Dinner and Bikes Tour brings Portland advocates toTucson

Two Tucson cyclists listen to Elly Blue talk about bikenomics Thursday night.

More than 100 people showed up to sample tasty vegan food, listen to a presentation about bike economics and watch some bikey videos.

Portland bicycle advocates, Elly Blue and Joe Biel, teamed up with vegan chef Joshua Ploeg for an evening of food and bikes.

Blue talked about bikenomics, which she has been writing about for Grist.org. Biel showed several of his short videos about bicycling. Ploeg cooked tasty vegan dishes, although they didn’t survive the hundreds of people who showed up.

Blue said it was one of the biggest turnouts they have had on their tour, which has taken them through many of the western states.

Check out the photos from the event:

 

12 comments
Frank Tellez
Frank Tellez

How do I get over the Aviation Bikeway to continue going west? Also, I peed in the underpass the other day. :D Thought I'd share. The rise in graffiti is due to the popularity of the Banksky movie Exit Through the Gift Shop.

zz
zz

To dream the impossible dream To ride where the brave dare not go To try when your legs are too wearyTo reach the unreachable street This is my questTo follow that route No matter how hopelessNo matter how far To reach the unreachable street.

zz
zz

Tucson was number one in all things cycling a few years ago and has since gone to a ranking of eleven, I believe. Mostly due to the rapid ascention of other cities maybe willing to direct more money toward that end and not because Tucson slacked off of its bicycle desires. Maybe our rate of progression more accurately reflects the reality of how these things should go. The thing that seems to have been created from this turn of events, and I hope not to the detriment of riders, is a competition among cities on their race to platinum. I should go to Portland and see. Maybe returning here would seem like cycling in-the-middle-of-nowhere-Texas style. I do know we have some features that Portland lacks. It doesn't make us better or reduce the relevance of Portland - we are different  places. I think serving our riders as they come on is the important thing rather than hurrying to check off all the boxes on an application for a platinum rating. I say, concentrate on the ride to platinum. Enjoy that part of it. We were making it better before there was a platinum.

zz
zz

I was expecting a little more of an exchange of insight and ideas from a non-government representative of the Portland bike community. Or maybe a run down on how Portland does/did it as far as bike numbers and facilities....you know, the rider's view. I think most folks that attended were already aware of bike economics from the fine job this blog does and from provided links. So, Portland had $95,000 to spend on some bike rides. Would we have spent that much on Cyclovia even if we had it? And is money the only real difference that counts between the two cities? Anyway, I don't know how much background research Elly Blue does on the places in her tour, but she wasn't in PoDunkville here as far as cycling goes and discussion on a higher level might have been in order. Some of the videos were good in providing a hint of how things were, but at the very end of the showings there was a question asked - that's how the evening should have started.

Martha Retallick
Martha Retallick

For some backgrounder on how Portland got to where it is today, I recommend a reading of Mia Birk's book, Joyride. It's in the library.

3wheeler
3wheeler

Martha, at your suggestion, I read it.  There's some interesting stuff in it.  I honestly don't know how any of it applies here tho.  We seem to do a lot of what they did up there but the results aren't the same.  What is your  impression?

Red Star
Red Star

 Once they are done dining and before they move on to the  next candidate, perhaps these hungry people will enjoy the graffiti, the litter, the vandalism,  and the general City of Tucson and TPD indifference to Aviation Bikeway...a segment of TPCBAC/Huckleberry loop, supposedly...

Kylie Walzak
Kylie Walzak

I'm not sure how often Red Star uses the Aviation Bikeway, but I've been on it everyday for the last week and MAN! Let me tell you how great it looks!! Trash has been picked up in bags, and from what I can tell, graffitti is being painted over... It looks great! Everyone should be so lucky to commute to and from work, car-free on the Aviation Bikeway!

Red Star
Red Star

Glad to hear it, Kylie Walzak! Perhaps some measured rabble rousing got the city's attention.The trick, of course, will be to keep the bikeway consistently good...

straw
straw

There is a dowtown graffiti program that's just getting started.  It includes West University, Iron Horse, El Presidio and Pie Allen.  It's a zero tolerance get it down in 24 hrs or less program.  TPD and the Downtown Tucson Partnership are working together with these neighborhoods and the abatement contractor to try and make tagging unsatisfying.  The  goal of a tag is recognition and if it's down immediately   there is no recognition.  Iron Horse includes the snake bridge.  The hope being that if this program successful it can be implemented on a city wide basis.  The one catch is that this approach requires the active participation of residents.  Timely and accurate reporting along with neighbors being willing to help remove tags in their area being key components to the approach.  The Aviation Bikeway is horrible.  It's a glass littered graffiti covered mess.   If the bicycling community is concerned about this then we need to get involved in a solution.  The expectation that government can be successful in dealing with problems like this without active citizen participation is unrealistic. As you've noticed graffiti in the downtown area is up by a lot, 900%. One last tagging tidbit.  The tagger demographic used to be 16-24 now it's 24 to 40.  Not that there aren't younger taggers, there are but what seems to be happening is people aren't quitting the activity when they become adults.   

Red Star
Red Star

Red Star isn't worried about the county. The concern is whether City of Tucson can even afford to maintain the well-meaning bike infrastructure it has constructed. Aviation Bikeway (part of the Huckleberry urban loop) being a case in point. If there ever is an urban loop in the Old Pueblo, what kind of a loop is it really if people are afraid to use it? All of it, no exceptions?

Martha Retallick
Martha Retallick

Good point, Red Star. Every Monday, I get an up-close look at what you're referring to. That's because I do the Meet Me at Maynards walk around Downtown. Hate to say it, but the Snake Bridge and the Aviation Underpass areas are turning into litter-filled, graffiti-infested eyesores. Needless to say, this puts a damper the collective morale of the more than 500 people who do Meet Me at Maynards every week. It also doesn't provide a very good impression of our city's Downtown.