Wednesday, May 23, 2012

We're Number ONE!

Having just returned from a dollop of delicious days in California and Oregon, I feel qualified to comment on the most recent ranking by the fine folks at Bicycle Friendly America. In their latest state-by-state ranking of best biking states, we came out on top. Washington was ranked number one. Normally this would be cause for celebration as it has been many years since we were ranked above our southern neighbors in almost anything.  If this was college football I would be bouncing off the moon. But it ain't. And I don't think we deserve it. True, we have come a long ways, but we have a long ways yet to go, and I honestly feel that the home of the Ducks, Beavers, Trojans and Bruins (and Bears and Cardinal) more completely fill my personal criteria of biking friendly states than does the hale and hearty home of the Huskies. OK, and Cougs, too.

Until we can match the majesty of the recently completed Amgen Tour of California, connect our coast seamlessly the way Oregon does, provide an inland 80 mile bike path, throw the book at distracted motorists and promote cycling better, we don't deserve the lofty ranking. Sorry.  Our own tiny municipality is perfect example of opportunity lost. A two year, billion dollar overhaul of downtown infrastructure left us worse off than before, cyclists still jockeying motorists for position, visibility and safety. All we got was a few stenciled icons tagging the street to announce that we are supposed to ride here, heading in the proper direction. OH REALLY? This alone is worth one of those 'code red' rectangles in the charts. 

I suppose I should be happy. After all we were ranked ahead of the above mentioned rival PAC 12 states, and WAY, WAY above traditional college football powerhouses like Alabama, Texas (where CompuTrainer and IM Texas are featured in this video from CBS) and Florida. 

Guess you get to decide what is important and what is not. Hint: In the good ol' days I used to ride my little Fuji Thrill to Husky Stadium to watch the Dawgs pommel the Ducks and Trojans. 

Some things change faster than others. Please be patient and ride safe. 

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