Of course it had to rain during Bike to Work Week. And of course, around here, people are going to Bike to Work anyway. That’s just how we roll.
We’re always up for an audacious new festival to support, and the latest one is Bike to Work Week, which just keeps getting bigger. You can’t ind a place to lock your bike at Inlander HQ this week.
The evidence is pretty clear that Spokane and the Inland Northwest do things big. Bloomsday is among the largest timed road races in the world — and grew by 5,000 finishers this year. Hoopfest locates basketball’s hallowed ground every June not in North Carolina or Indiana, but in Spokane. Naturally, it’s become the biggest 3-on-3 tournament in the universe. Pig Out in the Park is huge, First Night has exploded — heck even The Inlander (sorry, can’t resist) is the best-read urban weekly in the nation.
Point is, when we support something, we simply see no choice but to super-size it. What’s up with that?
A major reason is our size — we’re not too big, and not too small. This has been a source of some low local self-esteem over the years — you know, we’re not as cool (or rich) as Portland or Seattle. But I’d argue that those sprawling cities encourage kind of the opposite dynamic — more tribal and less unified; too cool, perhaps, to admit the corny things in life can be fun. Plus they have to spend way too much psychic energy on the Mariners.
Having a pool of people who are up for whatever (volunteering, participating, spectating) makes it all possible, but we need somebody to lead the way. All these things start with a tiny spark — a new idea from the heart and soul of somebody willing to devote large chunks of his or her life to making it happen. Like the time a skinny recent college grad found himself on the elevator with the mayor, who told him he liked his idea about how Spokane needed its own road race. David Rodgers told young Don Kardong to make it happen, and he’s been at it ever since.
Kardong set the standard: If you dream it around here, and work hard enough to make it awesome, they will come. Now let’s all thank the folks behind Bike to Work (Even in the Rain) Week. What’s next? Who knows, but sign me up!