Friday, July 17, 2009

Pedaling Revolution

Book cover: A cyclist waving a huge red flag....(Bicyclists really are up to something!)

Book Title: Pedaling Revolution

Book sub-title (today all books have sub-titles):
How Cyclists are Changing American Cities.

Author: Jeff Mapes, senior political correspondent for The Oregonian in Portland

Cover art: David Drummond

Disclosure: I hope this artist designs my book cover.
Full disclosure: I may get a book contract with this same publisher.

I haven't read many "bike culture" books; actually this is my
first and I'm glad I started with it. The author combines an intriguing mix of reports on making our cities more interesting and livable along with doses of bicycling history and advocacy. He also helps us dream about how things could be someday in San Francisco with accounts of walking and bicycling safely in Amsterdam, New York, Davis, and Portland.

When he's not bicycling, Mapes makes a living by reporting on politics in Portland and beyond. He has a good eye for the quirks and inconsistencies in policy making, and he describes well the interplay of interests when something like a new bike lane is proposed.

My friends in Portland complain about the endless rounds of meetings and hearings required to get anything done in the city. (San Francisco doesn't have a monopoly on this?) So how does Portland move through that tortuous process and still reach the Platinum level -- the very highest pinnacle -- for Bicycle Friendly Community? Mapes gives an insider view.

Mapes recently appeared in San Francisco before a SRO audience at Green Arcade Bookstore to read from Pedaling Revolution. There's a lot of buzz about this book, especially after David Byrne reviewed it for the New York Times.

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