I love Big Ideas. Without them we’d be stuck in the rut of merely working on what’s possible instead of peering out to new possibilities. When it comes to moving biking forward in Oregon, we’ve got to dream big.
It was with that spirit that I hosted a contest recently asking for your Big Ideas for Biking in Oregon. We got a ton of fantastic responses! Thanks to everyone for playing along (see list of winners and others below the jump).
I ran all the ideas by my esteemed cohorts Jerry Norquist from Cycle Oregon and Kristin Dahl from Travel Oregon. After a bit of discussion, we came to agreement on a Grand Prize winner and two Honorable Mentions. I tried to get the people behind all three winning ideas to the Oregon Bike Summit last Friday, but for various reasons, none of them could make it (next year I’ll make attendance a requisite of entry).
Thankfully, Dan Kaufman of Crank My Chain TV! had a very similar entry to the Grand Prize winner and he was able to come to the summit and present it. He did an amazing job (there’s video of his presentation if you’re interested (sorry for poor audio quality) and here’s the text).
So, without further adieu, here are the winners, followed by a list of other excellent ideas that I received:
Grand Prize: A “bicycle equivalent of the Pacific Crest Trail, only along the coast.”
This idea was submitted by Ross Williams from Grand Rapids Minnesota (also next year, only Oregon residents!). Bikeways fully separated from motor vehicles was a popular theme among the ideas. Several people sent in different versions of it, but Ross really nailed it. A physically separated, paved bikeway along the Oregon Coast — yes it’s ambitious, but it’s feasible enough to (hopefully) get some wheels turning.
Bikes fly free in and out of Portland Airport – Submitted by Burk Webb
We loved this idea in part because it’s already got some legs and it’s something a lot of people have already been asking about. Instead of making it a business proposal to the airlines (which would be difficult in today’s economic climate), Norquist and I thought maybe there’s a way to involve the Portland Development Commission, Travel Oregon, ODOT, and/or other agencies to create some sort of subsidy program to make the idea more financially feasible. We can dream right?
Bike offsets – Submitted by David Pilz
We thought David’s idea to create a market for “bike offsets” was very interesting. Here’s a snip from his entry:
“Just like other envrionmental offset markets. Let car commuters and businesses that employ lots of drivers purchase offsets from a bank of “bike offsets.” The “bike offsets” are created by recruiting new bike commuters either by paying them to commute or purchasing them a new bike and paying for maintenance. Depending on the distance and frequency of the new commuters’ commute, a different size offset is created. Money to pay the new commuters or buy their new bikes comes from the price paid by offset buyers.”
And below, in no particular order, are some other great Big Ideas we received that merit more exposure. Thanks again for all your submissions!
- Officially sanctioned spring/summer mountain pass riding days. Let bike riders know when it’s O.K. and safe to ride major mountain roads (like McKenzie Pass) before they’re opened to motor vehicles.
- “Simply steam-roll what-ever-the-hell is going on with Memorial Coliseum and bike-it-to-death. Velodrome, training facility, service, retail, the gooey, bikety, chamis-chapped, epicenter of America’s bike-Mecca. Own it. Grab it. Stomp it. Use all this belligerent, self-involved energy you all exude, and tear that building, right smack-dab in the middle of the city no-less, from the evil clutches of ANY other interest.”
- “How about (and I posted this the first time the “big ideas” were mentioned) simply providing generous paved shoulders on the many existing scenic routes in the state? Call the shoulders bike lanes…. It’s imminently doable: what Democratic Governor wouldn’t love to have that many infrastructure projects to throw to the construction Unions, while labeling the project green and creating tourist revenue as well?”
- “Work with breweries to design community-specific labeling at low cost. Designs would invoke some sort of bicycle imagery alongside local natural and cultural landmarks across Oregon… The 10 cent deposit on these bottles would go to support bicycle projects in each of the communities as well as showcase rural communities that embrace bicycling.”
- “Funding to develop and support current bicycle component and frame manufacturers and provide tax incentives to start up new businesses… In short, bring manufacturing back to the USA (specifically Oregon) by encouraging new companies to start and grow.”
- “CEO Ride. Organize and lead the major CEO of Oregon’s top businesses. On the ride discuss the top 10-20 ideas from your longer list, get some buy in as to which the CEOs might support.”
- “To make Oregon the best biking state I would propose a series of mountain bike trails – with either cabins, or campgrounds, criss-crossing the state.”
- “A trans-state (north/south) mountain bike route in eastern Oregon. It should go through Umatilla and Malheur national forest and then a right of way through the open land. Of course you would need camping every 25 to 50 miles(maybe more if it was dirt roads.”
- “What if every taxpayer in Oregon received a kicker ($100-$500) that could be used to purchase bicycles and/or certain bicycle related items? Talk about incentive! Like the stimulus checks… only for bikes. Bike shops everywhere would get a boost as well either selling new bikes or fixing old or department store bikes.”
Now, get out there, start networking, and let’s make a few of these a reality!