We’re calling it a landslide victory: The votes are in, the riders have spoken, and Denver is the champion of REI’s inaugural Cycling Town Showdown.
Our 8-city bracket tournament concluded Wednesday with the Mile High City positively dominating the championship voting round, topping Portland 1,334-337.
Thus Denver, benefitting from heaps of support from its active and enthusiastic biking community in every round of the tournament, is the clear leader of this peloton and claims REI’s first Showdown Crown.
Denver topped Portland 1,334-337 in the finals. (Chart: Chris Mahan)
Though ranked No. 14 in the 2012 edition of America’s Most Bike-Friendly Cities, an annual survey published by Bicycling magazine, Denver drew more votes than Washington, D.C. (No. 4 in Bicycling’s poll) in the first round, 396-255, outraced No. 2 Minneapolis in the semifinals, 1,348-1,120, and had to bump off No. 1-ranked Portland in the finals. Denver did so by nearly 1,000 votes.
Nice goin’, Denver.
What’s behind this groundswell of support? Clues are in the voter's comments, all viewable on REI's Facebook page. A few examples:
Robert: This city loves its bikes. For work or play, on road or off. And it's so much more than just this city, it's the entire state. I mean there's a bike path over Vail Pass!!
Justin: From my house on the south side of the Denver Metro area, I can ride a 67-mile loop which includes a stop at Chatfield Reservoir and the REI Flagship building downtown, all on bike path. No streets!!!
Caitlin: B-Cycle [the city's ambitious bike-share program], Denver Cruiser Ride, BikeDenver, USA Pro Cycling Challenge, Tour de Fat, Denver Bicycle Cafe, the Park Hill Bike Depot, Barnum Bike Park, sweet trails in town and access to many miles out of the city, one of the largest Bike to Work Days in the country, the cool cycle track at Civic Center Park, and more!
Nathan: Denver. Because my spring morning commute was just so lovely this morning.
Peter: Denver. You don't need fenders, just sunscreen.
Kevin: Denver. Portland has better salmon.
Miles: Go Denver—I'm getting on my bike right now!
Of course, Portland also drew some energetic support from its dedicated rider base:
Will: I have to vote PDX—even as a DEN resident—because I aspire to have the infrastructure and usage numbers that PDX has. Thanks for setting a good precedent, PDX!
Marc: Portlandia—no comparison. I've lived in both cities. Way more bike commuters, way more bike lanes, more bike-friendly all around.
Alissa: In 2011, 2.4% of Denver residents commuted by bike; 6.4% of Portlanders rode to commute to work.
Paul: Portland. World’s Largest Naked bike ride (10,000). First in the country with bike boxes. Zoobomb. Rush hour on the Hawthorne Bridge looks like the I-70 on a snow day. Except it’s all bikes. Portland should win in a landslide. Just because you can see the mountains doesn't mean you live in them.
Ezekiel: All this proves is Denver spends more time on Facebook than biking around town!
Patrick: Portland doesn't need a crown to know that it is the best cycling city...
Thanks to everyone who voted—and we bow to all the riders in other towns whose cities were not included in this tournament: Anchorage, Boulder, Eugene, Mad-Town in Wisconsin, Tucson, Boston, Philly, Pittsburgh, so many others. Every town is a winner, we figure, when you’re seeing it on 2 wheels.