Contributing Monkie G Living Staff Monkies
Published on August 31, 2009
Photographer: Bikeporland.org (CC),
If you live in Portland, chances are you’re a bike loving, tree hugging, raincoat wearing, beer guzzling pale faced greenie. I see you shaking your heads. But lets not generalize, or anything, lets just look at the facts. Portland has more beer pubs than Starbucks, more bike lanes, than highways, and more rain than, well anywhere on earth.
My guess is that there are no limits to loving your bike if you live in Portland, am I right? For example, it would be completely normal to say, use bikes as moving vans, or ride around in big groups completely naked. (naked Portlanders on bikes after the jump)
The media definitely makes the rest of us feel that way, when we hear things like, Portland has more bike commuters than any other U.S. city. Portland’s city officials even encourage their citizens to stop driving completely, by giving them bike lanes, bike traffic lights and even bike parking. Oh yeah, not to mention the light rail trains with bike friendly spots inside the trains. Green freak land is really the only good description I can think of for this place.
All of this encouragement to get on a bike has had a major effect on the cities economy. In addition to growing the number of riders, Portland has developed a thriving bike industry. There are independent bike frame builders, bike shops, and local cycle clothing companies. Of course, there are also Portland-headquartered national companies such as Nike and Columbia Sportswear that contribute to the city’s bicycling interests, but a recent New York Times piece focused on local businesses like Team Estrogen, an online retailer that sells cycling clothing for women.
However, the focus of these small businesses (most of whom are committed to recycling and overall sustainability) is not the economy. Most emerged simply from a love of biking. Mia Birk, a former city employee who helped to encourage the use of bicycles in the 1990s, stated that her original goals were not monetarily-geared at all; they were strictly for health and the environment’s sake. The boosting of the city’s economy was just an added bonus.
City Commissioner Sam Adams says the city’s goal is to become as sustainable as possible — socially, environmentally and economically. And to encourage even more biking by adding 110 miles to the already 21 mile bike lanes and move them away from the busy car and truck filled streets.
Portland is clearly thinking about the future, and thinking wisely. The future of their city affects the future of our planet. Let’s hope other city’s follow Portland’s example.
And if you live in Portland and you’re a bike rider, give yourself a big pat on the back. You’re changing the future with every pedal.
Bike Moving Portland Style