Jason Atkinson: Bikepartisan Politics

Contributing RP Jason Atkinson was recently featured in an article in the Portland Mercury entitled “Bikepartisan Politics.”  Enjoy this excerpt:

HERE ARE FIVE simple reasons why Jason Atkinson is more badass than you liberal dweebs: He’s an Oregon state senator. He’s a Republican. He’s a bike racer. He shaves his legs, which shows a profound sense of masculine confidence. And he once got shot by a gun while repairing a friend’s bike (there was a loaded gun in the saddlebag).

Now he’s (tentatively) back on two wheels after that 2008 accident—but even when he’s been kept off the roads, the Southern Oregon legislator has never quailed from a fight for bike rights statewide.

Senator Atkinson jumped into the absurd 2007 debate over requiring extra brakes on fixed gears and, more recently, tried to boost bike funding from its measly one percent of the state transportation budget.

MERCURY: How does bike advocacy jibe with your Republican ideals?

JASON ATKINSON: I fell in love with bicycles when I was a kid, long before I knew what Republicans or Democrats were. I was lucky in that I had a modest amount of talent in racing bikes, which took me all over the world to race. When I got into politics, I didn’t see bikes as a partisan thing at all. I’ve been very supportive of everything from velodromes for economic development to jumping into the middle of the fixie debate a few years ago. I think people don’t really understand what bicycle culture is.

What do your colleagues get wrong about bike culture?

Well, like, when we got around to doing the fixie bill, no one knew what a fixie was. I don’t think a lot of folks have a full grasp of the health benefits of biking. I’m not going to pick on my fellow politicians on either side of the aisle. If you ride a bike, you get it. If you don’t, you usually don’t.

Click here to read the full article.


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