or sue@eugenegears.org

Take the jump to learn more about Ruth Bascom.

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Eugene Area Advocacy Primer Part 1: point2point Solutions

Those of us living and riding in the Eugene/Springfield area have a wonderful problem on our hands.  There are so many advocacy organizations in our area working to improve our lives that it’s almost impossible to keep track of them all.  It can be difficult to see how these organizations fit and work together, and which is responsible for what.   Well, lucky for you gentlefolks WeBikeEugene has come to the rescue!  Last spring we circulated a questionnaire to as many of the local advocacy groups we could, and most of them answered back.  From this we have created the Eugene Area Advocacy Primer.

The primer is a multi-part series which will run more-or-less weekly throughout the rest of summer, and cover organizations such as GEARs, The BikeLane Coalition, The UO Bike Program, Safe Routes to School, The BTA, and point2point Solutions!  If you’d like an organization covered that is not listed here, let us know!

I’ve chosen point2point Solutions to kick off this series.   point2point Solutions is the organization behind the “Drive Less, Save More” campaign last April and the Business Commute Challenge last May.  They are also responsible for the incredibly useful KeepUsMoving.info website which updates commuters on construction that may affect them.

Take the jump to learn about point2point Solutions, how they work, what areas they cover, and what else they do. (They do a lot!)

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Adventures with the Bicycle and Pedestrian Count

This year I finally volunteered for the City of Eugene’s annual Bicycle and Pedestrian Count (I had seen the notice in the GEARs emails for years now, but hadn’t been able to get my act together before). The data gathered during these counts helps the city understand the non-motorized traffic patterns at various strategic intersections on streets and bike paths throughout Eugene. With this information, city engineers can prioritize repairs on roads & paths and otherwise make life that much easier for cyclists and pedestrians.

The lunchtime training session showed the process to be a little more complex than I had expected. Volunteers don’t just sit in a lawn chair and count the number of people who go by. First we categorize by bike/not bike (the latter category includes folks on foot as well as anyone using a wheelchair, stroller, or skateboard).  Then we note the direction they are coming from when they approach the intersection, and whether they turn right, turn left, or proceed forward through the juncture. We start a new form every half-hour to keep the data from getting too cluttered.  The intersection I signed up for (which is along my commute so I could count on a weekday morning and still make it to work on time) happened to be a complicated one that involves two forms side-by-side per half-hour. The extra challenge had me that much more excited! Now all I needed was a sunny day to get started.

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Eugenians at the Alice Awards

The 2010 Alice Awards

This Saturday is the Bicycle Transport Alliance (BTA) 15th annual Alice Awards.  The awards are a fundraiser for the BTA, a Portland-based cycling advocacy organization that works “to promote bicycling and improve bicycling conditions in Oregon and SW Washington.

The BTA website states that The Alice Awards “honors individuals, businesses, and organizations in Oregon whose work has promoted the use of bicycles and increased the livability of our communities. All of the funds raised at the auction go to support the BTA’s continuing advocacy work on behalf of bicyclists.

According to BikePortland, The 2008 Alice Awards raised $150,000 to use towards cyclist advocacy, partially due to the steep $100 ticket prices–a ticket price which is so high that Kendra and I cannot afford to attend the event.  However, the exciting story here is not us being too poor to party, but instead that some Eugene advocates have been nominated for Alice Awards once again!

Take the jump to read about 2010 nominees Paul Adkins and Richard Hughes and to learn about past Eugenian Alice Awards winners!

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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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Meeting Summary: Alder St. Workshop and BPAC: Councilwoman Jennifer Solomon conflicted on bike priorities

The April 7th Alder St. Workshop

Last week was a week of meetings, and I sat through them all just for you!  Although I must confess, it really wasn’t so bad.  The Alder St. Workshop was a pleasant discussion on bike priorities, and the Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee (BPAC) meeting fed me cake.

Topics covered in this post include Alder St. progress and updates, City Councilor Jennifer Solomon’s apparently contradictory bike policies, Transportation Enhancement grants, and downtown EMX routing.


