Portland’s Affordable Bike Neighborhoods

Where can Portland cyclists with an average income still afford to live?

via WillametteWeek


Portland has long been thought of as a cycling mecca for one big reason: Affordable homes were close enough to work to commute by bike. Housing prices rose by another 6.6 percent last year, and a February project by Governing magazine found the city is gentrifying faster than anywhere else in the nation. Does the promise of an affordable, bikeable Portland still hold up?Consider that the median income for a family in Portland is around $50,000, which financial advisers will tell you means they should not spend more than $315,000 on a house. Also consider that the national average commuting time is 25 minutes each way.

So can you find an affordable house in a place that’s about a one-hour round-trip commute to downtown Portland by bike? It’s increasingly difficult.

We used a city-provided map of every Portland neighborhood and contacted D. Patrick Lewis of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate for a list of the median prices of homes sold in each neighborhood. Then we used Google Maps’ cycling directions to determine how far each neighborhood was from downtown—specifically Big Pink—in miles and minutes of cycling. (Traffic and the specific location within a neighborhood can cause these times to vary considerably, but this is our best try.)

What we found won’t surprise most Portland house-hunters: It’s no longer cheap to live close to downtown, even in long-shunned North Portland. Here’s what else we found.

After you remove outliers such as Chinatown and Goose Hollow—if you can actually find a livable, single-family house there for under $300,000, we would be happy to buy it from you—the best bet for bikers is probably Foster-Powell. There, houses are selling for about $262,000, and the round-trip commute is 66 minutes. And the neighborhood looks to get even better with an upcoming “road diet” plan for Southeast Foster Road. Starting next year, the city will spend $5.5 million to build bike lanes and remove two of the busy thoroughfare’s five car lanes.

Two other mid-Southeast neighborhoods are close behind: Woodstock and South Tabor. However, South Tabor is the better value for bikers as living there shaves 12 minutes and nearly three miles from your daily commute. It has a better bike score to match: 84 compared to Woodstock’s 77.

Creston-Kenilworth—roughly the area south of Powell Boulevard between 28th and 50th avenues—also stood out. Homes there are selling for a median price of $330,000, and the cycling commute is 50 minutes.

North Portland, long known as cheap and close to downtown, isn’t so much like that anymore. Vernon boasts housing prices of $370,000. Neighbors in Piedmont, Overlook and Humboldt come in at $50,000 less—putting them on the bubble of affordability, while being only a few minutes closer to downtown than far-cheaper Southeast neighborhoods.

Your best bet for a true bargain? Brentwood-Darlington is an outside contender, with home prices sitting at around $213,000. Right now, it’s 81 minutes to downtown along the Springwater Corridor, but the new Orange MAX Line could be a game-changer if you don’t feel like making a long ride.

Or you can just wait—and pray—for the Portland housing bubble to pop.

Click here for a searchable chart of Portland neighborhoods!

Innovative Loopwheel has integrated suspension for a smoother ride

Disclaimer: I own a Dahon and found it because of that

via Treehugger


© Loopwheels

Bike riders will know that riding on bumpy roads with potholes or going up a curb will cause some discomfort — ditto for wheelchair owners and folding bike afficionados. But that may change with Loopwheels, an innovative, shock-absorbing wheel that has a looping suspension springs integrated within the wheel itself. The result: a smoother ride with less vibration, with less road noise. Check out the video:

© Loopwheels
© Loopwheels
© Loopwheels

Loopwheels also use a proprietary construction material to increase durability and reliability. Working with a local bow-makers, British designer and inventor Sam Pearce went through 70 versions before finally getting it just right. According to the website:

Loopwheel springs are made from a carbon composite material, carefully developed and tested to give optimum compression and lateral stability as well as strength and durability. Specially-designed connectors attach the springs to the hub and rim. There are three springs in each wheel, which work together as a self-correcting system. The spring configuration allows for the torque to be transferred smoothly between the hub and the rim.

© Loopwheels
© Loopwheels

Loopwheels look sleek and modern too, and were recently shortlisted for this year’s Design of the Year award from the London Design Museum. Pearce explains how he got the idea for Loopwheels:

In 2007 my idea of a wheel with tangential suspension was born when I was sitting at Eindhoven airport waiting for a flight. I saw a mother pushing her child in a buggy. The front wheels hit a slight kerb and the child jolted forward because of the impact. I asked myself why a wheel couldn’t have suspension inside it, so it would soften an impact from any direction. I sketched the idea in my notebook, got on my flight, and didn’t think much more about it for a couple of years.

© Loopwheels

But the idea kept resurfacing, and Pearce eventually developed it into the Loopwheel. Pearce has dubbed this new way of approaching the wheel "tangential suspension," and currently, the company makes a small, 20-inch version that is perfect for folding bikes. However, they just recently succeeded in gaining Kickstarter crowdfunding for wheels that will be made for wheelchairs, and according to Wired, the company intends to make Loopwheels for mountain bikes next. Pricing for a three-speed Loopwheel starts at USD $462, and the Loopwheels folding bike at $1,493. For more information, check out Loopwheels.

Is a Cargo Bike In My Future

I was reading the following article earlier today and wondered if just like families I might find a cargo bike in my future.  Head over to read the article on the NYTimes, see some of it below.

