Another mayor gets stuck in his toe clips.
Another fair city has lost a bike-enthusiast mayor.
Adrian Fenty lost his seat as mayor of Washington, D.C., to D.C. Council Chairman Vince Gray. Like soon-to-be-former-mayor of Chicago, Richard M. Daley, Fenty is big into cycling, and Washingtonians know it. When I lived in D.C., I was always hearing about the mayor going on rides around the District.
In fact, Fenty takes Daley’s weekend rides to the next level.
According to a July 31, 2008 story in The Washington Post:
Fenty is known for participating in competitive road races and triathlons. He runs several days a week before work, and he spends two hours cycling or swimming twice a week at lunchtime. His cycling course, which can be as far as 35 miles round trip, usually takes him through Rock Creek Park and around Hains Point.
Don’t think a mayor’s cycling habits are newsworthy? Think some more.
During Fenty’s four-year reign, D.C. implemented its SmartBike bike-share program—if I’m not mistaken, one of only three such programs in the world! (The only other bike-share programs I’ve come across in my research are Paris Vélib’ and Denver B-Cycle.) I suspect the District’s cycling mayor played at least some role in this advancement.
The image of a mayor on a bike is a powerful one.
Whether it’s your president, your mayor, or your mother, their actions matter to you. You watch what they do and determine your own behavior accordingly—whether it’s to align with them or to rebel against them, depending on your views.
I remember once in D.C., the big city news of the day was that Fenty had gotten in bike accident right near the Key Bridge in Georgetown.
From his home, where he spent a day or two recovering, Fenty had this message for his constituents:
“Tell them I fall off all the time. It’s no big deal.”
I guess we’d probably try not to align ourselves with this particular behavior, but you get my point.