Portland, Oregon did not become the bicycle Mecca it is overnight. While the city did have some of the first Complete Streets policies in place since the 70s and a robust cycling community, it wasn’t until the early 90s that bike culture really blossomed.
The reasons for the bikesplosion were political support in City Commissioner, now Congressman Earl Blumenauer, the steadfast encouragement of the Bicycle Transportation Alliance and Mia Birk. Mia was one of the first bicycle coordinator’s in the country and helped move Portland ahead of the curve. Joyride is Mia’s accounts of growing up in car-centric Texas, discovering the life changing benefits of biking in college and pushing the envelope for bikes as coordinator in Portland.
This book has been on my list for awhile. Once I whittled my list down, it took me no time at all to blast through it! A totally enjoyable read about the obstacles and solutions for creating innovative bike infrastructure and encourging more people to get out and ride. Obviously, I related to many of the stories with the book – fun rides, community opposition and bureaucratic change.
There are many differences between B’more and Portland when it comes to bicycling. Don’t read this book and think how much better Portland is (even though it is). Read it and see that progress towards becoming a bike-conscious community is a path both cities are on. The pace might be different, but the challenges and goals are the same.