Paul Andrews

Mayor McGinn wouldn’t ride like Nickels drives

In Bicycle Commuting, Obama Bikes on September 22, 2009 at 4:43 am

The Stranger: Analyzing how “Bikin’ Mike” McGinn, the mayoral candidate who actually commutes downtown by bike each day, might cope with a traditional mayoral schedule.

Interesting take, but in using existing mayor Greg Nickels’ car-biased schedule as a model, the article assumes McGinn would adopt a similar approach to his official calendar. Anyone who rides a bike for work knows and understands that cycling demands an entirely different mindset to daily travel. Not necessarily a more limited or truncated schedule, just a more efficient one.

A lot of the PR-type, ceremonial appearances Nickels makes are on his schedule simply because car transport allows them to be. Do you have to be in Georgetown and the University District over the noon hour? McGinn would choose one or the other, or neither, based on how necessary they really were. When it comes to the daily planner, the prospect of turning pedals to get places tends to focus the mind. Awards dinners? Going-away parties? Transportation seminars? Some would make the cut, others wouldn’t.

And the city would be better off for it. A mayor who acted more than he gabbed, who spent time on the job solving problems rather than running around trying to be liked, and who showed up at events based on an honest and efficient (and cheap!) transportation decision matrix, would mean a lot more to the city than a glad-hander who showed up just for show, mouthed a few platitudes and seldom delivered the goods.

Finally, what’s the big deal about 25 miles on a bike in a day? For experienced cyclists, that’s a piece o’ cake . . .

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