Posted: Oct 27, 2012 2:53 PM
Updated: Oct 27, 2012 2:53 PM
FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price has wrapped up her first full season of "rolling town halls," bike rides designed to encourage fitness and spur interaction with citizens on city issues.
On Friday night, Price led about 100 riders from downtown to a historic cemetery and back. There have been about 50 rides so far.
Some things that citizens have told her have become city policy. After two riders wondered why apartments don't recycle, the idea made it into an ordinance due to take effect in 2014. And the city put out information about migrating egrets after riders raised concerns about the birds.
"If you're stupid enough to put on Spandex and go out in public, people'll talk to you," Price, a longtime cyclist, told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram (http://bitly.com/RmeGWX ).
It's also a chance to see the city up close flaws and all.
"You do see the potholes," said Price, who broke her collarbone and suffered a concussion this summer when she hit a rut on the Trinity Trail.
The rolling town halls will see a makeover for next year's series, which kicks off in the spring. The rides will start to move out of the center of the city and off the Trinity Trails, and instead go into neighborhoods, where they'll be shorter and designed to attract more casual riders.
And instead of weekly rides, they will be twice a month. While this year's rides have ranged from 12 to 25 miles, next year's may be six to 10.
"We think it'll be a better format for a wider variety of people," said MaryAnn Means, the city's deputy chief of staff.
The mayor's rides typically draw at least 30 people, and have attracted as many as 300.
Fort Worth mayors have often focused on specific themes, sometimes because of interests and others because of circumstances.
For Price, biking and fitness were naturals.
"I'm never going to be skinny in my life," Price said. "But I can be fit."
This fall, Price will launch monthly "walking town halls."
Information from: Fort Worth Star-Telegram, http://www.star-telegram.com