Bike counters show weekend and trail rides are up as much as 70% since the outbreak began

Chart of monthly Fremont Bridge bike counts.The number of bike trips across the Fremont Bridge in February was 47% higher than the February average from 2013-19, continuing a trend of strong year-over-year bike trip growth in recent years.

But then March happened, and employers shut down offices and fired workers. Unemployment skyrocketed along with working at home as our city attempted to slow the spread of the coronavirus that causes covid-19. And you can easily see this all play out in different ways through the data collected by the city’s 24/7 bike counters. I taught myself some new spreadsheet tricks and reorganized my bike counter data system, so I have a bit of new data to share.

Let’s start with the Fremont Bridge, typically the busiest single crossing point for people biking because so many different local and regional bike routes funnel to this single crossing of the Ship Canal. As we reported earlier this year, the bike counts across the Fremont Bridge completely shattered all previous records in 2019. It wasn’t even close. 2019 counts passed the all-time record for bike trips in a single year just a week or so after Halloween, and the counts did not slow down after that.

The new year didn’t stop the momentum. Even with January’s snow, 2020’s count was a few percent higher than the average January, most of which had no snow at all. And February, wow. February was a stunning 47% higher than the average of all previous February counts.

Then people started dying of covid-19, and we realized the virus was already here. As society completely reorganized itself, the way we typically gauge bike use became obsolete over night. The Fremont Bridge bike counts plummeted because commute trips, especially trips headed downtown, plummeted. The fall was not as precipitous as the fall in car trips, which were down more than 50% in Seattle, but the shift from a 47% increase in February to an 18% decrease in March is symbolic of how quick and difficult the shift to life under lockdown was. Continue reading

Posted in news | Tagged , , , , | 5 Comments

Trail Alert: Burke-Gilman Trail will be detoured near Ballard Fred Meyer

Map of the construction site with timelines for closures. The detour is listed as May 2020 to August 2022The Ship Canal Water Quality project, the $500+ million effort by Seattle Public Utilities and the King County Wastewater Treatment Division to prevent sewage from spilling into Puget Sound during heavy rains, will close the section of the Burke-Gilman Trail next to the Ballard Fred Meyer parking lot starting in early June.

The detour will send users across the closed NW 45th Street to a temporary trail on the north side of the street. The detour will be in place until August 2022.

SPU was responsible for a long closure and detour of the Burke-Gilman Trail in Fremont back in 2018, and the detour was largely very well done with full separation and gentle transitions the whole way. If this detour is as good as the Fremont one, it should be no trouble. The trickiest part will likely be the railroad track crossing at 11th Ave NW. Those tracks have long been a major hazard to people biking. Continue reading

Posted in news | Tagged , , , , | 6 Comments

The future 15th Ave NE bike lanes won’t actually reach Lake City Way, docs show

Map of the project area.

Images from the project fact sheet (PDF).

Designs for the 15th Ave NE paving project are compete, and they include bike lanes from (almost) Lake City Way to NE 55th Street, most of which are protected bike lanes.

There’s a lot to like about the project, which will add a lot of connectivity to the area. But the bike protection disappears in key places, undercutting much of the potential for the project.

First, the good stuff. Thanks to the NE 65th St bike lanes that opened in 2019, the new 15th Ave NE bike lanes will connect to the under-construction Roosevelt Station. Construction is scheduled to begin this summer and wrap up in fall 2021.

Lake City will also (almost) get a much better connection to the heart of the north Seattle bike network, Roosevelt High School, Ravenna Park and the U District.

For most of the distance, the bike lanes will be protected by either a paint-and-post buffer or a row of parked cars, as shown in the city’s diagram:

Diagram showing the street layout betwen Lake City Way and NE 62nd Street.However, this diagram and the city’s project map are misleading because the bike lane will not be protected for the entire distance. In fact, the bike lane will disappear entirely for the block and a half south of Lake City Way NE, the official design documents (PDF) show:

Design plan. Design plan. Continue reading

Posted in news | Tagged , | 4 Comments

Some more details on the MLK Way S bike lane options + How to choose between one-way and two-way bike lanes

I already wrote about the MLK Jr Way S bike lane concepts, but SDOT gave a few more details about the project during the May Bicycle Advisory Board meeting (PDF) that are worth sharing.

