Despite Cold, Portland’s New Mayor Biked to Work on First Day

Portland's new Mayor, Ted Wheeler, rode his bike to work Tuesday despite the 25 degree weather.
Starting the day off with a bike ride will put a smile on your face, even in 25 degree weather. Photo: Ted Wheeler via Twitter

People’s perspective on city streets is shaped by how they get around. So it’s very encouraging, writes Jonathan Maus at Bike Portland, that new mayor Ted Wheeler biked to work on his first day in office.

The best part, says Maus, is that Wheeler’s bike commute wasn’t a photo op:

Wheeler revealed on Twitter today (after being asked about it) that he rode his bike to work for his first day on the job. “This is Portland!” you might say, “That’s no big deal!” But consider this: When Wheeler left his home in the West Hills the mercury rose to only about 25 degrees. And there was a serious wind chill. And it was dark.

When we asked him how it went he said, “Cold, but the roads were dry and the stars were out.”

Riding a bike in an urban environment on a regular basis isn’t a pre-requisite for success as the leader of a major city; but it is certainly important. Given that nearly all policymakers have an automobile-centric perspective, it’s imperative that a non-driving worldview has a chance to work its way into our planning, policies, and priorities.

What we’re also reading today: Greater Greater Washington makes the case for “density” as a quality for cities to strive for. Streets.mn says Minneapolis needs a better approach to keep sidewalks safe and clearing after snow emergencies. And The Urban Edge highlights a new report that recommends a steady base of state support for Atlanta’s transit system.

  • Baloo Uriza

    Tulsa’s rode to the inauguration back on December 5 as well, but you don’t hear us gassing on about it.

  • thielges

    Life imitates art: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Portlandia_characters (the mayor character was often portrayed as cycling to the office).

    Up until recently San Francisco had an ardent transit rider on the city council and he was a great booster for transit.

  • Corvus Corax

    I get that. But maybe you should be trumpeting it – not for showing off, but to let those who think that a bicycle is not a serious mode of transportation see that their idea is erroneous. You may not make much headway, as they are so sure that cars are their only viable option, but who knows when a seed of doubt may take root. My congratulations to Tulsa’s mayor! And to Portland’s. And boos and hisses to our mayor here in SF who wouldn’t know a bicycle if he fell over one.

  • Baloo Uriza

    Or Oklahomans just expect to see something other than cars on their streets and are capable of sharing the roads with pedestrians, horses and bicycles without needing a gold star for it.

  • Guy Ross

    Oklahoma is 25 for the rate of pedestrian deaths in the nation. No gold star indeed.

    Couldn’t get any data on horse collisions but I assume it is quite high as well.

  • Corvus Corax

    Bring some of that here!

  • laldm109

    Tulsa should be marketing the heck out of that because, having lived in Tulsa, just seeing someone on a bicycle (aside from along the Riverparks) is quite the novelty. Tulsa has a LONG way to go (for example, I’ve never seen a bike lane on a street there) but it’s great to hear there is movement.

  • Corvus Corax

    Good one. I had suspected a bit of over-zealous civic pride was going on, but was too tired – ok, lazy – to check the facts. But I appreciate your doing it.

  • Baloo Uriza

    To be fair, we’re also number 1 for blind, disabled veterans in the nation, and Portland Police generally don’t even file a report if they can sweep it under the rug. Bad for their numbers.

  • Frank Kotter

    Source? Context? Relevance?

  • This is cool but it’s baby step. He should try bicycling thru a Drive thru & see how that feels to be denied service!

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