Last night Widmer Brothers Brewery held a celebration for their newly installed, on-street bike parking corral. A party for bike parking is one thing, but last night’s event was a bigger deal because Mayor Adams led a bike ride to it from City Hall and KATU-TV showed up to cover the whole thing on their evening newscast.
Adams broke a glass of champagne (or was it beer?) on one of the racks, there was mingling, and there was a party upstairs with a free bike raffle and other prizes (thanks to Cyclepath Bike Shop).
For some, this event might seem like just a blatant photo-op (and it happened two days after the Mayor emceed a press event for the new cycle track). But for others, the Mayor’s presence and the prime-time attention it garnered will be seen as important publicity for biking in our city.
“There are so many people that bike in Portland… if you’re not part of that, you’re going to get left behind.”
— Rob Widmer, co-founder of Widmer Brothers Brewing, speaking to KATU-TV
The KATU coverage was very positive in no small part due to the on-camera presence of Rob Widmer, one of the two brothers who founded the brewery. Both Widmer brothers are unabashed bike lovers. Riders themselves, they also have a lot of bike riding employees and they’ve recently built an entire building for bike lockers and secure parking.
On last night’s KATU story, Widmer was nothing short of a bike evangelist who seemed to be speaking directly to other business owners when he said, “There are so many people that bike in Portland… if you’re not part of that, you’re going to get left behind.”
KATU’s coverage (nasty, anti-bike comments aside) shows a marked difference from how they handled the unveiling of on-street bike parking corrals downtown nearly one year ago. Back in September of 2008, we reported on how their coverage took on a decidedly “bikes vs. cars” tone. What a difference a year makes.
Watch KATU’s story below (thanks KATU for making your online videos embeddable!):
Publicity like this — especially with statements from such an important business figure like Rob Widmer — do wonders in helping make the case for biking to the larger Portland population that isn’t already surrounded by the bike bubble.
As for the corral itself, it has one interesting difference to others around town. The racks were installed at a 60-degree angle to the road — compared to the 30-degree slant that others have. This larger angle allows longer bikes to fit comfortably without sticking out into traffic. According to PBOT’s Sarah Figliozzi, the challenging side to having the staples at this angle is that it makes the corral longer, thus taking up more curb space.
But last night wasn’t about wonky parking facility engineering. It was about a celebration of yet another Portland street where people on bikes feel welcome and a city that seems to be warming up to the concept.
Nice picture of the Mundo! As an Xtracycle rider, I appreciate long parking spaces, too.
As the Mundo rider, I love the space and angle of the bike racks. It was great fun last night.
The different angle is nice for tandem riders, too. We arrived after 7:00, but enjoyed the new corral, not to mention the discounted Okto. Is it just me or do others think that beer and bikes go together so well? By that, I mean that craft brewing and bicycling are tremendous community building activities, both the commerce involved as well as the activities that surround them. In a picture posted on my Brooks Saddles group, http://tinyurl.com/BrooksFB, I remarked the view from the street had all of the trappings of a picture from Europe with bicycles gathered at a “village” pub. Thanks, Rob and Kurt.