First, some background. SDOT is conducting some early planning for bike lanes on MLK between S Judkins St and Rainier Ave S, so essentially from Mount Baker Station to the I-90 Trail. The project team is going to develop the 30% design in the summer and fall, but the project isn’t scheduled for construction until 2023.

They presented three options, with option three being by far the most popular based on comments to my original story and SDOT’s presentation.

Maps and diagrams of each bike lane option.Not only is option three the “community preference to date,” according to SDOT’s presentation, but it is also the most affordable. As I wrote in my original story: Continue reading

Posted in news | Tagged , , , | 28 Comments

Cascade staffers are organizing bike deliveries for food banks + How you can help

Screenshot from the sign-up form.

Fill out the form to help out.

Cascade Bicycle Club staffers have been organizing to help make deliveries for the U District Food Bank, helping to distribute food to community members.

“There are individuals who are immunocompromised or just can’t get out to food bank,” said Cascade Volunteer Coordinator Maimoona Rahim. “We started a couple weeks ago with just staff and board members. The need for volunteers grew beyond what they could handle.”

So they are looking to expand the effort with more volunteer power and with more ideas of community needs they can help meet.

That’s where you come in. First, you can sign up to help using their online form. Some people have made deliveries with a large backpack, but a way to carry food on your bike (such as a set of panniers) makes it much easier. If you have a cargo bike, you may be able to help with larger family deliveries.

They are also looking for other community needs they can serve.

“If [readers] can think of an organization that can benefit from bike deliveries, we’d like to know,” said Rahim.

Posted in news | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Redmond is building a 520 Trail tunnel under NE 40th St, route detoured until 2021

Map of the construction area.Map of the detour.Redmond is constructing an underpass for the 520 Trail at NE 40th Street, so the trail route will be detoured through May 2021.

The closure started this week. Users are directed to side streets near the Microsoft and Nintendo campuses between NE 36th and 51st Streets. Most of the detour route has painted bike lanes.

The tunnel is also across the street from the site of the future Redmond Technology light rail station, so it will allow station users to bypass one crosswalk.

The tunnel will also feature a walls-and-ceiling art project with palm trees and a rainbow. So that’s pretty cool, though I’m sure it will still feel like a tunnel under a busy road next to a freeway. But still, it looks fun.

Art concept inside tunnel. Caption: The art will only be visible to those walkers and cyclists traveling through the tunnel. For a brief moment, those travelers will be artistically transported through a portal that momentarily transforms the green, wet reality of the Northwest into a chromatic spectrum of palm trees and rainbows.

Posted in news | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Bellevue has launched its own car-light ‘Healthy Streets’ program

Map of the Bellevue Healthy Streets.Seattle has been making headlines nationally for announcing that the city would make its Stay Healthy Streets program permanent, so you may have missed that Bellevue has started its own people-first street program it’s calling simply “Healthy Streets.”

The Eastside city rolled out two of these temporary projects last week in the Northeast/Crossroads/Lake Hills area. Hopefully this is just the start for Bellevue and other communities around the region, especially communities with streets that lack sidewalks and easy access to open space.

From the City of Bellevue: Continue reading

Posted in news | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Car driving is down 91% from pre-outbreak levels on the city’s new Stay Healthy Streets

Photo of a Stay Healthy Street. Sign text: Street open for people to walk, roll, bike, run and skate. Local Access and deliveries OK.It made national news last week when Seattle announced that the Stay Healthy Streets (“SHS”) program would be transitioning from an emergency program to a permanent program. For example, a CNN headline read: “Seattle to permanently close 20 miles of streets to traffic so residents can exercise and bike on them.”

And yes, the Stay Healthy Streets are great. But I think some people may be a bit confused about what “closed” actually means here. Local traffic is still allowed, including deliveries, service vehicles and people accessing homes. And, of course, they only work so long as people choose to follow the rules. There is no physical barrier preventing someone from driving through, though that may be something the city should consider for some locations if the voluntary method does not work.

