Book Review [and Giveaway!]: Joyride – Pedaling Toward a Healthier Planet

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.

See Mia Birk talk about her book at Powell’s Books (1005 W Burnside) on Tuesday, January 4 2011 at 7:30pm!


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!


  1. I love the feeling of freedom that comes from bicycling. The bicycle is a wonderful machine that quietly amplifies human power and grants the rider freedom from slow walking, freedom from waiting powerlessly for the bus/train/car-traffic, and freedom to coast on low friction wheel bearings like a bird hovering on a current of wind. All of this freedom for the mere cost of health yielding exercise. Thats why I ride and love bicycling. :)

  2. Bicycling makes me feel free! Out in the air, in space! I love the way things look from a bicycle and I always see much more of the world traveling that way!

  3. Wow, Logan, that comment is a triumph. Makes me want to dust off my bike.

  4. What were the results of the give away? :) I’m guess Den Mother must have won? 😉

  5. Logan – Shoot, I forgot! Flipping a coin . . . heads you, tails Den Mother . . . heads – you win! I’ll bring the book along next time I see you.


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