Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on June 29th, 2011 at 9:20 am
Earl Blumenauer from
a 1979 Multnomah County
- See full version below-
U.S. Congressman Earl Blumenauer has been extolling the virtues of bicycling for a long time — but I didn't realize just how long.
Far from jumping on the green transportation bandwagon, or simply hitching up to Portland's bike heydays in the 1990s, Blumenauer has been promoting the use of bicycles in our region for over 30 years.
Yesterday I came across a scan of an old Multnomah County newsletter from May 1979 (below). The subject of the article and photo was a race in downtown Portland held to prove which mode — bus, feet, car or bike — could travel 12 blocks the fastest.
Guess who won?
The photo shows a 31-year old Blumenauer, then a County Commissioner, with fellow commissioner Gladys McCoy.
"The quickest way to get from the Courthouse to the Gill Building," it reads, "is to ride a bike."
The final results (distance is about 12 blocks):
- 1) Bike: 9 mins, 28 secs
2) Bus: 14 mins, 59 secs
3) Walk: 15 mins, 21 secs
4) Drive: 16 mins, 23 secs ("proving this is the least efficient and most expensive way to cover the distance.")
The newsletter said both Blumenauer and McCoy had been, "urging the use of energy-efficient bicycles instead of County-owned motor vehicles."
Today at 4:30 pm, Oregon Public Broadcasting (our local NPR affiliate station) will revisit this timeless race format. My money is on the bike rider. While it won't be Blumenauer riding this time, there's a good chance that whoever is, will rely on bikeways he had a hand in building.