Celebrating 10 years of Seattle Bike Blog

Side-by-side photos of a person standing with a bicycle. The left is labeled 2010, the right is labeled 2020. In the right photo, a child is in a seat on the bike.In July 2010 at the midst of the Great Recession and with very little money in the bank, I quit my job to become an independent bike journalist.

I had no idea what I was doing. I had no idea how to run a business. I didn’t know anyone in bicycle advocacy. But I did have a background in journalism, which I used to track down people who did know what they were talking about so I could ask them questions.

Since then, I’ve published 3,572 posts, which averages out to about 1.3 posts per weekday. I’ve posted 40,600 tweets, which averages out to way too many per weekday.

A lot has changed since I started writing this site, both in Seattle and in my own personal life. When I started this site, people would have laughed you out of the room for suggesting that the city build a protected bike lane downtown. Also, I’m a dad now.

I am currently working on a book for UW Press about biking in Seattle, and it’s been fascinating to get out of the day-to-day contemporary coverage and try to look at the big picture. The movement for safe streets still loses all the time, most often in the form of funding (millions of local, state and federal tax dollars are spent on car stuff without anyone blinking an eye, but every dollar for walking and biking gets scrutinized and left exposed to budget cuts). But transportation culture has clearly shifted toward seeing walking, biking and transit as our city’s path forward. Culture and bureaucracy just take so long to change directions that when you’re on the ground in the moment, it doesn’t feel like they’re changing at all.

2020 is a major inflection point in our history. In some ways, the book I’m writing now feels like the conclusion chapter for an era of transportation history. By the time the book hits shelves (estimated 2022), it may describe a world that is in many ways unrecognizable. 2019 already feels a decade away. 2010 is ancient history. The way the city used to actively and purposefully prioritize car speed (“Level of Service”) over the safety of someone riding a bike or walking in a crosswalk feels as barbaric and archaic as bloodletting to balance a person’s humors.

The biking community in Seattle has also changed a lot. Most obviously, it has grown. And the vision has evolved to be more bold, ambitious and inclusive. And it feels like the next generation of biking leaders are finding their voices and innovating new ways that biking can be tools for direct action and community organizing for causes beyond biking itself. Biking has become more of a core piece of Seattle culture and less of a special interest. Changing a culture is so hard, and I know so many of you have poured enormous amounts of time and energy into shifting the way our city thinks about transportation and safe streets. Thank you.

Before the pandemic, I had lots of fun ideas for the blog’s tenth anniversary celebration. None of those are possible now, of course, because they all involved getting together with you all. I miss all those Seattle bike gatherings, planned and spontaneous, where I would get to see longtime readers and meet new ones. We will get to do that again someday.

Until then, thank you for supporting this work, thank you for being caring members of your community, and thank you for reading.

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7 Responses to Celebrating 10 years of Seattle Bike Blog

  1. Dennis D'Amico says:

    Hi Tom, this is my first comment even though I’ve been reading your blog for many years. I can’t believe it’s been 10 years. Thank you for all you do to advocate for safe streets in our city while keeping us informed along the way! -Dennis

  2. jacktomkinson says:

    Congratulations Tom on ten years of service to the biking community! Good luck with the book and your long term dad project. That’s an extraordinary picture. Looking forward to the book-launch blowout party! – Jack

  3. caphiller says:

    Amazing! Can’t wait to read your book.

  4. Kevin in Ballard says:

    Thanks for everything you have done for the cause of bicycling over this past decade. We wouldn’t be where we are without you! (and of course, the Missing Link is still not done.. :) ) – Kevin

    C’mon you long time readers, open your wallets and support Tom’s herculean efforts….

  5. dave says:

    Congrats on making it to 10 years Tom, and here’s to many more to come! I’m a long-time reader (including your work on the old CD neighborhood blog), infrequent commenter, and every-day bike commuter. Your work has been super valuable to the bike community — thank you so much for everything you do and I look forward to buying and reading your book!

  6. DOUG. says:

    Congratulations and thanks for all your work!

  7. Stephen M says:

    Congratulations and thank you for ten years(!) of bicycling journalism and advocacy. It’s hard to imagine Seattle’s bike culture without you and the Seattle Bike Blog.

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