“He put the helmet on and showed everyone his new vehicle.”
Like everyone else who’s ever ridden a bike in this city, I’ve been grousing for years about just how dangerous (7th item) Boston is for cyclists. The drivers are nuts, the roads suck and the bike lanes are practically nonexistant. Still, little has been done to change things. Until now.
There was a story over the weekend about Tom Menino’s newfound love for cycling, and seldom has one story encapsulated both what I really like about Menino, and what drives me absolutely crazy about him.
On one hand, I love the fact that he’s so enthusiastic about making Boston more bike-friendly now that he’s taken to riding the streets in the mornings. It’s that sort of engagement and empathy that keeps him popular. On the other hand, what the hell took so long? People have been grousing about this issue for years and nothing was being done. Do we really have to wait until the mayor experiences a problem firsthand before it’s properly addressed? Because even working 18 hour days, as he does, he’s never going to get around to all of them.
Then there’s the matter of the mayor’s weird charm, expertly laid out here:
The mayor’s latest habit began to take root about four months ago, when his chief of policy and planning, Michael Kineavy, began bicycling and sharing his enthusiasm for the sport during conversations between Cabinet meetings and other official proceedings.
At first, the mayor called him crazy and teased him. Being something of a practical joker, Menino began placing anonymous packages outside Kineavy’s office, first a Dora the Explorer bike helmet, then a bell, and finally a set of rainbow-colored handlebar streamers.
“One day, he said, ‘Where’s my bike?’ ” Kineavy recalled.
Soon after, the mayor plunked down $800 for the three-speed automatic roadster with all the fixings: gloves, helmet, cargo room under the seat. It arrived at City Hall during a meeting of the Strategic Crime Council and the mayor’s excitement was clear, attendees said. He asked a staff member to wheel it in. He put the helmet on and showed everyone his new vehicle.
And just try to look at the photo in the Globe story without getting a little upset. I’m a little upset, but I can’t quite articulate why. I just know that I am….