It’s an annual tradition we look forward to every year: When one of our local weekly news outlets devotes an entire issue to bicycles and the people who ride them. This morning the Pulitzer Prize-winning Willamette Week released its Bike Issue and newsstands around the city are now adorned with this provocative cover. And under the covers of the issue is a suite of articles that will hopefully make people think critically — and positively — about biking’s role in Portland.
The lede is all about how Portland has gotten complacent:
“… don’t you kind of feel like we’ve been in a rut?
The percentage of bike commuters in the city has been stuck for the past three years. Adding more bike infrastructure has been a battle. Vandals felt empowered to destroy bike-share stations earlier this month.
It’s not just drivers to blame — Portland cyclists have become complacent… It’s time to spice things up.”
This isn’t a new idea, but the Willamette Week has approached it in an interesting and pragmatic way. The theme of the articles is all about considering new alternatives. For their readers that primarily drive, there’s a piece about how great cycling in Portland is in light of how much it sucks to drive a car here (unfortunately it’s not as bad as it should be). The issue also features an interview with Peter Walker, the Guardian (UK) reporter and author of the excellent new book, How Cycling Can Save the World. Walker goes over some of the basics about Portland and cycling advocacy in general.
And for Willamette Week readers who are already cycling-inclined there are articles about how great Biketown is for locals (not just tourists), why you should seriously consider an electric bike (with several quotes from yours truly), and reviews of interesting new products. There’s also a story about how Biketown is cutting into the bike rental profits of local shops.
And in case you read the e-bike article, please note that my use of the term “cyclists” was said with air quotes in mind. I regret not making that clear to the reporter before the story went to print.