The Mayor Rides!

Politics on the move in Stillwater

With 3% of Stillwater, Oklahoma’s population commuting by bike or on foot, Mary Cash of Cooper’s Bicycle Center (left) sees plenty of opportunity to grow that number. She advises that one great way to drive growth is to get your mayor on board. This tells the community that alternative transportation is a mainstream priority, not a fringe activity.


The structure is already there for you to tap into. “Thunderhead Alliance ( started the U.S. Mayor’s Bike Ride in 2003,” said Cash. “It’s not a gathering of mayors, but a two-month window where mayors can ride locally. This is an easy and effective way to make bicycling look good in your community.”


 In 2004, Mayor Bud Lacy of Stillwater won the longest distance award for leading a 36-mile ride on the 4th of July. It was part of a 24/36/62/100 mile century ride. In a four-color brochure distributed by Thunderhead and the Red Dirt Pedalers (who organized the ride), Mayor Lacy (pictured on his recumbent) said, “Going fuel-free is a great way to celebrate independence. Everyone should try pumping pedals instead of gas!”


Does this sound like a message you’d like to see in your local media? “Mayors like to see their picture in the paper, and we like to see them riding a bike,” concluded Cash. “We’ve done a lot of advocacy work in Stillwater, and this had the biggest impact for the amount of time invested. If you’re only going to do one thing this summer, it’s a great way to start.”


And you won’t be alone in the effort. With 104 member organizations in 46 states, Thunderhead has help for you nearby. Go to the Thunderhead website, find a member organization to partner with, and make sure your mayor rides this summer!