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New York Times notices Portland’s bike culture

Posted by on November 4th, 2007 at 11:02 pm

Bike parking on SE Belmont
makes the front page of

The Monday (11/5) edition of the New York Times features a story on Portland’s bike culture.

The article, In Portland, Cultivating a Culture of Two Wheels, is currently (as of Sunday night) featured on the home page of and is also accompanied by a video titled, The Business of Biking.

Along with a nod to Portland as “Bike City USA”, the article and video focus primarily on Portland’s custom framebuilders and the City’s effort to promote and encourage bike-related businesses.

Featured in the article are builders Tony Pereira, Andy Newlands, and Sacha White. Also quoted are Commissioner Sam Adams and former PDOT bike coordinator Mia Birk, who, as a principal with Alta Planning completed an analysis of Portland’s bike economy in June of 2006.

Currently there are 12 framebuilders plying their trade in Portland (see a list of them on my links page) and several of them have gained national and international acclaim for their work. Portland builders took home four awards at the 2007 North American Handmade Bicycle Show held in San Jose, CA back in March.

Andy Newlands of Strawberry Bicycle held a gathering of local framebuilders at his shop in Southwest Portland last October. From L to R: Andy Newlands, Natalie Ramsland (Sweetpea Bicycles), Tony Pereira (Pereira Cycles), Joseph Ahearne (Ahearne Cycles)
(Photo © Jonathan Maus)

My favorite quote comes at the end of the video. It’s from framebuilder Natalie Ramsland. She says, “Here, it’s like, if you’re riding a bike, you’re really traveling in the vernacular…it’s what people do here.”

Oh, and the article also mentions a little web site. Guess which one ;-).

Check out the article and the video.

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NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

  • erin g. November 5, 2007 at 12:07 am

    This is huge! Congratulations to everyone who fosters and participates in our bike culture. I am so proud of our community! We’ve set a precedent that other American cities could follow. This caliber of national press helps to show leaders and citizens in other communities what is possible when conditions are right, when people get inspired and commit. Life is just so good by bike. The front page of The Times is a pretty darned good way to spread the word! Let’s all take a moment to step back and realize how far we’ve come, how progressive and promising a place this is. Whenever I muse about moving elsewhere, I remember that there is no other place like Portland, that the bike-friendly life that I lead here results in a quality of experience that I couldn’t find anywhere else in the U.S. Not until some other cities catch up with us, that is. But something tells me we\’re laps ahead…!

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  • Mary November 5, 2007 at 4:50 am

    Congratulations, Portland! The video was the first thing I saw on the NYTimes home page this morning, and the article was already number 6 in the most-e-mailed. I think I\’ll e-mail it to a couple people, too. It would have been nice to see a Bakfiets, though, now that Newsweek has published a little blurb on them. Gotta go — I\’m headed out for work at 42 degrees, dropping to 27, with snow in the forecast, and winds gusting from the north at up to 40 mph. It\’s the other great biking city — Minneapolis, and if we keep getting better at riding through the winter, we figure we can catch up with Portland.

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  • peejay November 5, 2007 at 8:08 am

    Congratulations Jonathan, Tony, Natalie, Sam, etc. The Times was actually well-informed and struck the right note with balance about our successes and our setbacks. Now, if only they could have been as smart in 2002 about Iraq!

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  • Jonathan Maus (Editor) November 5, 2007 at 8:14 am

    As of this morning (Monday), the article is #2 on their \”Most Emailed\” list!

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  • Daisy November 5, 2007 at 8:25 am

    Yah Tony!
    Yah Jonathan!
    Yah Portland!!

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  • bluecommute November 5, 2007 at 8:28 am

    This was GREAT to read this morning before I ride off to work… (Jonathan we know here that you deserve the national coverage). The NY Times just can\’t get enough of Portland, and I can understand that love affair! Hopefully this can help spread bike culture elsewhere. I bet sometime today this story will become the #1 emailed story of the day!

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  • Patrick Mc November 5, 2007 at 8:30 am

    \”A little website\”? A little website that could!! Congratulations, Jonathan, and many thanks for the timeliness and dedication.