But at least so far, the signs alone have been very successful. Traffic volumes are down 91% on the Central District SHS compared to 2017 levels after the neighborhood greenway was installed. That 91% decrease far outpaces the the 57% decrease in overall car traffic since the outbreak began, a sign that the signs are working.

Cars traveling along SHS decreased 91%.Graph title: cars turning onto SHS decreased 80% Continue reading

Posted in news | Tagged , , , , | 5 Comments

Smith resigns as Cascade/WA Bikes Executive Director

Photo of Smith with Cascade staff.

Smith (right), from his farewell letter.

Richard Smith has resigned after nearly three years as Executive Director of Cascade Bicycle Club and Washington Bikes.

The news comes as the sister organizations are operating with half their usual staff and cancelled nearly all their major events this year due to the outbreak.

Before Smith joined as ED in September 2017, the organizations went nine months without an ED, choosing instead to have top-level staff lead together. This time, Technology Manager Christopher Shainin will serve as Interim ED while the Board and leadership staff develop a new strategic plan and conduct a search for a new ED. That process is expected to take six to eight months.

Shainin is currently the Governance Chair of Inspire Washington and has a long history of holding non-profit leadership roles. He will lead the club through a very unusual period in their 50-year history. This will be the first year without the Seattle to Portland Classic since the initial 1979 event that launched Cascade Bicycle Club (though the second event was altered by the eruption of Mount St. Helens).

Below is Smith’s letter announcing his departure, effective last Friday: Continue reading

Posted in news | Tagged , , , | 5 Comments

Looking to buy a bike? Cascade created a map showing which shops are open and what precautions they are taking

It’s time to buy a bike. Especially with the news today that JUMP’s red bike share bikes are no longer online, owning a reliable bicycle has never been more useful or important in Seattle. With transit likely to be an unappealing option to many people for the duration of the outbreak and the cost of owning and operating a car so high (not to mention dangerous and environmentally destructive), biking is the most reliable, safe and affordable way to get around.

OK, so you’re convinced. Now what?

Seattle Bike Blog has largely avoided doing bike-buying guides because gear is not really our focus and there are just so many options and variables to consider. So instead, my advice is nearly always to check out your local bike shop first and see what they have and get advice from their staff. Buying from a local bike shop not only supports a business that you will rely on for maintenance down the road, but it also gives you access to their warranty. Yes, this costs more than buying direct online, but it is worth it.

Bike shops have been deemed essential businesses all along in Washington State, though they have taken steps to operate safely amid the outbreak. Some shops are asking customers to sign up for an appointment, and others have created online storefronts, for example. You should go to the shop’s website or call ahead before swinging by. You can find which shops are open near you and see what efforts the shops are taking during the outbreak using this map Cascade Bicycle Club put together:

One major change in the bike buying process is that a lot of shops are not offering test rides. Normally, I would always recommend taking a bike for a test ride before buying it, but these are not normal times. You may need to make the leap and buy a bike without riding it first. Just make sure you can return it if it really doesn’t work for you.

There are all kinds of bikes at all kinds of price points for all kinds of riding. This is great because it means people can find a bike that fits their needs perfectly, but it’s also pretty overwhelming for people new to biking. That’s why your local bike shop can be such a big help. They can cut through the overwhelming amount of information on the Internet for you.

Below are some general tips I give people to point them in the right direction when they ask for advice on buying a transportation bike. This means something reliable and utilitarian for getting around the city and getting things done. If you’re looking for a racing-style bike or a modern mountain bike, you’ll need to look elsewhere for advice. And remember that as with any set of tips, there are always exceptions to this advice: Continue reading

Posted in news | Tagged | 2 Comments

Seattle has no bike share now, Lime says it will relaunch bikes at some point

Screenshots of two maps with no bike icons on them.

Neither the Uber nor Lime apps show bikes available.

For the first time since July 2017, no bike share bikes are available in Seattle.

As a consequence of the major investment deal yesterday between Uber and Lime, JUMP and its red bikes now belong to Lime. Though users could unlock the bright red bikes using the Uber app yesterday, today they disappeared. The JUMP app has also been discontinued, and the bikes do not appear on Lime’s app.

