Portland is Platinum
How did Portland earn Platinum? It has to do with the “five E’s”: Education, Encouragement, Engineering, Enforcement, and Evaluation & Planning. The Cityâ€™s application details the breadth and depth of the accomplishments that make Portland the most bicycle friendly city in the United States. But simply looking around the city on a rainy morning in January and seeing the diversity of bicycles coursing along bike lanes, paths, and boulevards gives a hint. Or hanging around the Community Cycling Center bike shop and observing the range of people who come in for repairs, advice, to use the tools, to sign up for a class, to volunteer, to buy a bike, or to simply see what’s going on. Biycling has worked its way onto our path toward sustainability and livability, and ultimately, that is what garnered our recognition as a Platinum Bicycle Friendly Community.
At the Community Cycling Center we are particularly proud of our contributions in the Education and Encouragement categories in Portland’s application to the League of American Bicyclists. We smiled every time we saw “Community Cycling Center” and the numerous mentions of our programs and events, which were detailed on six different pages in the application.
Bike Club, Create a Commuter, Get Lit, and Holiday Bike Drive all got mentions. Our programs are referenced because they work. Bike Club and Create a Commuter are delivered in collaboration with public schools and social service agencies and help low-income youth and adults learn bicycle safety as they earn their own bicycle, helmet, and lock. Our Get Lit program helps provide hundreds of bicycle lights to promote visibility benefitting both bicyclists and motorists. Holiday Bike Drive is an annual event where hundreds of children from low-income families experience the joy of choosing their first bicycle and learning basic bicycle safety with the help of hundreds of volunteers.
And we do so much more. In the years since the Community Cycling Center was founded, we have helped more than 10,000 low-income youth and adults earn a free bicycle while they developed the skills to ride safely to school and to work. In the process we diverted more than 150 tons of metal from local landfills. Today we also offer a range of bicycle safety classes, the best summer camp in town, a vibrant volunteer program, and we have become a vital component of the bicycle community. We look forward to helping Portland reach the next level â€“ beyond Platinum â€“ by continuing to diversify and expand our efforts. But for now, we will click on our helmets, pedal down the road, and look for new opportunities to broaden access to bicycling and its benefits.