Friday, September 28, 2012

Pedal Craft Volume 2: Phoenix, We CAN do MORE


Mayor Greg Stanton spoke, announced that Phoenix intends to implement a bike share program

Sometimes, commuting by bicycle in the Valley of the Sun seems like a solitary and uncertain affair, surrounded by vehicles with dark tinted windows approaching the boiling point above the broiling asphalt, with countless single-occupant SUVs filling the roads and emitting fumes. I typically encounter fairly decent drivers here, as long as I make eye contact and signal my intent clearly. We get along OK. But there's a lot more of them out there than there are of me, moving a lot faster than I am (usually, any way), and whether by their actions, or their words, it's clear that they don't understand what exactly I'm doing out there, you  know, riding my bicycle on the streets of this city.

Tonight at Pedal Craft Volume 2 at Kitchen Sink Studios in Phoenix, though, the feeling was entirely different. There, I was surrounded by cyclists who by all appearances love riding in this city, who do understand riding these streets. The free beer may have had something to do with their jovial spirit, I don't know. The mayor spoke, and announced the intention to send out a request for proposals for a bike share program in the city, then left the stage and mingled with the crowd. I stopped to talk with him for a few minutes, and the sense I got from him is that he sincerely wants to do more to make Phoenix a more walkable and bikable city, and to educate drivers about cyclists and cycling.

Then I talked with the city Bicycle Coordinator, Joseph Perez, about the bike share for a bit more, and he also gave a very strong sense of wanting to do more to make bicycles more welcome, and more used, here. Joseph talked about the possibility of making an easy connection between the Light Rail and bike share, which makes a lot of sense.

With this crowd of confident, enthusiastic cyclists at Pedal Craft, the feeling that we CAN do more was strong.

I am a little miffed that I didn't catch any of the free stuff that was tossed from the stage by the Bike Cellar's John Romero, but maybe next time.  

Posters posters posters!

Racks. I kind of need/want one, but of course I wanted the $3500 gear fish



Not sure what the neighbors would think, but my bike would just look SO RIGHT locked up to this

The mayor rode up on this, and mingled with the crowd

I was impressed by this young bike maker from Tempe, where he builds Boogood bamboo bikes

Grant Petersen holding forth on the negative influences that bike racing has had on non-race riding

I rode my bicycle about 30 miles today through these streets. I ended the day getting an autograph from Grant Petersen, then riding across town through the electric Friday night. On Third Street, I happened to pass one of the organized Pedal Craft rides heading back south, and they were something to see: what looked to me like an immense number of cyclists with twinkling lights and tingling bells riding along, with someone playing the song "Firework". It was so strange and wonderful to see a crowd of cyclists riding on that street together, happy and having fun on their bikes. That's the other side of cycling in Phoenix, the opposite one from acres of SUVs broiling on the endless pavement and filling immense parking lots: the human-powered crowd, rolling along, celebrating the cool night together.  

Thank you Grant, and Pedal Craft, I believe I will Just Ride

4 comments:

  1. Great summary. You apparently got there early enough to get some daylight pictures and stayed up late enough to post about it the same day it happened. I'm impressed.

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    1. Thanks David. Then it was up at dawn on Saturday for the UMOM charity walk at the zoo. The DJs had to turn down the music because the Pat Benatar was scaring the giraffes. It was a strange moment.

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  2. Hey, thanks for the info. We are too small a community to get Grant Petersen here so I'm glad you got his autograph. He's one of my heros. I noticed a pink Miyata Mixte in the photos...Hmmm. I'd like one of those huge sprocket sculptures on my front lawn, neighbors be damned!

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    1. anniebikes, Grant gave me a tip on the greatness of Bic Cristal 1.6 pens. I'm always looking for a good pen, and these just might be the One.

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