From the New York Times, 11.05.07:
In Portland, Cultivating a Culture of Two WheelsInteresting article and video by the nation's paper of record, on the burgeoning bicycle economy in Portland, Oregon. The city has long been hailed as a the country's leading bicycling-friendly community. And this growing bike culture is encouraging businesses that serve bicyclists. And the bike economy's employees become a political constituency.
Cyclists have long revered Portland for its bicycle-friendly culture and infrastructure, including the network of bike lanes that the city began planning in the early 1970s. Now, riders are helping the city build a cycling economy.
There are, of course, huge national companies like Nike and Columbia Sportswear that have headquarters here and sell some cycling-related products, and there are well-known brands like Team Estrogen, which sells cycling clothing for women online from a Portland suburb.
Yet in a city often uncomfortable with corporate gloss, what is most distinctive about the emerging cycling industry here is the growing number of smaller businesses, whether bike frame builders or clothing makers, that often extol recycling as much as cycling, sustainability as much as success.
In a report for the City of Portland last year, (Alta Planning and Design) estimated that 600 to 800 people worked in the cycling industry in some form. A decade earlier, (Mia) Birk said in an interview, the number would have been more like 200 and made up almost entirely of employees at retail bike stores. Now, Ms. Birk said, the city is nurturing the cycling industry, and there are about 125 bike-related businesses in Portland... (Read more.)
This photo presents a bike parking model I wish more cities would embrace: Removing car parking to create space for parked bikes. Don't force bicyclists and pedestrians into conflict by crowding sidewalks with bike racks. Get rid of the cars.
I'm late reporting this significant article, see also the comments at BikePortland.org. And my friend Bob in Portland--taking time from his ceaseless search for Sasquatch--commented: "There's something happenin' here, what it is ain't exactly clear. There's a man on bike over there..... Critical Mass? Maybe, but perhaps it's just the realization that it's the twilight of the age of the automobile."
Image: New York Times, bike parking in Portland
Visit: Paul Dorn's Bike Commuting Tips