The Low Road

A cycling community is born


Part II: Setting the agenda

Lewinnek took the challenge with characteristic enthusiasm, lending Elm City Cycling a cheerful and optimistic public face. (Halle can come across as brusque.) Within a few weeks the group held its first organized meeting at a local coffee shop.

They set broad goals, hoping to beef up their media presence, draw public awareness to cycling issues and bring pressure to bear on political leaders at the city and state level to make New Haven more cycling friendly.

Members had novel ideas about how to make that happen.

“It was Bruce Crowder who said, ‘Nothing’s going to happen until we give the mayor a bicycle,’ ” Lewinnek recalls.*

Members raised a petition with 300 names asking Mayor John DeStefano to improve conditions for cyclists in New Haven. They also invited the mayor to attend an upcoming Critical Mass — a monthly rush-hour rally of cyclists through downtown streets intended to remind drivers of their obligation to share the road.

Someone donated a bicycle to present to the mayor. Someone else alerted the media.

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* Crowder is the author’s brother; the author is not an active member of the Elm City Cycling.


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