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Commuting Bicycle commuting is easier than you think, before you know it, you'll be hooked. Learn the tips, hints, equipment, safety requirements for safely riding your bike to work.

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Old 03-07-07, 02:22 AM   #1
donnamb 
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Nice story about high school commuters

I realize now that I've passed them a couple of times on my way to the dentist. They always wave to the rest of us riding to our various destinations.

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Cleveland students get pumped on way to school
Ride - A daily cycling caravan cuts fossil fuel use and amps up the fun
Monday, March 05, 2007
NOELLE CROMBIE
The Oregonian
If your morning drive winds through the Mount Tabor and Clinton neighborhoods of Southeast Portland, chances are you've seen Keegan Heron and his buddies on their bikes.

They're hard to miss.

Most mornings, a dozen or so Cleveland High School students strap on helmets, hop on bikes and gather on Southeast 54th Avenue where they begin their 10-minute ride to school.

Often, by the time they reach the school on Southeast 26th Avenue, their cycling caravan has picked up a half-dozen more students -- so many, the school administration recently added more bike racks.

Biking to school isn't new, of course. What sets the Cleveland caravan members apart is their motivation. By biking, they say, they're doing their part to protect the planet and cut down on the use of fossil fuels. The students also stand out for their success. They have an informal arrangement -- no one makes wake-up calls or does a head count before they take off -- but this hardy group manages to meet about the same time every day.

The cycling group is Heron's brainchild. A Cleveland junior, he got hooked on riding to school as a sixth-grader at Sunnyside Environmental School, where most of the teachers and about a quarter of the students ride their bikes to school. The school hosted a bike-to-school week and Heron got hooked.

"I've been biking, literally, every single day since," he said.

When he got to Cleveland, Heron asked a couple of students to ride with him. Last spring, he talked to more teens. His pitch: It's just as quick to ride as drive -- an important selling point since he knew no high school student would want to wake up any earlier just to bike to class.

At first, some worried about biking because they hadn't ridden in a long time. So Heron told them to start out by joining the group once a week.

Heron's message went over well at Cleveland. Word spread. Soon, eight and sometimes more students were showing up on their bikes every morning in front of Lee Rosch's centrally located house on Southeast 54th Avenue.

Girls and boys make the ride. Some are athletes, some aren't. Mostly, they're just a group of friends who've grown up in the same Southeast Portland neighborhood.

Making their way along Southeast Lincoln Street, past Division and over to Clinton, the group sets a leisurely pace. Riding with their hands in their pockets, they fill out an entire lane, prompting a car or two to maneuver around them.

Rosch, whose parents also commute on bikes, said the sheer number of cyclists in the group offers some protection.

"It's safer when cars see a whole clump of bikes," said Rosch, acknowledging that the group should probably ride single file. "They'll pay more attention than if it's just one or two bikes."

But riding single file might make it harder for the students to talk on the 21/2-mile ride. After all, it's as much about hanging out with friends, Heron and Rosch said, as it is about getting to school on time every morning.

"Our culture is all about getting from one destination to the other," said Heron, whose parents also bike or bus to work. "We have stopped enjoying the journey. Biking slows us down a bit."
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Old 03-07-07, 02:38 AM   #2
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"Our culture is all about getting from one destination to the other," said Heron, whose parents also bike or bus to work. "We have stopped enjoying the journey. Biking slows us down a bit."
What a fantastic story! Sounds like Keegan Heron has his head on straight. Hope the drivers of the "car or two" maneuvering around them see it the same way.
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Old 03-07-07, 03:30 AM   #3
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This is a great story, thanks for posting it Donna..... it gives me hope for the future.
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Old 03-07-07, 07:18 AM   #4
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Fantastic story! Thanks for posting it!
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Old 03-07-07, 07:30 AM   #5
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Yes, a great story. <- that's root beer.
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Old 03-07-07, 08:03 AM   #6
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A glimmer of hope for the future...
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Old 03-07-07, 09:20 AM   #7
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Good story.

Here in Calgary, the public and catholic school board just announced that due to the shortage of drivers, parents are to expect buses to be as much as 90 minutes late, if they come at all.
Riding a bike has not been mentioned as a possible contingency plan.

The part about the kids riding with their hands in their pockets makes me nervous.
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Old 03-07-07, 09:43 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Wulfheir
Good story.

Here in Calgary, the public and catholic school board just announced that due to the shortage of drivers, parents are to expect buses to be as much as 90 minutes late, if they come at all.
Riding a bike has not been mentioned as a possible contingency plan.

