My fly ride sandwiched betwixt 2 gas burners. Once upon a time, not so long ago before the 2001 Unibiker initiated Charlotte Critical Mass that changed the game there were no public Bike Racks in town. Okay, maybe there was one at the Post Office thanks to JC's letter to the Uptoon Post Master, however that was a single example not city wide policy as it is now thanks to the awareness that the UB brought to Charlotte's City Council on that cold'ish December night in 01. I was there, I saw the satellite up links feeding the scene into the Government Center, the local news 'reporters' doing what they do in front of the lights, the mobile police command unit, the under cover cops trying desperately to blend in with the 34 or so bike friendly folk and the over all affect that it had on this tin can town. The 'News' of the ride rallying on the Square leaked 2 weeks before the big day which worried the non bike culture of this fine city. Do the Math: 34 people(who ride bikes attending the Critical Mass) minus 684,327 who would rather put gas in their car equals 684,283 humans asking me questions about the impact that such a Mass will have on the city in the days leading up to the event. As that day got closer, the city's fear grew. It was written all over their faces in the elevator as I went on with my daily work schedule. The helmet on my head was a dead give away, I was one of the out numbered 34.
That was the last 'CM' I ever rode in because it was the only one that could have possibly had meaning. What a night it was, including delicious beer with friends.
Anyway, shortly after the event City Council decided to make a Bike Plan which started by hiring Steve Hancock from Arizona to be the first ever Bike Coordinator for the City. This guy was the man, a veteran coordinator with years of experience and the kindness to introduce himself to all 5 of us couriers within the first few weeks he was on the job. He wanted to know the scoop and he knew we cold help. The City also approved some immediate and future monies needed to help implement the bike friendly plan. Then there were bike committees of normal bike humans that formed to help guide the planner and his very small staff(1 other person). Over the past 8 years or so the city has given a valiant effort to bring the Jar up to speed on its Bike Friendliness but some serious issues still persist.
For Example: Pocket Rockets, Scooters and other mini gas burners are clogging up the public bike racks outnumbering or at least equaling the pedal machines.