Dave Hoverman and his wife, Abby Smith, in Berkeley, Calif., with their cargo bike, which can hold all four children.CreditJason Henry for The New York Times

When Dave Hoverman, 38, a business strategy consultant in Berkeley, Calif., goes to Costco on the weekends, he ditches his Audi Q7 and instead loads his four children into a Cetma cargo bike with a trailer hitched to the rear.

“We do all sorts of errands on the bike,” Mr. Hoverman said. “We try not to get in the car all weekend.”

Mr. Hoverman is among a growing contingent of eco-minded and health-conscious urban parents who are leaving their car keys at home and relying on high-capacity cargo bikes for family transportation.

Cargo bikes initially catered to the “hard-core D.I.Y. crowd — people who wanted to carry around really large objects like surfboards or big speakers or kayaks,” said Evan Lovett-Harris, the marketing director for Xtracycle, a company in Oakland, Calif., that introduced its first family-oriented cargo model, the EdgeRunner, in 2012. Cargo bikes, he said, now account for the largest proportion of the company’s sales.

“When we first started selling these bikes 15 years ago, we were the total freako weirdos,” said Ross Evans, the company’s founder. “Back then, a basket on your handlebars was considered fringe.”

These days, cargo bikes are no longer a novelty: They are cropping up not just in the expected West Coast enclaves like Seattle, Portland and the Bay Area, but in cities like New Haven, Tucson and Dallas. “It used to be that if I saw somebody in Boston on a cargo bike, I probably knew them and probably helped them buy their bicycle,” said Nathan Vierling-Claassen, who has ridden a cargo bike since 2008. “Now that’s no longer the case.”

Cargo bikes are also popular in Washington. Jon Renaut, 37, a software engineer at the Department of Homeland Security, said that he is one of more than a dozen parents at his children’s elementary school who commute to school and work by cargo bike. “There have been only two days this whole school year — when it was really, really snowy out — that we left the bike at home,” Mr. Renaut said. What helps keep his 4- and 6-year-old daughters warm, he said, is to have them face backward while riding.

The popularity of cargo bikes has given rise to more variety. Cargo bikes come in two main types: longtails, which look like a regular bike with a large rack extended over the rear wheel, and the Dutch-style bakfiets, which has a cargo box mounted in front of the handlebars. While longtails are considerably cheaper (a Yuba Mundo starts at $1,300), bakfiets (which start at about $3,000) can generally hold more.

“The thing I love about cargo bikes these days is that there is such an amazing selection,” said Shane MacRhodes, 43, who manages a school transportation program in Eugene, Ore. “People are finding bikes that really fit their lifestyle. Some people like the sturdiness of a Yuba Mundo, and some people like the sporty zippy ones. It’s almost like the S.U.V. versus the sports wagon.”

Bike Shelter in Oregon State Parks

by OSPF on April 15, 2015

Bike Shelter Build Day - Setting the FrameworkFollowing a successful 2014 pilot project to construct new bike shelters for cyclists in state park campgrounds and day-use areas, the Oregon State Parks Foundation is currently working with state park managers, local companies and community volunteers to expand the state park bike shelter network and help build Oregon’s reputation as a premier cycling destination.

Last fall the Foundation, in partnership with Wilsonville high-tech company TE Connectivity, constructed two bike shelters in the hiker/biker camping area at Champoeg State Heritage Area, one of 31 designated hiker/biker camping areas in Oregon state park campgrounds. Through a generous grant from the TE Connectivity Foundation and the tremendous efforts of 35 motivated volunteers who participated in TE Connectivity’s Employee Work Day, we were able to complete two bike shelters — one designed to host a family or small camping group and a second to serve as a gathering place for cyclists seeking cover from rain and wind. These rustic shelters are already popular and frequently used by park visitors, and new amenities including bike racks, secure storage lockers and solar-powered USB ports are planned once the weather improves and camping season is in full swing.Bike Shelter Build Day - Completed Shelter

The Foundation now has an agreement with the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department to move beyond our prototype project at Champoeg to build bike shelters at other state parks across Oregon. Our initial program emphasis will be on the Oregon Coast, in the Columbia River Gorge, and along the TransAmerica Bike Trail through Central Oregon. The Foundation continues to meet with state park managers in these areas, and we’re hard at work planning projects at Ainsworth and Viento State Parks. In conjunction with the upcoming 100th anniversary of the Historic Columbia River Highway, these new bike shelters will welcome modern adventurists who pedal this scenic corridor under their own power.

Recreational cycling is a key factor in Oregon’s growing tourism industry, and creating a statewide network of covered bike facilities in Oregon State Parks will help take bicycle tourism to the next level. The Oregon State Parks Foundation is currently seeking volunteers and corporate partners to help us enrich the state park experience by expanding bicycle recreation opportunities for day-use and long-distance touring cyclists. If your community group would like to volunteer to help construct bike shelters, or if you know of a local business or corporation that would be willing to provide funding for materials, please contact the Foundation’s executive director, John Hoffnagle, at 503-802-5750.

More than 35 employees from TE Connectivity joined the Oregon State Parks Foundation to help construct new bike shelters for park visitors at Champoeg State Heritage Area.

More than 35 employees from TE Connectivity joined the Oregon State Parks Foundation and OPRD staff to help construct new bike shelters for park visitors at Champoeg State Heritage Area.