I hate to re-hash something that another site has already covered (very nicely, btw), but in this case I think the topic merits another mention in case anyone missed it – especially with the National Bike Summit taking over the Capitol next week.
The article that Jonathan Maus of the awesome bikeportland.org blog discovered recently was written with the Summit in mind by columnist James Peirce of the Washington Post Writer’s Group. Mr. Peirce goes through a list of issues that have been in the headlines recently that all point to a very favorable atmosphere for the growth of the use and acceptability of the bicycle as a legitimate form of transportation and dynamic solution to many of these problems. (That last point also eloquently brought up by Interbike show director, Lance Camisasca, back in 2006, btw.)
Jonathan does a great job of describing the article and has some nice pull-quotes, so I’ll avoid echoing here. Of course, you should read the whole article itself, but one snippet at the end where he describes the significance of Portland’s Bike Boulevards seems an important point, so I’ll excerpt it again here:
“But perhaps most importantly, they’ve marked a major shift from meeting needs of expert and intermediate cyclists. The focus, instead, is on making cycling welcoming for everyone — kids, families and novices included.”
We “expert and intermediate” cyclists in the industry can tend to forget the needs of the masses of non-riders (the 161 million, as I’ve often heard quoted as their number) that we are trying to encourage to leave their cars in the garage. It may be tough to paceline in a bike way or path, but that’s not really the point, is it?
Have fun at the Summit – and go do some good!