Tuesday, September 1, 2009

MFM Day 3: Takin' it all the way to City Hall

MFM Day 3, September 1st

Song of the Day: Cracker, Lonesome Johnny Blues.mp3

Oh God, what am I doing, I didn't even prepare anything to say. Well all the world's a stage, right?

"I am pledging a motor-less month for September. I will not drive or ride in any motorized vehicles the entire month."

Ok, now what? The Mayor and City Council are staring at you, not to mention all the citizens in the room. Is there a point to this or are you simply a self-aggrandizing jerk?

"And I'd like to extend an invitation to the city council, the honorable Mayor, all the people in this room, and the fine people of Fort Collins to do the same."

Better; we're pulling out of the nose dive now. Now wrap it up nice and sweet and get the hell off this podium.

"To leave your cars in your garages and get on your bicycles this month. Let's show everybody what a bicycle-friendly town this is, what a bicycle-loving town this can be. Thank you."

bicycle-loving? Oh good Lord that was terrible. But Awesome!

I was at the Ft Collins City council meeting on MFM Day 3. By coincidence an advocate for cycling was trying to organize a bunch of cyclists to come to the city council meeting after work. I figured this was just the sort of activity I should be doing during Motor Free Month, so I decided to go. And by the end of it, I was up there on the podium, taking my MFM message to city hall, baby!

Having never been to a city council meeting before I did not realize that the first 30 minutes of the meeting were open to the public for speaking about whatever was on their minds. Our cycling advocate got up first and spoke very professionally and intelligently about the need for more funds to be allocated for bicycle safety in this town.

The issue was on everybody's mind because of the tragic death of a 14-year old cyclist, Urangua "SiSi" Mijiddorj, on August 20, 2009. This actually was the third cyclist death in the past 14 months in Fort Collins. This is in addition to another cyclist seriously injured quite recently as well. All three were killed in bike-car accidents.

So about half of the people got up and talked about the need for better bicycle safety and awareness. The other half blathered on about budgets, utility bills, the chamber of commerce, and other (to me) uninteresting stuff.

Originally I was not going to get up and speak, but after listening to the other speakers (most of whom had prepared statements and had actually, you know, taken this seriously) there was no way I was NOT going to get up there and make a fool of myself!

So when the mayor asked, "any last speakers"? I got up and dove in. I wanted to let them know I was doing a motor free month. Why? Don't know really. It felt good to let people know what I was doing. Maybe the Mayor will get on his bike more this month! At least he knows that I'm doing it. Given the tenor of the day, I could have said that I'm doing this for bicycle safety, for the people killed in town recently. But I didn't really know them (I'd met Rebecca once actually) and to say I was riding for the dearly departed seemed disingenuous, so I left the reasons blank. But they are on my mind, and if I can get drivers to be more aware of cyclists, and get cyclists to ride more safely, then I suppose I've done some good.

Leave it to me to gleefully mix absurdity and pathos in pledging to the city of Ft Collins to go motor free. I believe that Rebecca Allen would approve.


Urangua "SiSi" Mijiddorj

Erica Forney

Rebecca Allen

The evening wasn't all heavy though; we concluded it by going to our local live music club, The Aggie, to see Cracker! I can inform you that our bikes were properly illuminated, and that we had a lovely time at the concert (they're playing at the Bluebird in Denver tonight for all you Denver-folk, good show!), and a particularly nice moonlight ride back home through deserted streets after the show. MFM at it's finest.

Peace out and Ride/Drive safe.

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