So this is a rather depressing and sudden end to Seattle’s free-wheeling, wild and twisting adventure as a hub of private dockless bike share experimentation over the past three years. Companies have ballooned in size and folded. Others pivoted to scooters and left town. And all along, company leaders have played an aggressive growth and acquisition game that has seen them gain huge amounts of venture capital investment at times. But it seems that investor dreams of finding a bike share “unicorn” are long over. Lime, which had been valued around $2.4 billion in early 2019 is now reportedly valued around $500 million.

Lime already pulled its e-bikes from Seattle streets in December, and the company has been essentially shuttered worldwide during the COVID-19 outbreak. Jonathan Hopkins at Lime told the Seattle Times that the bikes would be removed temporarily, but would return at an unknown future date. But given the state of the company and its clear focus on scooters instead of bikes, it’s far from certain the bikes will return. Continue reading

Posted in news | Tagged , , | 14 Comments

Lime takes over JUMP as part of big Uber investment deal

Photo of a row of Lime and JUMP on the sidewalk of 2nd Ave Ext just north of Jackson Street.

Lime’s green bikes are gone, but now the company owns JUMP and its formerly-competing red bikes.

Seattle’s final operational bike share service just changed hands in yet another major shakeup in the private bike share saga.

Uber led a $170 million investment in a majorly devalued Lime, and Lime will take on Uber’s JUMP bike and scooter service as part of the deal. Though no valuation was made public, The Information reports that Lime’s value had dropped to $510 million, 79% lower than its valuation during its previous round of investments.

It’s not yet clear what this means for JUMP bike share service in Seattle, given that scooter-focused Lime pulled its own competing e-bikes from Seattle streets in December. Will Lime see this an opportunity to get back into bikes with better bikes? Lime’s e-bikes were often broken and had some dangerous battery fire problems. The company’s bike operations in Seattle never seemed to recover from a summer 2019 warehouse fire caused by an exploding battery.

Or will Lime kill JUMP and continue focusing on scooters? If they do, that could essentially be the end of fully private bike share. Lyft owns Motivate, the operator of major systems like Biketown in Portland, Citibike in New York and Divvy in Chicago. But though Lyft has long been in the permitting process for launching in Seattle, they have not done so.

For now, JUMP bikes can still be unlocked using the Uber app, though Lime announced on Twitter that users will soon be able to unlock JUMP bikes through the Lime app: Continue reading

Posted in news | Tagged , , | 5 Comments

King County will reopen trails Friday

King County Parks will reopen regional trails and many parks tomorrow (Friday), the department’s first significant openings since closing all parks in late March.

The county’s network of regional trails had been closed to recreation, though essential workers and people making essential trips were allowed to use them for transportation. Now they will reopen for recreation use, though users must follow social distancing protocols and be sure to avoid crowding. Restrooms will remain closed.

The news follows Washington State’s decision to reopen many parks, trails and other public lands to daytime recreation.

Seattle never closed its trail network, instead making an effort to create more open space for walking and biking in neighborhoods through its Stay Healthy Streets program. It has been a bit confusing to have city trails open and county trails closed since many users are not aware which agency maintains which trails. Hopefully the outbreak numbers don’t surge again and prompt more park and trail closures.

Here are King County Parks’ tips for using parks and trails safely: Continue reading

Posted in news | Tagged , | 5 Comments

City develops emergency plan in case the West Seattle Bridge falls

Map showing the bridge fall zone.

From SDOT.

The city of course hopes it never comes to this, but they are planning for a worst case scenario in which the bridge becomes so unstable it could collapse.

After studying the extensive cracking on the West Seattle High Bridge that prompted its emergency closure in late March, SDOT has installed monitoring devices to alert them of further movement. And they are preparing a plan to evacuate nearby areas and close the lower swing bridge that is now a lifeline for the neighborhood, providing a walking, biking, transit, freight and emergency vehicle connection.

