Anyone watching this year’s NCAA basketball tournament can tell you that rankings mean nothing. This year, all four number one seeds have been sent packing by lower ranked teams.
How is this relevant to Twin Cities cycling?
As all of you are aware, last year Minneapolis was named the #1 cycling city in the United States by the oh-so-wise editors of bicycling magazine. This shook the people of Portland to the core, because honestly, what else do they have going for them? This also put a target on our back because Portland is looking to re-take the lead.
Let’s take a look at a few of the big things that the City of Minneapolis added to its resumé since last year’s announcement (which happened in early April).
1) Successful launch of Nice Ride MN. Can you believe that Minneapolis was named #1 even before Nice Ride was up and running full-tilt. Since last year’s successful launch Nice Ride has been held up as the example of what is possible for bicycle sharing programs in the United States, that has to be worth something.
2) City of Minneapolis named bicycle friendly business (PDF Link). Yes, we know that the community of Portland is Platinum, while Minneapolis is lowly Silver, but as a business, the City of Minneapolis made the list… City of Portland?
So what has Portland been doing to keep up?
1) Claimed #1 in a report from the U.S. Department of Transportation. This report hit last week and caused Portlanders to crow, and at least one Minneapolis publication to declare that the “Golden Gear Era” is over. But not so fast. A closer look at the actual report (PDF Link) doesn’t really reach one grand conclusion like Oregon Live would like you to believe. In fact, the narrow study, which only looked at six cities, was geared more towards pointing out why New York does not excel at promoting cycling like other cities. Oregon Live takes one quote from one small section of the study, which isn’t even located within the “Conclusion” section. By the same token we could say that the paper named Minneapolis #1 (for availability of bike parking)! Another area where Portland leads? The number of cycling commuters. This looks at year round cycling numbers, all that we have to say about that is the lowest ever recorded temperature in the city of Portland? Minus three degrees, pfft, here in Minneapolis we call that Spring.
2) Claimed drafting the top cycling blogger. In a matter of hours, the city of Portland was abuzz with the prospect that cycling blogger BikeSnobNYC might become BikeSnobPDX. He has now reported that his consciousness has moved but his body remains in NYC (with tongue firmly planted in cheek).
As you can see, Minneapolis should clearly remain in the top spot, war over.
Hopefully everyone will take this for what it is, just some friendly jabs at our friends in Minneapolis west (Portland). Honestly, the idea that you could objectively compare cycling cultures across multiple cities and declare a “winner” is ridiculous, but the fact that it might cause more people to pay attention to cycling, awesome.