The Low Road

A cycling community is born


Part III: Winning Allies

By all accounts, DeStefano exhibited a good deal of caution about the invitation, which, after all, came from a group that had been founded by an insurgent third-party alderman.

But he couldn’t ignore them, either.

“You know New Haven politics: 300 people can really sway an election,” Lewinnek says. “The mayor was kind of reluctant to accept the bike — he thought we were going to make a fool of him.”

DeStefano attended the September 2002 Critical Mass wearing a nicely pressed suit, which he did not sully by mounting a bicycle. But he accepted the gift in good spirits and expressed broad support for the group’s goals:

“The challenge we want to work at is, can we meaningfully put bike lanes in?” DeStefano said at the rally, according to a contemporary report on the WTNH-TV Channel 8 Web site.

The mayor, possibly to his own surprise, weathered the event without a trace of political humiliation. And Elm City Cycling had gained a powerful ally.

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