In John Oliver fashion, I am delivering news to you that is more than a few days old. News which is really only relevant to those within earshot of my voice or say, my BookFACE page but sadly after what looked like a hopeful future for the event the organizers of Bike the Bend have decided to cancel it.
The story goes something like this: The Lady Organizer decided not to pay a portion of the money owed to the police department for their overtime after what she basically described as laziness on their part at last year's event. [Read the whole story here]
Then they were encouraged by the local FOP to give up the overtime pay they would have received to work at the event and were asked not to support it to send a message to said Organizer. The message was clear enough, as I eluded to in a previous post yet volunteers stepped up in a big way to make up for the lack of Police participation.
So the event went well, I thought, no one got hurt and I got to take my wife around the city on her first 30 mile ride!
Then they cancel it. My first response was one more genuine curiosity than it was bewilderment.
I understand both sides to be honest but I would have to say I side with the Police on this issue as they were promised a level of pay which the other party did not deliver. The "over worked" argument is bullshit if you ask me and likely a thinly veiled attempt at making a stand without coming right out and saying "Hey Lady, you screwed us, so screw you."
That aside, its just bad business and bad Karma. So she's getting the proper level of disrespect here is all I am saying but I still cannot wrap my brain around how easy it was for them to just give up on something that is good for our community. It doesn't cost the city a dime, not one, and it promotes the city itself by taking you to and even through some of the best places it has to offer.
What's more is that the Mayor of South Bend really just sat back and let the Chief of Police (both are cyclists I might add) hammer it out on his own rather than taking an active role in helping both parties put aside their differences. That is the saddest part to me; the Mayor has done great things to improve the attitude and overall life style of his city and has done so with very little resources. For an event like this to simply be discarded because of bad blood is disheartening. It says to all of those who fight for bicycle advocacy; "if you don't get your way, give up." What does that say to the kids that love this event because it is the one day a year that they get to ride bikes with their family in a safe atmosphere?
"Tough shit kid. Suck it up!"
They'd have had a year to figure this out but instead they simply said "fuck it." I just cannot get over that.
For now, I just hope that someone is working feverishly to restore the event in one way or another so we don't lose this opportunity to come together and play bikes.