[Keene Sentinel] Tiffany Mannion has always owned a bicycle. The Massachusetts native recalls those first few moments without training wheels, as her father guided her through the parking lot where she first learned to ride. ….
On Saturday, Mannion was named the first bicycle mayor of Keene in a ceremony at the Monadnock Fall Festival. She’s not only the first to hold the position in Keene, but also the first bicycle mayor in the United States. It’s part of a program created by CycleSpace, an Amsterdam-based start-up focused on making cities less car-centric. CycleSpace created the Bicycle Mayor and Leader Network to find leaders to represent local cycling communities.
Bicycle mayors have already been installed in cities across the world, including Amsterdam, Mexico City, Sydney, Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Baroda, India — and now, Keene.
I’ve shared a lot of terrifying stories with you. Stories about bicyclists on drugs. Stories about bicyclists committing murder. Stories about bicyclists kidnapping people. You name it, chances are I’ve written about a bicyclist doing it.
But nothing has hit quite as close to home as Keene, NH–the city I grew up in, no less–creating the position of “Bicycle Mayor.”
I know bicyclists have all but taken over plenty of cities in America. Hell, cities like Macon, GA are actively bribing bicyclists to clog up their streets and fill the air with smug self-satisfaction. But I didn’t think it could happen so close to home. I thought that, if nothing else, I could count on the cities in my own backyard to hold strong against the screaming hordes of the bicyclist cabal. But hell came to town today, my friends. Hell came to town, and it wore lycra.
Look, Keene. You’ve got to ask yourself a very simple question. Do you really want MORE bicyclists flocking to your town? Because make no mistake, that’s what you’re asking for here. Sure, this lady seems nice. Sure, her promises of sustainable living and community unity sound admirable. But if the end goal is to promote bicycling, is it worth it? Is it worth it to attract more bicyclists to your town, prancing about in their Tour de France cosplay outfits, breezing through red lights with reckless abandon, and ultimately ensuring that your daily commute involves at least 20 minutes stuck behind four bicyclists spread out horizontally across the road moving at a leisurely 3 MPH?
No. Never. I refuse to believe that this is what has become of my hometown. I cannot entertain the idea that the town that fundamentally shaped me as a human being has turned its back on me so completely. Today is a terrible day, but I have faith that Keene will pull through this era of darkness and rise again stronger than ever. I have to believe it, because the alternative is too depressing.
PS. When I saw the headline “Keene gets a Bicycle Mayor,” I thought Keene had named a physical bicycle to the office of mayor, which actually would have been less troubling.