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Ribbon Trail Closed to Bikes, Cyclist Community Disappointed

The "Multi-Use" Ribbon Trail

In what is being characterized as a severe blow to local mountain biking and the general advancement of cycling in Eugene, the newly constructed multi-use Ribbon Trail connecting Hendricks Park to 30th Ave was closed to cyclists as of 5pm Thursday. In a letter to stakeholders (see PDF at the bottom of this post) Neil Björklund, The Eugene Parks and Open Space Planning Manager explains:

“Based on our conversations with a variety of stakeholder groups, there are enough concerns about safety of allowing both hikers and bicycles on this trail that we cannot with confidence recommend both uses on this trail.”

The letter also states that maintenance concerns and the trail’s proximity to Hendricks Park also factored in to the decision, but local advocates retort that the trail was designed with bike use in mind, and that these concerns do not warrant the closing of one of Eugene’s only mountain biking trails.

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Weekend News Wrapup 03/13/10 – 2009 Leaf Program Review, ACT, Future Infrastructure Projects, Online Hazard Reporting, and FLUX Magazine features WeBikeEugene Founder

The Weekend Wrapup is a randomly published WeBikeEugene feature used to summarize several key news items into one easy-to-digest post.  This Weekend Wrapup will cover The City of Eugene’s Leaf Program presentation to the Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee (BPAC),  Active Community Transportation Act and future STP-U funded infrastructure project updates (both via GEARs News), BikeWise.org online hazard reporting, and the University of Oregon’s FLUX magazine story and video featuring yours truly.

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GEARs offers Confident Cycling Classes for Everyone

The new Google Maps “Bike There” feature has further bridged the information gap between novice and expert riders.  Now visitors to Eugene and novice riders, who don’t have an experienced knowledge of Eugene’s bike routes, have safe and scenic routing information available at the tips of their fingers.  However, while Google Maps has made it easy to find a safe cycling route between point A and point B, a rider still may not feel entirely confident or safe riding alone or with their children in traffic or on multi-use paths.

Luckily, the Greater Eugene Area Riders (GEARs) already has a series of cycling classes in place to help educate new, experienced, and youth riders about how to bicycle safely, confidently, and legally in traffic and on the multi-use paths.  For experienced riders the classes do more than just teach safety – they also educate about how traffic laws apply to cyclists, lane positioning, cyclist rights, flat fixing, and safety checks.  The classes are worthwhile no matter what your experience level, and the instructors are friendly and inviting.

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WeBikeEugene.org Official Launch

Welcome to WeBikeEugene.org!

This post  marks the official launch of WeBikeEugene.  We have been posting for a few weeks now, and it’s time to spread the word about the site.

WeBikeEugene has a simple mission statement.  We exist to spread news of cycling to cyclists and others in the Eugene/Springfield area.  We plan to cover advocacy, road riding, commuting, infrastructure projects, off-road projects, recreational riding, road and off-road racing, cycling community events, and anything else having to do with cycling in Eugene, Springfield, and the surrounding area.

Some describe us as Eugene’s version of BikePortland.org. We consider this comparison a great compliment, and hope to be as thorough one day as they are.  However, we have no current plans to expand our coverage beyond the Eugene/Springfield area, nor do we have the resources to update as often.

You can see a little bit of who we are about by browsing our previous topics.  We are not fully operational as of yet, and are still in the process of bringing more contributors on staff.  As we acquire more writers our coverage of events, especially in the racing and off-road scenes, will expand.

We welcome any suggestions for articles, news tips, and submitted articles.  You can contact us here. None of us run this site full-time, and we welcome any help and suggestions from our readers.

As well as doing our own reporting, we will also be aggregating other Eugene/Springfield area news sources, including GEARS news, Safe Routes to School news, the City of Eugene’s InMotion Newsletter, and other sources.  Our goal is not to compete with these already wonderful news sources, but instead to make them more accessible to the general public.

Many people have put a lot of effort into making this site a reality, but it will only be useful if people spread the word.  A cycling community educated about current cycling events will progress faster than one that is left in dark.  You can help by reading, spreading the word, suggesting article ideas, or even contributing.

And, of course, the most important thing is to get out and ride!