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Mia Birk  

Mia Birk is Chief Executive Officer and Principal at the international firm Alta Planning and Design.

She has 20 years experience in sustainable transportation focused on pedestrian, bicycle, trail, and greenway planning, design and implementation. Mia is also an Adjunct Professor at Portland State University, where she co-founded the Initiative for Bicycle and Pedestrian Innovation in the College of Urban Studies.


Mia was the City of Portland Bicycle Program Manager from 1993-99. During that time, she led a period of rapid growth of Portland’s bikeway network. As a consultant, she has been involved in hundreds of bicycle, pedestrian, trail, and corridor plans across North America. She has also managed the public process, design and implementation of many new bikeways and walkways, as well as programs such as Safe Routes to School, bike-transit integration, bicycle and pedestrian-friendly development codes, and bikeway/walkway maintenance. She has led numerous groundbreaking studies in the field of non-motorized transportation and is a co-founder of the Cities for Cycling project of the National Association for City Transportation Officials and Association for Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals.


Mia lives and rides with her two children in Portland, Oregon.

Joyride: Pedaling Toward a Healthier Planet (Cadence Press, 2010) details Mia’s 20-year crusade to integrate bicycling into daily life. With a table scrap of funding, she led a revolution that turned Portland, OR into the 1 American cycling city. Through a panoply of hilarious and poignant stories, Birk takes readers on a 20-year rollercoaster journey of global 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 to the beaches, plains, large cities, small towns, ex-urbs, and 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 everyone interested in changing our world for the better, one pedal stroke at a time.

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