Announcing the SDCBC Joyride with Mia Birk

Mia Birk, the former Bicycle Program Manager for the city of Portland, will be coming to San Diego in two weeks to help the San Diego County Bicycle Coalition (SDCBC) celebrate 2011 and share her stories of success and the challenges she faced. For more details on how you can meet Birk and partake in the festivities, keep reading.

I had an opportunity to speak with Mia Birk briefly over the phone recently and I had questions about her journey so far and whether she had any words of wisdom for San Diego.

My initial question was about what it took for a city such as San Diego to transform itself into one that would be more bicycle friendly. Birk responded that in order to become a city that would be friendly to cyclists, a city had to have three key ingredients:
1. A strong staff at the city level that is committed to making bicycling in San Diego better
2. The political will. Portland had a champion in Earl Blumenauer from the beginning which was tremendously helpful in making a huge impact
3. A strong advocacy front willing to support the government in its efforts.

I then asked whether she thought San Diego could become a bicycling mecca and Birk said that San Diego had incredible potential to be a great city for its cyclists. To start, she mentioned our year-round great weather and our strong recreational cycling population. Birk continued that the hardest decision that we as citizens needed to make would be to reconsider how the space on our roads are currently being used. She said that a good bike coordinator could go very far in making the city that its cyclists could be proud of.

When I asked about how challenging the process was to get Portland started on the road to a more equitable city for all its transportation users, Birk responded that the process was “really, really hard”. The idea that the streets belonged to cyclists wasn’t an idea that was welcomed warmly. But over the years, she’s learned that adopting and implementing innovative methods to allow cyclists to move through the city has made a tremendous difference.

Finally I asked if Birk had a message for San Diego’s cyclists and advocates and she responded that she had a lot of hope for San Diego. San Diego, she believes, has a lot of potential. Primarily due to the city’s incredible beauty, San Diegans are already used to being outside, so tapping into that existing behavior and cultivating it was going to be the key challenge.

If you would like to meet Mia Birk and learn about her story in how she transformed Portland, do join SDCBC’s members and friends in celebrating 2011.

The SDCBC will be hosting an annual meeting and a special holiday event with Portland’s former Bicycle Program Manager, Mia Birk, who transformed Portland into a bicycling haven. Today, Portland has established itself as a leader in redefining what a city that adopts an equitable transportation system looks like.

To celebrate the year, the SDCBC is inviting SDCBC members and friends to attend this Annual Meeting and Special Holiday Event.

Annual Meeting and Special Holiday Joyride
Wednesday, December 14th
4 – 7 p.m.
Mission Brewery
1441 L Street San Diego, CA 92101


Come meet special guest, Mia Birk, Portland’s former Bicycle Program Manager, and hear her inspirational story about transforming the city into a cycling empire. Then, join SDCBC for a downtown lighted bike ride, celebratory reception and raffle at Mission Brewery.

Join the evening festivities and hear all about SDCBC successes from 2011 and plans for 2012!

Member Cost: $10

Click here to purchase

Fee includes light appetizers and one free drink.

Non-member Cost: $15

Click here to purchase

Fee includes light appetizers and one free drink. 

Sign up requested by Tuesday, December 8th.

For questions, please contact Mariel Berry, Development Coordinator, at 858.248.0664 or


Annual Meeting and Joyride Flier