Can Bend be fairly deemed Bike Town, USA? We're competitive for the title of Beer Town and Subaru capital of the world...but Bike Town?
Surely, Madison, Wisconsin—consistently ranked among the nation's most bike-friendly cities—would contest. And, Bicycling Magazine has named Minneapolis as the #1 Bike City in America—a title taken away from Portland, that boasts a remarkable 6.1 percent work commuter rate, the highest among large cities in the country, according to the Census Bureau.
But what sets Bend apart from those cities is the diverse and unique bike communities; not just a dedicated crew of commuters, but a critical mass of recreational bikers and an astonishing 17 well-supported bike shops. Bikes have pedaled their way not only into Bend's lifestyle, but into its economy.
Bike Godfathers like Bob Woodward, Gary Bonacker, and a crew loyal crew of innovators helped boost mountain biking off the ground in the late '70s and early '80s. Now, Central Oregon is home to more than 300 miles of continuously-linked single track mountain bike trails, and last year's addition of the Mount Bachelor Bike Park tops off Bend's mountain biking opportunities.
Moreover, events from the 35-year-old Cascade Cycling Classic, the nearly decade old Tour Des Chutes and the semi-rebellious yearly Fourth of July Freedom Ride that last year conservatively drew around 4,000 bikers, attract two-wheelers the nation over.
This year's Bike Issue takes a before and after approach to Bend's well-established and still fast-growing bike culture. Read up on transforming old bikes from rusty junk to commuter friendly, and then how to outfit yourself so you can transform from car to bike commuter. Hear from Bend's oldest bike shop on the "bike boom," and how it has affected our town. And read about the city's efforts to increase bike lane connectivity to make Bend an even more desirable destination for all bikers, cyclocrosser to commuter.
Bring it on Minneapolis, Madison and Portland! Bend is on the steady climb to the top of the list for Bike City, USA!