Overseas: Cyclist Discrimination whilst shopping

An article I saw from Pitch.com that I thought was interesting. It was written in 2007.

“Two-Wheel Discrimination
This grandma found out that Town Center isn’t about the eco-friendly commuter.

Rita is the type of customer that Town Center Plaza executives must salivate over. She’s a 50-something grandmother who lives in an upscale subdivision in Leawood. Her husband is a well-known business owner, so she has plenty of money to spend at the development’s trendy retailers. She’s on a first-name basis with the clerks at Williams-Sonoma — but she doesn’t want her full name used in the telling of this tale, for fear of looking like an activist.
Town Center Plaza, Hallbrook, LeawoodBut Rita had a run-in with Town Center management last month that fired her up to make a call to the Department of Burnt Ends.

The thing is, this grandma is in training for a breast-cancer-research marathon in Florida, and cycling is part of her training. Plus, she doesn’t want to spew more pollution into the air just to travel a few blocks from her house. So she recently decided to leave her car in the driveway and pedal from her home in the Hallbrook subdivision to Town Center Plaza.

Little did she know that the sprawling complex doesn’t look kindly on shoppers who arrive on two wheels.

As far as she could tell, there weren’t any racks to lock up her bike. Nervous about leaving her ride unprotected while she shopped, she dialed the Town Center office.

“I asked, ‘Am I missing something? Can I not see the bike racks?'” she recalls. The woman on the other end of the line told Rita that she wasn’t missing anything. There aren’t any bike racks because bikes and skateboards aren’t welcome at Town Center.

“I said, ‘Wait a minute. Are you not green? Are you not eco-friendly?’ She left for a minute to ask someone and came back and said, ‘We don’t want you up here on your bike.'”

Outraged at the thought of such cyclist discrimination, the Department of Burnt Ends called Scott Schroeder, spokesman for Town Center. He told us, in a decidedly annoyed and monotone manner, that bikes are allowed, just not on the sidewalks. As for shelling out a few bucks to promote car-free trips by putting in a couple of racks so cyclists don’t have to worry about their bikes being swiped, Schroeder yawned that Town Center had not considered it because there had been no requests.

So what’s an eco-friendly commuter to do? The Department of Burnt Ends called the administrative office, posing as a cyclist trying to figure out where to park a bike while spending some bucks. Perhaps schooled by Schroeder since Rita’s original call, the woman who answered didn’t ban us from the premises. But she wasn’t very helpful, either.

“I don’t have any recommendations,” she said.

As for Rita. she’s recommending that eco-friendly shoppers take their bikes — and bucks — elsewhere. This grandma found out that Town Center isn’t about the eco-friendly commuter!.


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