Arizona

Bicycle Photography: Riding with the Mayor

Well, here we are at the start of Bike to Work Week here in Tucson. And what’s a work-at-home bike-tographer to do?

The answer is: Set the alarm for oh-dark-hundred, gather up the photo gear, then head over to the University of Arizona campus.

Sounds a lot like the seven years that I spent employed on said campus. When bicycle commuting was considered a bit odd, if not subversive. After all, I worked for the University of Arizona Foundation, where image was oh-so-important. How dare I show up on a beat-up Cannondale instead of a Cadillac?

The answer was: Because my job didn’t pay very well, and I didn’t want to go into debt just to keep up appearances. Then, as now, I have a certain fondness for being solvent.

Well, I’m here to tell you that said Cannondale is still my bike, it’s even more beat up, but that didn’t stop KOLD-TV 13 reporter David Gonzalez from borrowing it for his story…

Bicycle photography - KOLD-TV reporter David Gonzalez borrows my bike

David, me, and a lot of other people were at the UA campus for the Mayor’s Ride. The star of the show was Tucson’s recently elected mayor, Jonathan Rothschild.

There was a bit of a wait before the mayor arrived, and there was much speculation over the amount of riding that he actually does. I certainly hope he does ride often, but I hope he does so more safely than former Washington, DC mayor Adrian Fenty, who pitched over the handlebars of his time trial bike in July 2008.

Here’s David Gonzalez again, interviewing Mayor Rothschild…

Bicycle photography - KOLD-TV reporter David Gonzalez interviews Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild

Channel 13 wasn’t the only TV station on the story. Here’s the mayor giving another interview to KVOA-TV 4…

Bicycle photography - KVOA-TV interviews Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild

The media attention directed at the mayor meant that the rest of us had plenty of time to hang out, talk to each other, and check out all the bikes. Hey, what’s this? A bike that has even more stickers than mine! Amazing!

Bicycle photography - bike with many stickers

The combination of being ridden by a TV reporter, encountering another bike with even more stickers, and meeting the mayor’s City Bike proved to be too much for my venerable old Cannondale. Poor thing just couldn’t keep from swooning…

Bicycle photography - bikes before start of Bike to Work Week in Tucson, Arizona

My ride report consisted of my finding that I’d mis-set my bike computer. The time I spent fiddling with it enabled the rest of the group to open a sizable lead. Which was made even bigger by the slowwww traffic light that stopped me at University Boulevard and Euclid Avenue.

Green light, and I’m off in a sprint through the West University Neighborhood! I finally catch the group as it’s rolling downhill toward the intersection of 7th Avenue and 6th Street.

We safely arrive Downtown at City Hall, the mayor stays around to chat for a few minutes, and then he announces that it’s time to go inside and get to work…

Bicycle photography - riders at City Hall during Bike to Work Week in Tucson, Arizona

Jonathan Rothschild is certainly not the glad-handling schmoozer that his predecessor, Bob Walkup, was. And I think that’s a good thing. This city needs a mayor who takes the “get to work” part of his job seriously.

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