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We’re All Heroes on This Bus

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Clyde Roberson - Mayor of Monterey - 26 July 2015Above: Mayor Clyde Roberson had just biked up the Eldorado Street hill when I spotted him on the morning of July 26, 2015 as I was headed to First Presbyterian Church, Monterey. Scroll to the end of this post to read more about Mayor Roberson.

When Clyde was the City of Monterey mayor beginning in 1983, the Monterey Herald published a front-page photo of that bicycling mayor. Clyde was called back into service as mayor in 2014, and as you can see, this mayor is still pedaling!

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We’re All Heroes on This Bus

Listen to the two-minute audio version.

Or read a version of this essay:

Monterey County Weekly readers said cloth grocery bags were 2009’s “best green/eco trend.”  I was surprised.  I’ve used them for thirty years.  But I was surprised at myself, too.
When I lived in Santa Cruz, I biked a hundred miles weekly—to work, for errands, for fun.  In ’81 I moved to rural Monterey County. I was happy to see that the City of Monterey had a biking mayor, Clyde Roberson. But living in rural MoCo, I was frustrated by lack of bike lanes and soon abandoned my bike for everyday transportation.
Now, thanks to Clark Sleeth,**  a 20-year-old who inspired me by using just a half tank of gas in five months, I’m back to biking regularly for transportation.  Think it takes more time?  Often not. You no longer need time for cardio at the gym!
I’d almost forgotten about the joy factor.  The thrill of speeding downhill …the refreshing feel of fog misting my face…hearing bird songs …pausing to chat with folks…and knowing the power of my own legs.
Maybe best is seeing the world anew.  Each blade of grass seems more vivid. It’s an awesome world, and staying closer to it inspires safeguarding it.
On Sundays, I carry my helmet into church and get a special smile from usher Clyde Roberson, our former* biking mayor.  Clyde tells me, “You’re my hero.”
I know what he means.  We’re all heroes to one another.  I’m reminded of “We’re all bozos on this bus,” and I think, “We’re all heroes on this bus!”  Our actions encourage fellow passengers, and their actions encourage us.
And we can redirect this “bus,” our culture, in a whole new, sustainable direction…
*Scroll down for an update on Clyde Roberson–elected again as City of Monterey mayor in 2014.

**Curious about Clark Sleeth? See “For the Beauty of Our Own Backyards,” then scroll down to “Green Teens.”  Clark’s father, Dr. Matthew Sleeth, visited Monterey County in 2007; see “Former ER Doc Attending to the Health of the Planet.”

The essay above was first published June 5, 2009 on Bicycling Monterey. Written and recorded by Mari Lynch and produced by Guy Lasnier, the essay was broadcast on KUSP – Central Coast Public Radio on September 6, 2009 and rebroadcast September 9, 2009 as a “Best of First Person Singular.”

The League of American Bicyclists (AKA Bike League) highlighted Bicycling Monterey’s “We’re All Heroes…” on May 11, 2015 in  their Bike Month 2015 blog series. Refer to “#WhyIRide: Seeing the World Anew.”


Bike parking Monterey Library front 2015
Mayor Clyde Roberson of the City of Monterey really gets what it takes to have a healthy city—in terms of the environment, economics, health, community relationships, and so much more. What a positive thing for Monterey that Clyde is now again mayor.

One reason that Clyde knows Monterey so well is that he is out there in the community in an up-close-and-personal way. He doesn’t limit his transportation to a motor vehicle. You’ll see Clyde out walking regularly, and you’ll see him biking often too.

He knows firsthand that there are many benefits of bicycling. For years, Clyde and his wife, Dottie, were spotted on a tandem regularly. Later he tried a recumbent as well. These days, Clyde can be spotted on his standard road bike–including biking from one local city to another, whether on the Monterey Bay Coastal Trail or city streets.

As Phillip Molnar reported in “Monterey votes for improvements to promote biking, walking,” Monterey Herald, August 18, 2015, Mayor Roberson said: “Just look at Car Week. We need to get people to adopt alternative means of transportation.” And the Mayor doesn’t just talk the talk, he bikes it: biking almost every day to City Hall, as Molnar’s story noted.

Congratulations to the residents of the City of Monterey on having a mayor who serves as such a wonderful roll model for residents and visitors.

Effective bicycling advocacy takes a wide community effort. Please support this grassroots community collaboration.

Update, 6/6/17: Tip of the helmet to Mayor Clyde Roberson and the Monterey City Council. In this afternoon’s session, a commitment was made to 100% renewable energy by 2040. Mayor Roberson commented, “We have our own Paris Accord!” #ReadyFor100 #ParisAgreement #ThinkGloballyActLocally

Council actions today also included one related to #sustainable #transportation: a decision to not increase speed limits on Del Monte Ave, Glenwood, Mar Vista Dr, Soledad Dr, York Rd. #bikesafety #pedestriansafety #visionzero #carbonemissions


This post was first published on June 5, 2009.

This post was published on 5 July 2014. One or more changes last made to this post on 25 August 2018.

  1. Steph says:

    Emory is really good about encouraging alternative transportation. Living 30+ miles from work, though, including going down a major highway, makes it difficult. Zach and I don’t even have bikes down here, but that’s something I hope to remedy this summer. 🙂 Some of my favorite memories are of flying through the forest preserve on my bike!

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