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As talk show appearance looms, thoughts on the Emily Finch phenomenon

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward

Emily Finch pedaling talk show host Ricki Lake
during a recent trip to L.A.
(Photo: The New Ricki Lake Show)

When I first saw Emily Finch with her six kids in tow at a local farmer’s market this past summer, I had no idea she would become a bona fide bike celebrity before the year was out. But that’s exactly what has happened.

This Friday night, Finch is hosting a viewing party at Velo Cult Bike Shop (1969 NE 42nd Ave) for her recent appearance on The New Ricki Lake Show. Where Emily will show up next is anyone’s guess; but there’s no guesswork about how far her story has traveled and how many people she has already inspired.

Prior to my profile on Emily, the most popular stories of the 8,500 or so stories posted on the BikePortland Front Page were recaps and photos of the World Naked Bike Ride. Now I’m very pleased to report that Emily’s story is easily the most widely read story in the history of this site. I won’t bore you with stats, but suffice it to say that her story is known far and wide.

I heard from a man named Iain Cummings who wrote me from Gold Coast, Australia. He was eager to share photos of his family getting along by bike (see below). “It’s great to see other people out there doing great things on bikes,” he wrote.

Closer to home, I heard from Fabi Zawalski who lives in a suburb of Portland. “I was very excited to see her story!” Fabi shared. She and her friend (below) have started a blog to encourage other mom’s and dad’s that, “Family riding doesn’t have to be limited to the East side.”

And Emily’s story was picked up by media all over the globe. From to the Today Show blog here in the states, to many international news sites (several UK news agencies wanted to purchase exclusive rights to the story), everyone was equally amazed by her exploits and attitude.

What’s been the most fun is how Emily has handled all the attention. Far from becoming annoyed or shying away from it all, she has embraced her new public profile with a vigor, confidence and authenticity unlike anyone I’ve ever met. Her Twitter profile reads: “Catholic school girl turned Badass Bakfiets Babe. Yeah, I have six kids. Get over it.” She traveled to Washington D.C. to be a guest speaker at the inaugural National Women’s Bicycling Summit and proceeded to “bring the house down” with her presentation.

Friday’s episode of The New Ricki Lake Show is on “Extreme Lives.” Emily, who is shown in a preview of the episode pedaling around the studio backlot with Ricki Lake inside the cargo bin, will appear along with an extreme eater, Steve-O from Jackass, and others. The show refers to Emily as, “an Oregon mother of six who’s redefining the term ‘Going Green.'”

As we all know, Emily’s story isn’t about being eco-friendly. It’s about a lady who loves her bike, doesn’t drive a car, and just happens to have six kids.

Come meet Emily, her family, and a few hundred of her new friends at Velo Cult on Friday night. And of course, kids are welcome.