Mia Birk has written a book about her travails and travels working to make bicycling an integral part of the transportation system and culture of American cities and towns: Joyride: Pedaling Toward a Healthier Planet.
In the book she relates personal stories and struggles of her several decades experience convincing first herself, then bureaucrats, planners, engineers, and the public at large (including her own family) that bicycling is not just kids stuff. The stories are inspirational; relating both tiny and big steps forward through the morass of politics and public opinion.
Portland is the setting for many of her stories, as Birk was the Bicycle Program Manager for the city from 1993-1999. Portland’s bicycle culture and infrastructure are now regarded as shining examples of what is possible in American cities. One wonders where we would be now if it weren’t for Mia Birk’s work. Any one interested in Portland’s bicycling history and culture will enjoy this book. Activists and bicyclists from anywhere will enjoy the inspirational stories and possibly learn a thing or two about promoting bicycling in their own cities.
For a chance to win a copy of Joyride: Pedaling Toward a Healthier Planet, share one thing you like about bicycling in the comments below. On Friday, January 7 2011 at noon I will draw the name of one commenter randomly and send them a copy of the book for free!