This afternoon, a gaggle of mayors, including hearty souls from Annapolis, Md., Athens Ga., Santa Fe, N.M. and Irvine, Calif., will join the Cascade Bicycle Club for a ride along Seattle's waterfront. They're here for the U.S. Conference of Mayors' Climate Protection Summit, which starts tomorrow. Conspicuously missing from that list, of course, is your very own Mayor Greg Nickels.
His spokesman Marty McOmber says Nickels thinks the ride is a "great idea" and is glad others are doing it. "It's a great way to see Seattle," McOmber says. But Nickels? He's booked solid getting ready to play host to all those mayors and dignitaries (Bill Clinton!) that will be flooding town. While the mayors from other lefty burgs are out burning calories cruising the waterfront, Nickels will be holed up in City Hall for a pre-conference presser with Trenton, N.J. mayor (and president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors) Doug Palmer.
M.J. Kelly of the Cascade Bicycle Club says the group anticipated the mayor's dance card would be full. "It wasn't a slight or anything like that. We weren't expecting him to," she says before adding, "He's still welcome to join us."
Though there's hardly a bad time around here for some good old-fashioned bicycle riding awareness raising, the timing this week is particularly good considering the latest rendition of the Bike Master Plan is scheduled to go before city council Monday. In advance of this, (or perhaps out of guilt about missing the bike ride?) the mayor's office released a study this morning showing that bike commuting here is up 31 percent since 2000.
Truth is, though a cheerleader, Seattle's mayor simply isn't much of a cyclist. "He thinks biking is a wonderful thing," McOmber says. "He himself doesn't do it all that often."