Friday, May 20th, was Bike to Work Day and the city of Jackson MS - my current base of operations - celebrated the holiday with its "Bike to Lunch" event. The event was a bit of an oxymoron - an attempt to get city employees (most of whom, if not all, drive to work) to bike to a park within walking distance of their offices. Compound that with the logistical problem of Jackson being a very bike unfriendly city (the roads are horrendous) and the likelihood of a high bike turn out was unlikely. Nevertheless, the city did make an attempt to promote cycling. Held at Smith Park, the historical marker for the park refers to it as Jackson's last "public square." The is square named after James Smith, who the marker describes as a "Scottish manufacture and Confederate benefactor" - whatever that means. One could say that every white person in Jackson and Mississippi, for that matter, is a "Confederate benefactor," but let me stay on task.
The event included games for children/adults, a DJ, and vendors. The city of Jackson had a booth on cite where from two men gave out sun glasses, coozies, brochures and other swag. Bike Walk Mississippi was present to advocate for the rights of pedestrians and cyclists. And, no city sponsored event would not be complete without an appearance from its mayor. Mayor Tony Yarber emerged with his son, Cameron, as I was talked with a representative of Bike Walk Mississippi. From their booth, I watched as he attempted to hula hoop and took an obligatory photo with vendors and participants. Following the photo op I did what any cyclist would do next, I rode off, back into the city and its prolific potholes.
Happy Bike Month!