“[T]here are currently no indications that we will need to put our emergency response plan into action,” SDOT wrote in a blog post describing the new plan. The plan includes three potential responses based on possible emergency circumstances:

  • Immediate evacuation to be used if the daily in-person inspections indicates enough of a change to warrant the immediate evacuation of a small number of properties (details shared below), though we could have hours or days before actual bridge failure.
  • One to five days notice to be used if the new remote monitoring instrumentation, which will be fully functioning in mid May, indicates enough of a change to warrant execution of evacuation plans within one to five days. If failure is anticipated, but not immediate, SFD and SPD will clearly communicate, via direct site visits and other platforms, when evacuation must occur.
  • Controlled demolition to be used if the change in the condition of the high bridge indicates the need for execution of an evacuation plan followed by a controlled demolition.

Here’s what the emergency road closures would look like:

Map of road closures.Let’s hope it doesn’t come to this. But the fact that SDOT has even created this plan gives you an idea of how bad the damage is.

If you want to make sure you are alerted if the plan goes into effect, sign up for AlertSeattle text messages. You should also make sure Wireless Emergency Alerts (the service that sends Amber Alerts) are enabled on your phone.

Posted in news | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Crowdsourced map highlights 130 miles of potential Stay Healthy Streets

Map showing crowdsourced streets for Seattle Stay Healhty Streets.

Green = Stay Healthy Street. Blue = Convert parking lane to walk/bike path. Purple = Convert travel lane to walk/bike path. View interactive map from Seattle Neighborhood Greenways.

Seattle Neighborhood Greenways has been collecting people’s ideas for street improvements the city could make to help more people get outside and get around safely during the outbreak. They received 250 ideas, which they condensed into a map of 130 miles of car-light Stay Healthy Streets and temporary on-street walk/bike paths designed to relieve crowded sidewalks that are not wide enough for people to maintain six feet of separation as public health guidelines require.

“Narrow sidewalks (97% of Seattle’s sidewalks are too narrow for people to safely pass each other), missing sidewalks (the case for about ¼ of the city), and crowding at local parks and trails have made it difficult for local residents to enjoy fresh air and recreation at a safe social distance,” SNG wrote in a press release announcing the map.

The map is filled with good ideas. The biggest missing piece I see is Sodo, where there is huge potential in connecting Georgetown to downtown, helping many people avoid driving on streets that are now far busier due to the emergency West Seattle Bridge closure. Though perhaps this is more of a West Seattle Bridge-related project and less of an outbreak-related project. But no matter the reason, it would help people get around safely and affordably during these difficult times.

“Transportation comes in second only to housing for major household expenses in Seattle,” said SNG’s Clara Cantor in the press release. “And now, especially, with finances tight for folks, walking and biking are the most affordable means for getting to work for many of our city’s essential workers. We’ve got to make sure people can get where they need to go safely.”

And creating Stay Healthy Streets has proven to be effective, affordable and low-maintenance, important during a time when city resources are stretched thin.

“The expense is low—one driver in a city truck, distributing a traffic cone and two street signs to each intersection—and the payoff is so high,” said SNG Director Gordon Padelford in the press release. “We’re receiving loads of stories and photos of how people are making use of, and enjoying, the extra space for outdoor recreating. Right now, only a handful of neighborhoods are benefiting from the Stay Healthy Streets program. We really want to see this expanded to reach the whole city.”

Seattle Bike Blog spoke with Cantor and Padelford about open streets during the outbreak  recently, so be sure to check out that video. Continue reading

Posted in news | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

Some trails, closed amid statewide parks shutdown, will reopen for day use Tuesday

Washington State is preparing to ease a few restrictions for the first time since the outbreak began, and reopening day use of many parks and trails are at the top of the list. Starting tomorrow (Tuesday), major statewide trails like the Palouse to Cascades Trail (AKA the Iron Horse Trail AKA John Wayne Pioneer Trail) will open during the daytime, though some trailheads (including the popular Cedar Falls Trailhead near Rattlesnake Lake) remain closed.

Recreational lands managed by the Department of Natural Resources will also reopen for day use Tuesday. You can find updated information on what’s open and closed via the state’s COVID-19 response website.

Washington's four-phase plan for reopening. PDF version linked in caption.

From Governor Jay Inslee’s Office (PDF).

