We have a winner! Savannah Bicycle Campaign board member Frank McIntosh reached City Hall a couple minutes before Sean Brandon, Savannah’s director of parking and mobility, who traveled via Chatham Area Transit bus. Jordan Griffin of the City’s film and tourism office arrived last by car. McIntosh is an experienced cyclist, having logged tens of thousands of miles on his trusty Novara mountain bike. It is decades old and has even been stolen and recovered at least once. McIntosh proved you don’t need an expensive ride to get to work on time.
At a finish line press conference, Alderman Tony Thomas underscored what many Savannahians already know. “There are other means of getting downtown and around this community than just driving your car,” he said. Brandon linked commuting choices to the city’s future, telling WJCL, “If we are going to continue to grow as a coummunity from here on out, it has to be by other means of transportation.” The complete WJCL piece is here. Mary Landers’ coverage in the Savannah Morning News is here.
Before bike and bus fans become too excited by the victory, a comment posted here reminds us the circumstances of the race were artificial. To be truly representative of real commutes, the time Brandon spent waiting on the bus should have been factored in. Plus, how many downtown workplaces provide showers and locker rooms for commuters who arrive at work via a spirited bike ride on a muggy June morning?
Still, the race helps erode the notion that single occupant motor vehicles are the only real choice for commuting and demonstrates that public transit and bicycle commuting are viable options that could become even more attractive with additional investment. After all, we’ve spent almost a century and mountains of money making car commuting cheaper, faster and easier. It’s long past time to devote similar attention to improving other modes.