Cannon Beach’s Mike Stanley was a pioneer
The story of Mike Stanley, who is planning to sell his iconic Mike’s Bike Shop in Cannon Beach, offers interesting insights into the expansion of bicycling into the mainstream of transportation and recreation on the North Coast.
Stanley was a true pioneer, bicycling the coast and in Europe before opening his store in July 1974. As described in a recent story in the Cannon Beach Gazette and The Daily Astorian, Stanley participated in several of the 20th century’s pivotal developments in Pacific Northwest cycling. When mountain bikes enticed many adults to revisit the concept of pedaling for fun and exercise, Stanley was around both to sell bikes and in 1994 help organize the first mountain bike race on the Oregon coast.
As one of the few full-service sales and repair facilities on the coast in the early days, Mike’s Bike Shop became a kind of base camp for many of the thousands of cyclists who made lifetime memories by exploring the Oregon coastal highway. His sense of customer service has been an important element of Cannon Beach’s business culture for four decades, inspiring others to try their hand at bicycle marketing throughout the county and region.
Grist magazine last week published an analysis of “reasons why Portland became a cyclists’ utopia” (tinyurl.com/o9alht4), making points that apply to the coast while also indicating ways in which other Oregon communities can also improve their “bicycle friendliness.”
In the most recent Coast Weekend, there is good article from Matt Love about bicycling down U.S. 101. It deals mostly with those from other places who wind up here, but is good information for all cyclists. See it at tinyurl.com/oregonbking
A lot of Portland’s success as a cycling center comes down to following through and making appropriate use of “bike bill” funds authorized by Gov. Tom McCall and the Legislature in 1971. This requirement that 1 percent of highway funds go to making new infrastructure accessible to cyclists and pedestrians wasn’t always well utilized by all Oregon communities. But in Portland, city commissioners and then-transportation commissioner (now congressman) Earl Blumenauer made sure the Bike Bill was enforced. Portland politicians were themselves devoted cyclists who took a personal interest in pushing “forward bike plans that are actually useful to regular, day-to-day riders,” Grist reports.
Perhaps the key reason Portland is so welcoming of bicycles is that cycling advocates routinely show up at city meetings in force. “Show up at city council. Just keep on showing up. Your elected officials need to know, and need to understand, that there’s a lot of support for these things,” former Portland Mayor Sam Adams said.
Suffering as many pedestrian versus vehicle accidents as we do here, we can definitely stand to learn some of Portland’s tricks in terms of separating motor vehicles from other modes of transportation. Portland had zero bike deaths last year. Astoria’s Riverwalk provides this separation and an easy means of getting from one end of town to the other. We should continue seeking ways to expand it, while looking for additional opportunities elsewhere in the city and Clatsop County.