Camping remains prohibited during Phase 1 of Governor Jay Inslee’s four-phase plan to relax restrictions, though it is listed as part of Phase 2. Many major trailheads and popular parks will also remain closed, as will many restrooms.

Of course, people need to keep following social distancing and hygiene practices to prevent the outbreak numbers from surging again, setting us all back and delaying progress. The selfish whiny babies gathering together to protest the state’s restrictions by … purposefully spreading the virus? … may very well send us all backwards in our reopening process if those gatherings create a surge in the number of cases.

If you do go out and use parks and trails, you have to maintain social distancing practices, of course. That means being prepared to let your plans fall apart if you get somewhere and it is too crowded. In general, it is still probably best to stay near your home, perhaps by utilizing one of the city’s Stay Healthy Streets.

King County Parks remain closed, including county-operated trails (though essential workers and people making essential trips can still use them for transportation). However, King County Parks does note on its website that they are “working through a phased-in reopening scenario for its parks, trails and other facilities, likely starting with natural lands and regional trails.” So stay tuned.

Biking Bis has a good post about which trails are reopening and some distancing best practices from the Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust, so definitely check that out for more info.

Posted in news | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Episode 1 of Ask Seattle Bike Blog: Bus driver in West Seattle needs a bike route to the Sodo bus yard, so here’s my process for finding a new route

For the inaugural episode of Ask Seattle Bike Blog, I respond to a bus driver who lives in West Seattle and wants to know a good bike route to the bus yard in Sodo.

I thought this would be a good opportunity to walk through my basic process for planning a bike route if I am not familiar with the area. So even if you aren’t trying to bike this exact route, hopefully the process I follow is useful.

What’s your process for finding a bike route to an unfamiliar place? How do you pronounce “Brougham?” Let us know in the comments below.

If you have a bike-related question, send it our way using this submission form.

Posted in news | Tagged , , | 5 Comments

SDOT opens 11 more miles of Stay Healthy Streets, Parks cancels May 10 Bicycle Sunday

There’s good news and bad news for people looking to get outside on some car-free (or car-light) streets in the next week. SDOT has announced 11 more miles of Stay Healthy Streets, bringing the citywide total to 20 miles of 24/7 people-focused streets. But Seattle Parks has cancelled the first Bicycle Sunday of the year originally scheduled for May 10, setting back hopes that the city would expand the walking and biking space on popular Lake Washington Boulevard.

The newest Stay Healthy Streets are in Aurora/Licton Springs, Lake City, Delridge/Highland Park and Ballard. Lake City’s route is scheduled to go into effect today, but the others won’t happen until early next week.

The Central District route will also get another extension, connecting E Columbia St to the Safeway on Madison via 22nd Ave.

Map of the CD route.The Delridge/Highland Park route is probably the most interesting route because it comes when the West Seattle Bridge is closed, rerouting neighborhood traffic. The Stay Healthy Street route follows the Delridge neighborhood greenway (yes, that’s the one with the staircase in the middle), but it also includes a connection to Highland Park Playfield via SW Trenton St. Hopefully the Stay Healthy Streets effort will reduce cut-through traffic on these routes, a problem that will likely only get worse in this area as people try to find new driving routes to the 1st Ave S and South Park Bridges.

Delridge map.Ballard map.  Lake City map. Aurora Licton Springs map.First Bicycle Sunday cancelled

Unfortunately, Seattle Parks has cancelled the first Bicycle Sunday of the year, scheduled for May 10. For a half century, the Parks Department has been closing a section of Lake Washington Blvd. to cars on various Sundays in the summer. Now that we have this vital need for more walking and biking space so people can get outside while staying socially distant, we have argued that Parks should revamp its storied Bicycle Sunday event to meet this challenge. Of course much of the programming that is usually part of Bicycle Sunday won’t be possible, but the skinny paths along the lake are not wide enough. An open street would give people the room they need.

