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We’re All Heroes on This Bus

Happy Bike Month, 2023!

Listen to a two-minute audio below.

That timeless message, written and recorded in 2009 by Bicycling Monterey’s founder, was produced by Guy Lasnier for the KUSP Central Coast Public Radio program “First Person Singular.” It was broadcast on KUSP on September 6, 2009, then rebroadcast September 9, 2009 as a “Best of First Person Singular.” The League of American Bicyclists (AKA Bike League) has also shared it, in their Bike Month blog series for 2015; see #WhyIRide: Seeing the World Anew.

We’re All Heroes on This Bus

Monterey County Weekly readers voted cloth grocery bags as 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 and 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, the 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.

*Mayor Clyde Roberson (pictured above) had just biked up the Eldorado Street hill when we spotted him July 26, 2015 as we headed to bike-friendly First Presbyterian Church, Monterey. 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 2014-2022, and as you can see, was still pedaling in those years too.

Scroll down to read more about Mayor Roberson.

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Bike parking Monterey Library front 2015
Clyde Roberson, who served as mayor of the City of Monterey for six terms, knows a lot about what it takes to have a healthy city—in terms of the environment, economics, public health and safety, community relationships, and so much more.

One reason that Clyde knows Monterey well is that he is out 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 too.

He knows firsthand that there are many benefits of bicycling. For many years Clyde and his wife, Dottie, were spotted on a tandem regularly. Later he tried a recumbent bike, then switched to a standard road bike—biking from one local city to another, whether on the Monterey Bay coastal trail or on city streets. These days he uses an e-bike regularly.

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 didn’t just talk the talk, he biked it—biking almost every day to City Hall, as Molnar’s story noted. ICYMI, when Mayor Clyde Roberson and the Monterey City Council committed to 100% renewable energy by 2040, Mayor Roberson announced with gusto: “We have our own Paris Accord!”

This post was first published on June 5, 2009, with some subsequent updates, then republished on May 18, 2023.

This post was published on 18 May 2023.

  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!