The part about the kids riding with their hands in their pockets makes me nervous.
Why? I can ride no hands for miles on a smooth road. I don't necessarily condone it...but given the way some car drivers drive...

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Old 03-07-07, 10:10 AM   #9
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Great story. Thanks for posting.
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Old 03-07-07, 10:31 AM   #10
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Great story. I have 2 daughters who I'm teaching how to ride bikes now too. I hope they will do the same thing when they go middle/high school.
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Old 03-07-07, 10:46 AM   #11
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Them's my buds. I comute with them sometimes, but (shh, don't tell) it's a little scary when the crowd gets ovely large

Seriously though, a great group of kids. Personally I prefer the evening commute after track or cross country practice when it's only four of us. I don't know if you've ever tried riding on urban streets with 10+ people...

Really, the main reason I'm not in that picture is because I enjoy leaving the house at the last possible moment and they leave just a little too early for my tatse
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Old 03-07-07, 11:36 AM   #12
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Personally I prefer the evening commute after track or cross country practice when it's only four of us. I don't know if you've ever tried riding on urban streets with 10+ people...
You mean, like this?
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Old 03-07-07, 12:35 PM   #13
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You mean, like this?
That is an awesome video and an awesome story. I can only hope I can instill that kind of rational thought into my own children (meaning the story not the video )
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Old 03-07-07, 01:29 PM   #14
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You mean racing around in the slush covered mean streets of NYC on brakeless fixies isn't rational? But it's so much fun!
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Old 03-07-07, 04:21 PM   #15
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You mean racing around in the slush covered mean streets of NYC on brakeless fixies isn't rational? But it's so much fun!
Friggin' hipster kids!
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Old 03-08-07, 08:26 AM   #16
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This is a great story, thanks for posting it Donna..... it gives me hope for the future.
ditto! Thanks
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Old 03-08-07, 11:58 AM   #17
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A glimmer of hope for the future...
Well, it is Portland after all, and as they said, their parents don't drive either.

It's still a good thing, but would seem more symbolic in a "normal" town.
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Old 03-08-07, 09:19 PM   #18
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Actually, I don't see all that many kids between about 14 and 19 on bikes - even here in Portland. Car fever is epidemic at that age. I hope this catches on at more than one high school here. We need to have the whole lifespan represented in the bike community for it to be a true community.
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Old 03-08-07, 10:48 PM   #19
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that story gives me hope for the future
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Old 03-08-07, 11:26 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by JeffS
Well, it is Portland after all, and as they said, their parents don't drive either.
I think that's only true for one of us, but thanks anyways.

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It's still a good thing, but would seem more symbolic in a "normal" town.
I'm not sure I know what you mean. I would like to think of us as generally "normal" kids. Half of us are active participants in high school sporting teams, we attend a fairly average sized high school (at least for an urban area, it's 1500 kids). What really makes Portland that abnormal?
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Old 03-09-07, 12:10 AM   #21
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very cool story. I wish I'd gotten to see the picture the link had the article but no picture just a big ad. I've heard of other places where people commute as a large group- it's an interesting concept. It could be really fun I would imagine.
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Old 03-09-07, 01:38 AM   #22
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What really makes Portland that abnormal?
The high number of cyclists.

I just assumed, apparently incorrectly, that people of all ages were riding and that a group of younger people riding to school would be a common occurance.
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Old 03-09-07, 12:03 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by JeffS
The high number of cyclists.

I just assumed, apparently incorrectly, that people of all ages were riding and that a group of younger people riding to school would be a common occurance.
Ah, there's your error. Never make assumptions about teenagers.
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Old 03-09-07, 10:25 PM   #24
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The thing about teenagers is that the thrill and convenience of driving often takes precedence over the bicycle, which is "old news," as most kids have known how to ride a bike well before age 16. Cars for many teenagers are still equated with freedom, not "cages."

No offense taken--I may have been overly defensive. And I suppose having lived in only in Portland, I'm ill-qualified to make any statements about the relative number of Cyclists in this city. I would assume, however, that it's somewhere between the per-capita numbers of Topeka and Amsterdam.

EDIT: I haven't gotten my liscense yet.
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Old 03-09-07, 11:30 PM   #25
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Great story! This makes me want to start commuting again. I am the only one that ever thought of taking a bicycle to school, but the chilly mornings made me stop for right now. I am younger than them [Freshman], and it good to know I am not the only young person that commutes in this country.

For M_S : How long did it take for the others to get used to seeing you on a bike? People think its funny when they see me, I guess its the helmet / u lock in belt / gloves, etc.
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