Monday, June 23, 2008

Slow news day: Bike blogger profiled

Image of bicyclist Paul Dorn
From the Davis Enterprise (CA), 06.23.08:

Commuter cycle
Bike guru’s Web site offers tips on daily trips

It was a distaste for sitting in traffic that got Paul Dorn on a bicycle. Commuting from his house to his job in San Francisco took two Muni transfers and about 90 minutes.

These days, people are disgusted by gas vehicles because they pollute, contribute to obesity and the big ones can take two credit cards just to fill up. Luckily for those who have had it up to here, Dorn not only wanted to learn to commute by bicycle, but also to learn how to design a Web site.

In 1997, he launched Paul Dorn’s Bike Commute Tips, a Web site that has seen its traffic triple in the past year. Typing “bike commute” into Google.com brings Dorn’s site up fourth. “Bike commuting” shows it in the first slot.

“All I wanted was to say ‘Hey, Mom, I’ve got a Web site,’ ” he said. “That was exciting 10, 12 years ago. Then it started to get picked up.” Now, he fields questions and comments from people all over the world who are trying to make it as bike commuters in less hospitable places than Davis or Sacramento.


“I’ve been cycling for four years in Nashville, TN (possibly the US’s most unfriendly biking community),” wrote one reader. “I’ve begun to commute to work. I really have appreciated reading your tips and blog.”

USA Today contacted Dorn for a comment on rising gas prices for a story in May, and the U.S. News and World Report tracked him down for a quote just a week or so ago.

Dorn lives near Sacramento’s Midtown and rides his bicycle and public transportation to his job at the UC Davis Activities and Recreation Center every day, even on most of the cold, dark winter days.

“I could bike both ways since I work at a health club and there’s a shower, but inevitably I forget socks,” he said. Dorn, who was a member of the San Francisco Bike Coalition when Critical Mass was born, now advocates for more bike-friendly cities and for great bike cities to get better.

“I point to Davis on my blog frequently as an example of a community that has been very wise in investing in bicycling infrastructure,” he said. “What Davis has demonstrated is that if you build it, they will come.”

Nonetheless, he said, “Davis can’t afford to rest on its laurels. I would like to see Davis continue to be a pioneer.”
Until this year, Davis was the only platinum level Bicycle Friendly Community in the U.S. Covering a city with one of the highest bicycling mode shares in the country, the Davis Enterprise does a commendable job reporting on bikes and giving space to bicyclists on its op-ed pages. This is the entire story and two photos; content on the Enterprise website is only available to subscribers.

(I don't consider myself a "guru." There are at least 100 people in Davis alone who know more about bicycling than I do. What I've done is to use the web to help keep bike commuters inspired and informed.)

Images: Sue Cockrell/Davis Enterprise. Bike blogger Paul Dorn; stickers on Dorn's bicycle.
Visit: Cycling in Bike-Friendly Davis
Visit: Davis retains platinum status as bike capital, Bike Commute Tips Blog
Visit: Davis commemorates 50 years of bicycling, Bike Commute Tips Blog
Visit: Watch out Davis, your monopoly on platinum may end, Bike Commute Tips Blog
Visit: Paul Dorn's Bike Commuting Tips Site
For the record: I am a former visual art critic for the Davis Enterprise.

8 comments:

drivemybike said...

Way to go Paul! Congrats on getting such good press! You have contributed a lot to the bike commuting community. Thanks!

Nick David Wright said...

Where can you get one of those "What gas prices?" stickers?

Paul Dorn said...

The "What Gas Prices?" sticker was acquired from the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition. I don't know if they sell/offer them to nonmembers. But worth an inquiry.

Anonymous said...

The stickers can be purchased from zeropergallon.com. Paul, would you update your bicycle stable information? I enjoy reading and seeing what other people have in their stables.

Happy cycling,
Patrick
Davis, CA

Anonymous said...

You're doing more than your share...hopefully you'll even convince VCs that the world isn't flat.

Good job Paul.
Jack

Prosperity1 said...

Good for you, dude. In many other countries biking instead of driving is the norm. Wonder if people would feel the same if gas fell to 90cents per gallon?


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SubCommander Sasquatch said...

Slow news day, my ass. Congrats on the coverage and nice photo (confidential to the ladies: he's single!)

Anonymous said...

confidential to the ladies: not so single!