I fell in love with bicycling in 1990 while attending graduate school in Washington DC. Having grown up in suburban Dallas Texas, I was used to driving everywhere. Informed that there was no parking available near my school, I borrowed my brother’s 10 speed Schwinn. Within a few weeks, I was in the best shape of my life, and a lifelong love affair had begun. Since then, I have been a dedicated bicyclist for recreation, touring, exercise, and daily utilitarian trips. I have three children – and see bicycling as a win-win strategy for maintaining my family’s health, safety, budget, and community connection.
My career has included:
Investing in bicycling and walking infrastructure and promotion is a win-win strategy!
Mia Birk has spent her entire career creating active communities where bicycling and walking are safe, healthy, fun, and normal daily activities. She is President of Alta Planning + Design and Principal at Alta Bicycle Share, Inc. She is the author of Joyride: Pedaling Toward a Healthier Planet, which tells the dramatic and enlightening behind-the-scenes story of how a group of determined visionaries transformed Portland into a cycling mecca and inspired the nation. She has been at the forefront of numerous groundbreaking studies and organizations, and was a co-founder of Portland State University’s Initiative for Bicycle and Pedestrian Innovation and the Cities for Cycling Project and Urban Bikeway Design Guide of the National Association of City Transportation Officials.
Mia lives and rides with her three children in Portland, Oregon, where she was Bicycle Program Manager from 1993-1999. See www.miabirk.com for more information.
50 Keys to Transforming Communities and Empowering People, One Pedal Stroke at at Time
President Mia Birk shares her "50 keys" for inspiring people and transforming communities, a summary of her hit book, Joyride. Read them here >
Joyride Second Edition Now Available!
Order the second edition of Joyride: Pedaling Toward a Healthier Planet
Joyride: Pedaling Toward a Healthier Planet tells the dramatic and enlightening behind-the-scenes story of how a group of determined visionaries transformed Portland into a cycling mecca and inspired the nation. Through a panoply of hilarious and poignant stories, Birk takes readers on a 20-year rollercoaster journey of global and local discovery and education, while bringing into sharp focus some of the planet’s most pressing and hotly debated energy and transportation issues, policies, shortcomings, and solutions.
After leading the Portland revolution, Birk hits the road, spreading her vision from the California suburbs to the Cascade foothills, the beaches, plains, large cities, small towns, ex-urbs, and the heartland of rural America.Careening towards big obstacles, getting scraped and bruised by political glaciers, she overcomes old ways of thinking and finds ways to make communities – even Dallas – more human, healthy, safe, and splendid.
While many books today extol the pain of our world’s traffic congestion, quality, and economic, safety, land-use, and health problems, Joyride is the antidote, offering hope to any and everyone interested in changing our world for the better, one pedal stroke at a time.
To order your copy of Joyride , visit www.miabirk.com Click here to download the full synopsis (PDF). Click to download Mia's publication and media resume (PDF).
Watch Mia Birk at TEDxPortland
Mia Birk - Pedaling Towards a Healthier Planet, April 30, 2011
- Portland (OR) Bicycle Master Plan, Platinum Update, and implementation of over 150 miles of bikeways
- Central Utah Valley Bicycle Plan
- Vancouver, B.C. Regional Bikeway Network
- Ada County (ID) Bicycle Master Plan
- AASHTO Guide for the Development of Bicycle Facilities
- Columbia (MO) Non-Motorized Pilot Project
- Katy Trail Uptown/Downtown Arts Loop (Dallas, TX)
- Los Angeles Bicycle Master Plan Update
- Portland (OR) Safe Routes to School Program
- Bozeman (MT) Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan
- Bremerton (WA) Non-Motorized Transportation Plan
- Wilsonville (OR) Bicycle, Pedestrian, and Trail Plan
- Sellwood Bridge (OR) Replacement Plan
- San Francisco (CA) Bicycle Master Plan Update and Shared Lane Marking Study
- Grand Junction Rail-with-Trail Master Plan (Cambridge, MA)
- Dundee (OR) Main Street Refinement Plan
- Rails-with-Trails: Lessons Learned – U.S. Dept. of Transportation
- Santa Barbara (CA) Pedestrian Master Plan
- Marin County (CA) Bicycle Master Plan
- Pasadena (TX) Greenbelt/Bayou Trails Master Plan
- Minnesota State Bicycle, Pedestrian, and Telework Plan
- Vancouver (WA) Bicycle, Pedestrian, and Trail Plans
- Plano (TX) Transit Village Veloweb
Recent Keynote Speeches
- Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition, Bike Summit, 2013
- Colorado Bike Summit, 2013
- ProWalk/ProBike, 2010
- Joyride to a More Livable Community, Minneapolis and St. Paul, 2009
- Vancouver, B.C. Bicycle Summit, 2009
- Alaska Bike and Parks Summit, 2009
- All About the Bike, City Club of Portland, 2009
- Oregon Bicycle Summit, 2007, 2006
- National Bike Summit, Washington, D.C., 2006