Thursday, April 07, 2011

Our mayor in Spandex?

Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx, at his regular news briefing Thursday, mentioned that he's been teaching his kids, 6 and 4, to ride bikes and said he went out and bought himself a road bike, the kind with toe clips that he's still learning how to use.

The last few days, he said, "I've gone out at 5:30 in the morning and gone down to the Little Sugar Creek Greenway." He talked about wanting to make the city friendlier to bicycling.

All of which leaves the obvious question, which yours truly was the only journalist in the room willing to ask: "So, are you wearing Spandex?"

Foxx: "I'm not answering that."

Which I think means he must be.

So, dear readers, if anyone wants to volunteer to be a citizen journalist and go down on the greenway at – as my friend Brenda would say, "O-dark-thirty" – and try for a mayoral Spandex sighting, please let me know what you discover.


Anonymous said...

Slow news day?

Anonymous said...

This is not funny. I can't even believe you deigned to write this. Think about the potential unintended consequences. I am really disappointed in you today.

Mary Newsom said...

Slow news is right. You have no idea! He also said -- drumroll please - "We are looking forward to the Democratic National Convention."

We are not breaking out the big headline type for that one, either.

William said...

Well, any DNC news is big news for this <a href="></a> creator!

Anonymous said...

OK; I'll bite...

I think it's fantastic that Mayor Foxx is riding a bike; not only is it good exercize, but it's a wonderful way for the Mayor to experience the city he leads--the good and the perhaps not-so-good.

I ride that Greenway a lot as well, going from uptown where I work to the "Booty Loop" where I can get in some relatively safe and certainly beautiful miles in at lunch. It's always nice to see others out there, and to ride along the wonderful public amenity we taxpayers have built.

I'm also glad the Mayor is publicly out-in-front on this issue...he's not making a huge thing of it, choosing to highlight his teaching of his kids to ride (I have a 7-year old who's doing the same); he's also leading the Annual Mayor's Ride on May 26th, designed to bring attention to bicycling's benefits, no matter what type of bike you might ride or where you ride it...or what you wear when riding. This positive highlighting of what bikes are for, and what they can do for you, is much more appropriate that some of what we've heard and read in the past year from at least one local "media" member, who chose to both make light of the danger and even fan the cynical flames of car-versus-bike antagonism.

So, Mary, it might have been a slow news day; but that's what this kind of light news is for. I'm glad you posted it on your blog, and I think it highlights the personality of the Mayor, and his willingness to step out front of a public issue in a lighthanded and humorous way...and you reported it as such. Thanks.

Michael said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Cato said...

A bit off-topic but anyway:

I've wondered if there might not be a way to both encourage more cycling while mitigating the safety and congestion issues that cycling on main roads during rush hour causes.

There has been some discussion of how to increase connectivity between neighborhoods, particularly in the suburbs. This is usually considered as being auto-oriented as a means of giving cars more than one route. But what if connectivity were increased, but only done in such a way as to allow bikes (or pedestrians) through the connectors?

Bikers would have a safer (albeit perhaps longer) alternative to being on the main roads and drivers wouldn't be gnashing their teeth at them. It'd probably be cheaper than building auto-capable-thruways, too.

Just a thought.

Mary Newsom said...

A note to answer some questions raised by "Ghoul" - whose comment I didn't post because it was insulting:

I monitor comments posted to this blog. Nothing is posted if I don't approve it. That has, by the way, cut down on a lot of the mean, insulting and nutty commentary, so thanks to all the good folks who maintain civility, even in disagreement.

The comments that show up at the end of news articles and content (other than some of the blogs like this one, which the writers monitor) are on a different platform, and are monitored by the Observer's online desk. I don't have access to them, other than flagging the online desk when I see offensive comments.

I don't know which article drew the comments you mentioned, or why one offensive one was left up and another taken down. The online desk is not staffed 24/7, and when the editors there get extremely busy with breaking news, the comment-monitoring can necessarily take a back seat.That may have played a role.

Anonymous said...

When we lived in Overland Park, Kansas, (suburb of Kansas City Missouri), we found many connectors like you suggest--for bikes and pedestrians only. My kids (and I) could safely bike or walk to elementary, middle, and high school, to the local sports fields, and to a nearby park. It was wonderful. I don't know if it cut down on congestion but it certainly made for a pleasant way to live. Of course, schools there were built with the intent that kids would be attending their nearest school and that there was nothing wrong with that. That concept might not fly with everyone here.