(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)
One year ago today we shared the story of Emily Finch, the 35-year old southeast Portland resident and mother of six who “does it all by bike.” Since then, the story has traveled far and wide and Emily became something of a phenomenon.
Since BikePortland started in April 2005, we’ve put 9,322 stories on the Front Page and Emily’s is by far the most popular thing we’ve ever posted (if you’re curious, the four other most popular posts in our all-time top five are coverage of the Naked Bike Ride).
I think there are a lot of reasons why Emily’s story resonated. For one, what she does is simply amazing. I’ve observed people bicycling in the most bike-friendly cities in the world and even in places like Amsterdam and Copenhagen, I’ve yet to see someone carry six kids on a bike with such determination and panache. I also think her story shocked people for different reasons. A lot of the discussion it generated (comments are still coming in a year later!) focused on the juxtaposition of bicycling and Emily’s personal choices about family size. But I think for most people (especially Americans) the idea of riding with kids in traffic — much less six of them — was a shock to their sensibilities. Like I said back then, when you read the story and see the photos, it forces you to re-think what’s possible.
What I’ll remember most about this story is how it provided an avenue for Emily to inspire others and to find her place in our community. From an appearance on the Ricki Lake Show in Los Angeles to an article she wrote in the upcoming issue of Bicycle Times Magazine, she has embraced the attention (well, most of it anyway) and has put it to good use.
Thank you Emily for tolerating the annoyances that come with making your life public. And thanks to everyone who read and shared her story.
— If you missed it the first time around, you can read it here.