I grew up in Richland, a medium-sized city in Eastern Washington in an area known as the Tri-Cities due to the proximity of Richland, Pasco, and Kennewick. All told the area is home to approximately 190,000 people though you wouldn’t know it if the observation were based on cooperation between governments. The area is auto-dependent by any measure, but WalkScore gives Richland a score of 39, Kennewick a 41, and Pasco has spiraled to a 35 thanks to having plenty of farmland to sprawl over on the western side of town during the past 15 years. No matter what you think of WalkScore’s imperfections, it’s pretty unanimously considered that not having a car here is pretty crazy. Under less than ideal circumstances I went carless for about two months just after high school and never left Richland during that time. This is a long segue to get to the point: I grew up in the Pacific Northwest about a 2.5 hour drive from both Portland and Seattle and grew up loving my car.
It’s because I grew up there that I still pay attention to what’s going on in Seattle and Portland and try to contribute like anyone there cares what somebody living in Mesa, Arizona has to say. While my interest in Seattle sports, urban design, and public transportation in both cities has always been an interest of mine, bicycling has been on my radar only since 2010 when I began riding my bike regularly. Eventually since then I’ve latched on to Bike Portland and Seattle Bike Blog, from which this blog is inspired.
Before I get too far, I want to acknowledge that great work is being done in the Phoenix area by Tempe Bicycle Action Group, Phoenix Spokespeople, and the Coalition of Arizona Bicyclists. Arizona Bike Club, Pedal Craft, and The Bicycle Cellar also provide an outstanding presence from the bicycling community into the public consciousness. They’re led by established leaders much more outgoing and sociable than I am and deserve much credit for the improvements that have been made in the infrastructure and the public disposition toward cycling. Each of them have their own blog which I encourage you to check out.
What is lacking in the Phoenix area, and what Bike Portland and Seattle Bike Blog provide in their cities, is a consistent source of publicly accessible bike news and information. By providing a central location for news and information to flow through, we can expand the reach of our existing outstanding bicycle advocates and be heard as one much louder voice. That’s the void I look to fill with this blog. I will, by my nature, touch on pedestrian and transit issues from time to time, but the bulk of the content on here will be bicycle-related news. This is where I ask for your help!
I’m looking for people who would like to provide content for this site and contribute to making it a community asset. I will provide quite a bit of the content myself, but I don’t expect to be able to produce quality content on a daily basis. So I’m looking for a group of writers and researchers who would like to be involved, who have a desire to inspire a culture change in Phoenix and the surrounding area, and are willing to volunteer their time because I mean look, I’m starting this up on a free WordPress account, there’s no money here. Please e-mail me at PHXBikeBlog@gmail.com if you are interested in writing stories, covering public meetings/events, researching statistics, or providing visual content such as a logo, pictures, or info graphics. If there is any bicycling information that needs to be shared, please Tweet that information to me to share: @PHXBikeBlog.
Phoenix has the terrain and the weather that famous American cycling cities Seattle, Portland, and Minneapolis don’t have. There is no reason we can’t be a world-class bicycling city, and there’s no reason we should settle for anything less.