Elly Blue and Joe Biel of Portland, Oregon, presented their Bikestravaganza program last night at the Community Building. The room was packed enough that several people had to sit on the floor so we had a good turnout. Elly and Joe gave a history of how various forms of advocacy have worked over the years to make Portland one of the leading cycling cities in the country. It ranged from the police coming down heavy to snuff out Critical Mass to rides organized to identify and call in unsafe traffic engineering. And yet the complete picture of Portland shows there is still a lot of disparity with the city. Even today the challenges of bureaucratic obstacles and pro-vehicle administrators contrast with creative bikeway experiments within the city. Elly and Joe are passionate and articulate about creating liveable communities and their presentation reflects that.
At each city they go to, they also include local cycling advocates and enthusiasts. As a result, a number of the Spokane cyclerati stepped up in front to give a brief overview of their efforts and activities. Bill Bender, Barb Chamberlain and Jeff Everett to name a couple. What struck me was that for as many that got up and spoke there were just as many missing. I don't say that to mean some were excluded. I think it highlighted the fact there are so many facets in Spokane's cycling scene. There is something for everybody here. And you could tell that by looking at those in attendance last night whose ages ranged from young to old and whose cycling skill sets varied just as much.
Let's keep it rolling, Spokane.