"So who are you voting for," I asked a fellow Madisonian. After explaining to me that she was not particularly enthused about either candidate, she said that Mayor Dave did have one thing going for him: Bicycling. He's a big supporter of it. And that is the big reason she and her spouse will be voting for him.
Ironically, there are also voters who dislike the mayor for the very same reason. It was the one criticism that Kurt Baron, the host of the still-unnamed radio show on WTDY that I produce, made of Cieslewicz when we interviewed the mayor on the show a couple weeks ago.
Kurt, who doesn't bike, as well as some callers, had the impression that the mayor spends too much time on what they consider a niche environmental/fitness interest.
As I pointed out to Kurt, however, promoting biking helps even those who are hopelessly addicted to fossil fuels by reducing congestion. And of course, the small investment a city makes to establish biking as a viable transportation method goes a long way in saving money for the city's poorest, who can't afford cars.
Last but not least, biking contributes greatly to Madison's quality of life. Going places in the summer is often a much more pleasurable experience here because you can bike there.
Conclusion: Biking is as good of a city issue to vote on as any. However, I still don't know who I'm going to vote for. Probably the guy that loses.
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