Copenhagen’s “bike culture ambassador” will tell Portland how to sell cycling

On Thursday night, the man behind, Mikael Colville-Andersen, will share the stage with Portland Mayor Sam Adams, a representative from the U.S. Embassy to Denmark, and author and Oregonian political reporter Jeff Mapes for a discussion about how to market bicycles to the masses.

The event, Bicycle Culture from Copenhagen to Portland, is part of the Oregon Manifest and it will also serve as a reception for the Dreams on Wheels exhibit currently on display at the Oregon Manifest Bike Union (NW Hoyt and 10th).

Here’s a snip from the event description:

“Colville-Andersen’s talk will explore Copenhagen’s journey toward establishing the bicycle as a feasible, acceptable form of transport, as well as touch on the importance of marketing bicycle culture to the average citizen.

He explains how the 500,000 people on bicycles each day in Copenhagen are not “cyclists,” nor are they
“environmentalists;” they merely choose to ride because of an existing safe, quick infrastructure. 30 years of traffic and urban planning have transitioned the bicycle from an instrument of sporting equipment to a democratic tool that has liberated the people of Copenhagen from cars, and created the foundation for one of the world’s most liveable cities.”

For his part, Mayor Adams will share Portland’s story, framed in the new Bicycle Master Plan, which aims to create Copenhagen right here in Stumptown.

The event will be moderated by Jeff Mapes, the author of Pedaling Revolution: How Cyclists are Changing American Cities (Oregon State University Press, 2008). Mapes traveled the world (including Copenhagen) to research his book and that perspective will allow him to tie everything together.

Portland, whose love affair with Copenhagen is well-documented, has been getting a lot of advice from Copenhagen lately, and this evening should reveal even more insights into whether or not we’re truly on the path to “world-class” or if we’ll just remain the best of the worst.

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