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Happening People: Shane MacRhodes keeps cars off the roads and bikes on them

Shane MacRhodes
Shane MacRhodes

 On Friday, Sept. 29, in Portland, The Street Trust, formerly known as the Bicycle Transportation Alliance, will present its Bud Clark Lifetime Achievement Award to Shane MacRhodes of Eugene, whose advocacy was instrumental in securing $125 million for Safe Routes to Schools (SRTS) in a recently passed statewide transportation bill. A third-generation Eugenean, MacRhodes moved to Alaska with his mom at age 11, when his parents separated. “I biked to high school in Anchorage,” he notes. He returned to Eugene for a BA in psychology, then got started in cargo biking with Pedalers Express, a division of the Center for Appropriate Transport. He subsequently worked in a cargo bike collective in Davis, California, started a cargo bike division in a bike courier collective in Spain, and spent five years with a collective in the East Bay area in California, where he met his wife Melissa. “I told her that Eugene was home,” he says. “She came up in 2005 and we took a year to circumnavigate the U.S., 11,000 miles by bicycle.” A few months later, he took a grant-funded job at Roosevelt Middle School to start an SRTS program. “I saw the opportunity for a regional program,” says MacRhodes, who partnered with Bethel and Springfield school districts and the city of Eugene’s recreation program. He enlisted Bike Friday founder Alan Scholz to design a fleet of 40 bikes, adjustable to the size of the rider, to be used for bike-safety courses in school PE classes. Five fleets are now in use. Last year, MacRhodes left his job at Roosevelt to spend more with his own kids, third-grader Isadora and second-graders Ben and Gus. He also trains cycling instructors for the League of American Bicyclists.