Sunday, June 19, 2011

It's "Good" Money

The business of bicycles is good these days. In more ways than one. Too bad a lot of folks just don't get it. Happily, many do. Hopefully, the more things like what is  going on in Portland, Oregon, and elsewhere happen, the more the folks out there will switch from "not getting it", to supporting bicycles and the business they can generate.

Chris De Stefano speaking at the Bicycles Mean Business event
Portland, Oregon: Here we have a great example of what bicycles can bring to the table economically. Portland is taking the bicycle and promoting it in an economic way to any who will listen. And by the sounds of what my friend, Chris De Stefano, is saying, more folks might benefit from listening. Here is some of what Chris shared with me regarding what is going on in Portland:

"Added together, Portland bicycle-related business adds up to $100 million in annual sales while providing over 1500 jobs. (We added our 88th employee the Monday following the BMB presentation)"

- Note: The "we" that Chris refers to is Chris King Precision Components and Cielo Cycles-

"Even more wonderful, there are nearly 4000 bike races, events, or scheduled rides in Portland per year. Bikes mean more and more business in Portland."

Portland is not the only place things like this are happening. The Mid-West, East Coast, and other places in the U.S. are also beginning to, or are already enjoying, the economic impact of manufacturing, distribution, and support of the bicycling industry on many levels. More places in the U.S. could be doing the same.

And we're not even touching upon the normally touted benefits to communities, like better overall health, happiness, and environmental impacts that cycling brings.

Chris King (L) and U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer (R)
Everyone Can Get In On The Act: So, you say you are not into business? Okay, well what would you say to getting some money back from your employer just because you commute to work by bicycle? Sound good?

Well, enter 3rd Congressional District Representative, Earl Blumenauer, who is working with like-minded lawmakers to increase the amount of money that employers could give to employees who use alternate forms of transportation to get to work, such as carpooling, taking the metro bus/train, or bicycling. Under this bill, commuters who use alternative transportation would have the same incentives currently provide to those who commute by car.
Economic benefits for employers, employees, and for communities are waiting for those that embrace the bicycle. I know that in the communities I live in, (Waterloo, Cedar Falls, and surrounding area), the bicycle has brought in a marked increase in tourism, commuting, and use of bicycles for recreational purposes. Money spent in local businesses has been increased by this activity. Much of that influenced by the investment into the local trail network. It's extra money that wouldn't be here if the trails didn't exist. 
Do you want to say no to extra money, health benefits, and "clean" transportation alternatives? Go ahead and ignore the bicycle. However; I don't think that would be a very wise course. 

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