Ultimately, though, Lake Washington Blvd. needs a 24/7 solution. So maybe Bicycle Sunday just isn’t the right program. SDOT could partner with Parks to make it a Stay Healthy Street. Or, as Seattle Neighborhood Greenways Director Gordon Padelford suggested in a recent interview, they could cone off half the street, making it one-way for cars while opening the other half to people walking and biking. We could call it Bicycle SunEveryday…

Posted in news | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Learn how a bike works with Bike Works’ virtual lessons

Bike Works’ Columbia City shop may be operating in a limited fashion (and offering great deals to essential workers), but its usual education programs are shuttered along with so many other parts of society.

But nothing can stop Bike Works from spreading bike-fixing knowledge. And this could be a great time to demystify your bike by teaching yourself how to do basic maintenance on your own. And the Bike Works Virtual Community Resources page could be a great place to start.

If you’re starting at the very beginning, Ricky Rodriguez, Senior Program Coordinator at Bike Works (and maker of Toast Tea Threads wool cycling hats), has a great flat fixing video. He can also teach you how to sew a face mask. Ricky is great.

If you don’t have a flat to fix right now, you can give yourself one using a thumb tack so you can practice. It’s one of those skills that stops being scary or intimidating once you’ve done it once or twice. And since a flat is by far the most common bike maintenance issue, knowing how to fix a flat can feel empowering. It also saves you money.

Bike Works has also posted some handy tools for learning the parts of a bike, which you can use to better search for answers to whatever problem you are troubleshooting. There are so many resources online if you just know the correct words to search.

This is also a great time to learn how to teach bike repair skills to others, including kids. And that’s where Bike Works’ virtual resources really shine. The organization has posted their incredible 254-page Frameworks document (PDF), a huge collection of bike lessons developed for their youth programs. Essentially every part of a bicycle is covered, and lessons on each part include ideas for activities.

Basically, you can use Bike Works’ guide to turn your kid’s bike into a classroom. That’s pretty cool.

Posted in news | Tagged | Leave a comment

Cascade Bicycle Club cancels nearly all major events for 2020, including STP

Photo looking over a large crowd of people on bikes in a parking lot.

STP 2014.

Cascade Bicycle Club has made the difficult but clearly correct decision to cancel its 2020 major events, including their iconic Seattle to Portland Classic. The decision sets up a massive test for the large bicycle events and advocacy organization, which funds most of its work through event sponsorships and registration fees.

Some events are still planned, though often in a different form than usual. Bike Everywhere Day, which was moved from May to June 19, is still on, though it will clearly look different than in years past when it had a focus on commuting to work. The Bike Everywhere Breakfast is also still on for June 3, though it is now online (so you have to cook your own breakfast). They are also still hoping to host the WA Bike, Walk, Roll  Summit September in Spokane, though details are very much subject to change.

As we reported a month ago, Cascade furloughed half its staff in anticipation of major cancellations. But they were still holding out hope that the situation would change by summer and they might be able to host at least some of their events. However, the interventions we would have needed for that to happen, like massive amounts of testing and contact tracing nationwide, have not come to fruition. As it comes time for signing contracts and placing deposits, tough decision time is here for nearly all our major summer events.

We reported last week that the Fremont Solstice Parade (and its iconic painted bike ride) have been cancelled. Expect the wave of summer event cancellation notices to keep coming.

People who have already registered for Cascade events must request a refund by May 15. After that, your registration will be considered a donation, according to Cascade’s refund FAQ. UPDATE: Cascade is not offering full refunds to all rides. STP, RSVP and Flying Wheels registrants can only get 50% back. The organization says people agreed to this arrangement:

“Every person paying for registration agreed to both the waiver seen here (read item 11-Force Majeure) and our refund policy here.  While we are not obligated to return any of the funds received, we have done the best we can to pay the expenses incurred up to this point and return everything else to you.”

Cascade is a large organization with a lot of staff, a large office and a big budget, especially compared to other bike advocacy organizations. It’s likely difficult for them to hibernate to get through this. Meanwhile, they are working on how to reshape their advocacy for these times.

So many other businesses and organizations are in a similar or worse situation. How our city, county, state and nation act (or fail to act) to support orgs like Cascade will determine so much about what our post-outbreak reality looks like. Are we really going to let our cultural institutions collapse?

More details from Cascade: Continue reading

Posted in news | Tagged , | 7 Comments