Seattle Isn’t Number One

I appreciate a good rant as that writing form has been lost with blogging’s decline, so linking today to the Stranger’s article about how wrong Bicycling is about cycling in Seattle.

I agree they are dead wrong.

Seattle is the best city in America to ride a bicycle in, according to no one ever in the history of Seattle until the editors of Bicycling Magazine airdropped in this week to give us that proclamation.

That’s because ranking us number 1 makes the jobs of advocacy groups harder. Come budget time, politicians will tout the affirmation and respond with, “Our work is done here.”

Also, Seattle’s bike advocacy community is so bound to corporate sponsorship PR has become more important than product, the actual infrastructure v. indications and promises of it. The effectiveness as a representative of the bicycling community is hamstrung by their dependence on the revenues of corporations who are very sensitive to PR.

We’ll beat Copenhagen by 2020, right?

Hardly.

To her credit, AC Shilton wrote 8K words with photos about Seattle, and most are glorious. I just can’t think of anyone but her and the editors of Bicycling that think we’re the best bike city in America.

Maybe next year it’ll be Portland.

Seattle ticks all the boxes on cyclists’ wish lists. Scratch that, the Emerald City doesn’t check the boxes, it crushes them. Crazy smart infrastructure? Definitely—you can ride a protected bike lane from the Space Needle nearly two miles to Pioneer Square, with features like bike-specific traffic lights to make your cruise even safer. The most passionate bike advocates in the country? Absolutely—elected leaders have actually taken DOT staffers to task for not building lanes fast enough. An awesome community? Of course—there are thousands of events throughout the city designed to satisfy any inclination a rider could have.