Bike Wars: Portland beats Minneapolis


Bike Wars

After reigning as's Best Bike City for 15 years, Portland ceded the title to Minneapolis two years ago.

Though's methodology is pretty fuzzy, the news prompted wailing and gnashing of teeth in PDX, including a column from Bike Portland that attempted to come to terms with why Minneapolis usurped the Best Bike City throne.

This week, released a new version of its biannual list, and suffice it to say Portlandians can breathe easy once again — their burg again rates as the Best Bike City. claims that "to determine our top 50 bike-friendly cities for 2012, we evaluated cities with populations of 95,000 or more, using data provided by the Alliance for Biking and Walking and the League of American Bicyclists, as well as input from local advocates and bike-ped coordinators."

But the rankings aren't correlated with any sort of quantitative score, and editors cite no specific reason for elevating Portland above now-second place Minneapolis. Sounds fishy, right?

No matter. Portland is inordinately proud of its top rating: Mayor Sam Adams said he's "honored," and Rob Sadowsky, executive director of the city's Bicycle Transportation Alliance, said Portland is "back on top where we belong." A Bike Portland blogger tweeted that he's glad "came to their senses," adding "it really was scandalous to put any other city on top."

Enjoy the throne while you can, Portland. Because two years from now, if the editors feel like throwing us a bone after snubbing us for apparently no reason this time around, we'll be back on top.

Health Nuts

The Twin Cities successfully defended our championship as the most healthy and fit metro in the land, says the American College of Sports Medicine in its 2012 American Fitness Index.

Researchers examined dozens of "personal" and "community" health indicators, including diet, exercise, smoking, chronic disease rates, availability of parks and athletic fields, school policies regarding physical education, access to health care — even the percentage of residents who bike or walk to work. And for the second straight year, MSP topped the list.

The Twin Cities ended up with 19 "Areas of Excellence," compared to just four "Improvement Priority Areas," including a low percentage of folks eating enough fruits and veggies, high asthma rates, relatively few acres of parkland per capita, and relatively few swimming pools per capita. Hey, nobody's perfect, right?

MSP edged out second-place Washington, D.C., with Boston, San Francisco, and Hartford rounding out the top five. The five least-healthy metros are Birmingham, Dallas, Louisville, Detroit, and last-place Oklahoma City.

Sober Cities

Minneapolis is one of the 10 best cities in the country to get and stay sober, according to a new list published by the Fix, a website that describes itself as "the world's leading website about addiction and recovery."

As the Fix's May Wilkerson notes while introducing the list, "'Pulling a geographic' in early sobriety is generally discouraged, but if you're looking to leave behind people, places, and things, [we recommend] lighting out for these American cities — each with its own unique recovery community."

Wilkerson characterizes Minnesota as the "Land of 1,000 Treatment Centers" in explaining why Minneapolis made the list.

Other cities on the apparently unranked list include Boston; Delray Beach, Florida; Houston; Los Angeles; Nashville; New York City; Portland, Oregon; Precott, Arizona; and San Francisco.

You know what's shocking? No cities from beer-loving Wisconsin cracked the list.

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