Every summer the City of Portland closes off streets to motorized vehicles, and opens them to cyclists, walkers, runners, unicyclists, and any other human-powered transportation. This summer's events are taking place once a month from May - September, with one event in each of the city's 5 quadrants. The routes each include several city parks, which are hubs for community activities during the event. Each event often has over 20,000 participants. In 2011 Sunday Parkways had 107,300 participants across all days/locations.
If you visited us during the event and are wondering what exactly this site is all about, you might want to scroll on down to the bottom of this post where I've got links to some more information about how the site works, some of our more popular questions, and some of the other Stack Exchange sites. Of course, you're welcome to keep reading about our experience volunteering today!
Today - May 12th - was the first Sunday Parkways of 2013, and Stack Exchange was here to represent! Sunday Parkways needs at least 300 volunteers at each event to make everything run smoothly. Most of the volunteers are "intersection superheroes," and today our group adopted an intersection on the route to be superheroes at. Our main job was to make sure that neighbors stay happy, and to help people get their cars on and off the route to access their homes without letting unauthorized vehicles drive on the route.
In addition to our volunteer duties, we were also promoting Stack Exchange - especially the bicycles site. We were armed with an array of swag, including t-shirts, water bottles, and the ever-popular reflective slap bracelets, and throngs of people were stopping by our booth to get "that free stuff over there" and learn more about Stack Exchange. People were excited to hear about Stack Exchange sites for their other interests too - lots of folks were interested in Gardening, Home Brewing, Seasoned Advice, and of course Stack Overflow and Super User.
I'm also working on the latest installment of my popular bike lights review, so I brought a bunch of the lights I'm testing for people to look at. A few people were disappointed that the bike lights weren't free too, but I had a lot of good conversations with riders who were looking to buy lights or upgrade the ones they had.
The best part of the experience was getting to meet all of the interested participants, especially all of the excited children on miniature bikes. Although we did get shouted at by a few frustrated drivers, we managed to get everyone where they needed to go without any problems. Overall it was a fantastic event, and we're looking forward to volunteering at other Sunday Parkways events later this summer!
Wait so what is Stack Exchange exactly...
We're glad you asked! If you visited us during Sunday Parkways and want to learn more about Stack Exchange, here's some info for you:
Stack Exchange is a fast-growing network of 101 question and answer sites on diverse topics from software programming to cooking to photography and gaming. We build libraries of high-quality questions and answers, focused on the most important topics in each area of expertise. From our core of Q&A, to community blogs and real-time chat, we provide experts with the tools they need to make The Internet a better place.
Right now, you're reading the community blog for the Bicycles Stack Exchange site. You can learn more about how to ask and answer questions and what makes this site different from old-school forums on our About page.
Chances are, if you've got a bike question then we've got the answer - and if we don't, you can ask the question yourself! Here are a few of our popular questions that you might be interested in:
- The great Bicycle Tail Light Review
- Which is safer, head/tail lights which blink or emit a steady beam?
- How should a bicycle helmet fit?
- How to clean up at work after a commute?
- Why is it safer to bike with traffic, instead of facing oncoming cars?
- What is the best method to teach a young child to ride?
- When accompanying children on roads - ahead, beside or behind?
Bicycles aren't the only topic we cover, either! There are now over 100 Stack Exchange sites, with more being created all the time. Some sites that might be of interest for Sunday Parkways participants include....