|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|