Popping Outside our Bike Bubble

The Copenhagenize Index 2013 is now out. The creators taut it as “the world’s most comprehensive list of bicycle friendly cities” and Portland isn’t on it.

In fact, no United States cities ranked on the prestigious list.

Rio, Budapest, Dublin and a few other “had no idea” bike friendly cities are on the list.

What Gives?

So what gives, Portland? You know, the place many call a bike mecca. Business Insider says the root of the problem is that “Americans often perceive cyclists as extreme athletes” and there’s certainly some wise truth to that statement. We could spend all day debating and discussing the relevance of such lists, the criteria, validity and why we ranked as we did. But the true take away is twofold.

We Live In a Bubble

Oregon is a fantastic place to ride a bike, and Portland is a bike friendly city, but we’re not the only ones rockin’ on two wheels. It’s important to pop outside of our little bubble and to gain some global perspective, even if it means our egos are knocked down a peg or two – or we don’t even rank.

Ride with Gusto

Secondly, it’s all about what we can easily do next. And “we” means you and me – everyday, regular folks who ride bikes.

Correction. Regular folks like you and me who LOVE riding our bikes. Love is contagious. So let’s spend this coming summer spreading bike love. Smile when you ride. Attend Bicycle Transportation Happy Hours (and support the BTA!). Join a bike club. Help your neighbor buy a bike. Ride to happy hour with friends. Cruise around lazily on a Sunday. Train for a century.

Support the organizations, agencies and groups who are fighting the good fight to get more people on bikes and make our roads safer for cycling, but focus on what you’re best at, and where your passion lies. If that’s on two wheels, then get out there and ride your heart out.

However you spend your time on your bike, do it with love, dedication and gusto.

Oh, and if you do want to grab a pint to debate and discus the relevance of such lists, the criteria, validity and why we ranked as we did, I’m game.

Read the Copenhagenize Index 2013 here >>

Check out Biking Expert’s guide to the 75 most bike friendly cities in the world >>.

9 Responses to “Popping Outside our Bike Bubble”
  1. Gretchen S. says:

    Agreed. We DO live in a bubble. It’s a spectacular bubble, I will grant you that, but a bubble none-the-less. My husband is an immigrant which gives me perspective many of my friends do not have. This is a good reminder. We are not the only city that is really great.

  2. Kate says:

    Europeans have been riding bike commutes for a couple centuries? Not surprised about them. And it’s a better alternative to their gas cost. Glad for anyone who has a bike to ride.
    Speaking of that -Where can I go and look at inexpensive bikes? I am a 64 and want to get back out. and see if I still can.- I used to ride a lot ! I just at least want to get to the community center and back. I appreciate your help. I once got on a list to work for a bike but my name never came up.
    I have walking issues and biking may just be the ticket..

    • Ayleen Crotty says:

      Hi Kate – We’re so excited to hear you want to get back out there on your bike. There are some very accessible options for you but it’s a complex topic that deserves explanation. We’re working on an article that will cover just that very topic, and you can expect to see it published here pretty soon. Stay tuned!

  3. Greg on a Bike says:

    I don’t live in Portland but I’ve visited enough to know the city has some big stuff happenig that I think makes it worthy of being considered a bike friendly city, but I guess you can’t compete with the strong history European cities have, as the woman above mentions. Still, I was surprised to see some of the cities that were on the list.

  4. robin wheelright says:

    Ayleen, where is the data that shows all 150 cities and how they ranked? I want to have a conversation about the criteria, how us cities ranked, and what needs to be worked on, but we need more than just a list of the top 20. btw, portlandia is not a bubble, its just an innovator.

  5. Tyler says:

    It’s about way more than history — it’s about political will. Portland is way ahead of the curve in the US, but it’s still car-centric. The Netherlands became so bike friendly in the 60s because people demanded that the government “halt kinder moord” (stop child murder) when stats came out that cars were the leading cause of death for children 3-14. Before that movement that changed everything, the Netherlands was looking a lot like a large city in the US. See here for a history of the Dutch cycle paths: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XuBdf9jYj7o

  6. veronica says:

    I had heard that Portland was the most bike friendly city in the US. So when friends of mine living in Portland invited me to visit, I jumped at the chance. After cycling around Portland for a week, my reaction was “This is it?! This is the best we have?!”. I was so disappointed, I was practically in tears. Don’t misunderstand me. I thought Portland was fine. But having lived in France for a year just before that, I was downright depressed at how far behind the “best” US city was, compared to just your average city in Europe. I spent a month each cycling through Nantes and Bordeaux. There is NO comparison. Keep on cycling Portland. But (unfortunately) you are still a long way from making the Copenhagenize list.

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