Sunday, December 16, 2012

Cycle Central Phoenix, Part III

City cyclists at CityScape.
I interrupted blogging this week to wrap up my semester projects.  Now, with the semester at last behind me, I sit down to continue my report on the middle leg of ;ast Saturday's Cycle Central Phoenix, a stop at downtown at Phoenix CityScape.

The vintage Dahon owner, unmasked!
First, I finally came face-to-face with the owner of the vintage red Dahon folding  bike that I see parked everywhere, an most recently up on a bike stand for repair at the Slippery Pig bike shop (someday I will ask the Slippery Pig guy about the oriins of the name since I don't see the bike connection).  He loves his Dahon, and as I've discovered, once you have a folding bike you are pretty much sold on having a folding bike.

Jeremy, that other Planner Guy.
The Planner Guy and I stopped and had a chat with another Planner Guy and Chair of the CoP Bicycle Initiatives Subcommittee, Jeremy Stapleton.  The cape he proudly wears is actually an Arizona state flag.

Tim, and stylish bike-riding companion - they rode a tandem.
I also met Momentum Magazine's Creative Director Jim Nissen, who, I believe, is a resident of very the  bike-friendly Tempe.  Jim gave me his card but his friend did not give me her card so I don't recall her name, but she was very nice and clearly a bicycle-style muse.

The Mayor, the Bike Coordinator and the Bake Lady.
I snapped a few pictures of Mayor Stanton with City Bicycle Coordinator Joe Perez and his wife Catherine, aka The Cookie Bitch, who is actually a very nice person, but clearly not a doormat.  I love her very short red hair.  My former hair stylist Melvin used to dye my very short hair that same color, and it was a bitch keeping the color up, but I am pretty sure Catherine's color is natural.  Lucky!   The Mayor said at the beginning of the ride that Joe deserves praise for all his hard work on behalf of bicycling in Phoenix, so I'm just going to give Joe that extra pat on the back in this post.  A day before the ride, I was pedaling down 3rd Avenue and pulled up at the light right behind Joe (okay, maybe I  raced to catch up with him) and we got to talk for several minutes about the future of transportation cycling in Phoenix.  Not surprisingly, public transit will be the glue that holds it all together, especially light rail, which we all need to support.  It's hard to be a great city without great public transit.

Okay, back to His Honor, the Mayor:  here he is with his helmet and sporty cruiser.  Mayor said Councilman Simplot is also a big fan of bike infrastructure so I hope to meet him on the next ride.  I wonder if the Mayor or the Councilman have ever considered organizing a community meeting/group ride focused on downtown bicycling initiative and infrastructure?   They could also do neighborhood meet-and-greets by bicycle.  My former boss, recently re-elected Louisville Metro 8th District Councilman Tom Owen, carves out a few weeks of every summer doing just that thing and they are very popular with constituents.  Tom doesn't take a police escort with him, by the way.  He doesn't even take his Legislative Aide; it's that low-key.

Winter fun in a desert!
CityScape might be suffering a little bit in terms of retail due to the down economy but it has a Starbucks (and I personally love Starbucks coffee and their stores, especially ASU downtown campus location, which has the best baristas ever!) and an ice skating rink.  Unfortunately, you can't see the ice skating rink from the street, which I consider a huge waste because what could possibly be more romantic and picturesque than strolling downtown after dark and seeing people skating?

I haven't spend much time in NYC but is their outdoor skating rink shielded  from pedestrian view?  I don't think it is.  Anyway, I think it's a bit of a missed opportunity because the rink was packed with people who looked like they were having a great time. Why hide all that fun?

Thumbs up for cops on bikes!
I've poke a bit of fun at the police escort thing but that's just because I think it reinforces the notion that bicycling is dangerous, which it is not.  I suspect the issue is one of concerns about liability at a City sponsored event so I understand the thinking behind it.  In truth, I love seeing police officers on bikes.  I think the public like seeing cops on bikes, too.  For one thing, police uniforms, and all their accouterments, can be a bit intimidating for the average citizen and, in my opinion, bicycles make officers seem more approachable, which I think they like.  When I lived in Louisville, I'd go to a lot of events at Waterfront Park in the summer and always saw children flock around bike cops, who not only looked very approachable but  really cool, too.  Maybe not as cool at Batman, but pretty darn close.

Is it really from Maine?
Whooo!  I am exhausted from all that typing, but the story doesn't end here.  Our last stop was an art fair near the Phoenix Public Library.  The booths were closed but the food carts were open.

It was soooo yum!

Can there possibly be a better way to end a bike ride than a lobster roll?  These would probably be great after ice skating, too.


David Bickford said...

Thanks again for the detailed coverage of an event I unfortunately had to miss. There are lots of familiar faces in the photos.

A few thoughts:

1) It's standard practice for the Mayor of Phoenix to be accompanied by a security detail at public appearances, regardless of the mode of transport involved. While I think there's room for discussion about the appropriateness of the motorcycle escort, the presence of police probably has as much to with protecting the Mayor from angry, unstable people than it does with any perception of risk specifically associated with bicycling.

2) I also tried the Maine Lobster Lady at the Arts Festival. At $17, her lobster roll is the priciest street food I've ever purchased, but it was of excellent quality. I do wish she'd upgrade the side dish, though. Somehow a bag of Lays chips seems a mismatch with her product.

She Rides a Bike said...

David, I wondered about the Mayor's security as well; maybe that is standard around the country due to heightened emotions associated with the economy. I don't recall the detail with Louisville's Mayor Abramson but I might have been preoccupied during those events.

The lobster rolls were yummy but, yes, I though $17 was pricey and didn't notice the price until after Bob paid! I felt like an idiot for not looking. I think a clam cake or at the very least a side of fries would have been a better match than Lay's potato chips.

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