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  • Donna November 5, 2007 at 8:44 am

    Super cool. I\’m not surprised to hear it\’s #2. I know I\’ve been emailing it all over creation.

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  • bluecommute November 5, 2007 at 8:48 am

    7:47am pacific time and it\’s #1, it\’s #1 (this means most Portlanders haven\’t even seen the story yet)… now lets make sure it stays there for a while!

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  • Darren November 5, 2007 at 8:51 am

    I wonder is BikeSnobNYC jealous?

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  • Natalie Ramsland November 5, 2007 at 8:56 am

    I would never have guessed, when the training wheels came off my first bike and I hollered, \”Look at me Mom, I\’m biking!!\” that the NY Times would someday think it was news-worthy, too. Well, look at Portland everybody – we are biking.

    The article points out the help that the city has given to small local bike businesses, but none of that would have been possible with out the support of everyone in the cycling community. And of course, you Jonathan. Thanks.

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  • Klixi November 5, 2007 at 8:59 am

    Nice. Biking really does feel \”alive\” in Portland right now. It\’s great to be part of that.

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  • Zach November 5, 2007 at 9:04 am

    Always nice to see articles about Portland in the national media… the NYT does this approximately once a month (and anything they write about us ends up \’most emailed\’ for at least a day)…

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  • a.O November 5, 2007 at 9:07 am

    Congratulations, indeed. This really is big time. And I really hope it reminds all you creative and entrepeneurial folks that you\’re building something great here in Portland (if you needed any reminding).

    I particularly like, \”It’s what people do here.\”

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  • Matt Picio November 5, 2007 at 9:25 am

    Congratulations, everyone! I think one of the great things about Portland is that local people find something about bikes that inspires passion and they run with it. The bike culture and infrastructure here has garnered enough notice that it\’s gathering people from all over the country now who are moving here specifically because of biking.

    To everyone who is a part of that, and doing whatever they\’re doing to promote that – thank you. Thank you very much.

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  • Hanmade November 5, 2007 at 10:02 am

    happening this Saturday (11/11).

    Saturday or Sunday, John?

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  • tonyt November 5, 2007 at 10:21 am

    It\’s why I moved here.

    Nothing wrong with patting ourselves on the back every once in a while.

    Congrats on BP making it into the article Jonathan.

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  • Paul Tay November 5, 2007 at 10:35 am

    EATcha heart out, PDX! Guess who\’s taking NOTES!

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  • SkidMark November 5, 2007 at 11:04 am

    Oregon Handmade Bike Show is next weekend! Stoked!

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  • Ian Clemons November 5, 2007 at 11:31 am

    I hope this article inspires more bike enthusiasts to move here. Now, if we can just have enough affordable housing so they\’ll have a place to live when NOT biking!

    Everyone who gets on a bike should be proud of all they do for this city. I can\’t imagine living anywhere else!

    -Ian Clemons

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  • erin g. November 5, 2007 at 11:56 am

    The article is now ranked #1 Most Popular/Emailed of the day!!

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  • Joe November 5, 2007 at 11:59 am

    GREAT JOB!! we all thank you for keep
    everyones dream alive.. car free to some
    point.. now if i could only get people
    little more south to follow.. 🙂

    compassion goes along way..

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  • Jonathan Maus (Editor) November 5, 2007 at 11:59 am

    \”happening this Saturday (11/11).

    Saturday or Sunday, John?\”

    Sorry. it\’s this Sunday November 11. I corrected the story.

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  • joeb November 5, 2007 at 12:49 pm

    The day I read this particular article – Day 3 – of the outstanding coverage of Cycle Oregon 2007, I got a feeling in my gut that Jonathan should be expecting a 7+ figure offer from the East Coast. This site has grown into a de facto source of information and a personal addiction. Bikeportland is my bike community else I’d just be another happy guy on a bike. So I clicked over and made a significantly less than 7 figure contribution to bikeportland and set myself a reminder to do so again in 3 months.

    IMO… the best site online!

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  • brandon cabezas November 6, 2007 at 12:09 pm

    congrats portland. I\’m down here in LA trying to build a bike culture. wish me luck!

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