Bicycles mean business as well as fitness, says Fort Worth’s Betsy Price
The mayor got into cycling more than 40 years ago, when she and her husband bought bikes to celebrate their first anniversary. In 2011, she brought her passion to the mayor’s office, pedaling to work events and talking to coworkers about riding. “I realized if I was going to maintain an active lifestyle as mayor, it would be vital to find ways to incorporate it into my city activities,” Price says. She also wanted to bring cycling to the city she loves.
“The health of communities is critical to your economic development, to your engagement, to the vitality of your community,” Price says. “Biking became a huge piece of that.” She launched an initiative called FitWorth that includes programs devoted to wellness, including the Tour de Fort Worth, which overlaps with the Tour de France and features 21 days of cycling events. Price rides them all. “You’d have to be crazy to be me,” she laughs. “In a good way.”
Price says every member of her staff and city council has tried riding at least once, and she’s committed to bringing cycling to the masses, from her town-hall rides to a Complete Streets program that aims to ensure that new roadways are safe for all users. Since she took office, the city has added 66 miles of bike lanes and put $1.2 million toward building trails, to make it safer and easier for residents to exercise.
“Obesity is a creeping disease—you’ll end up with high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes, heart problems,” Price says. “And businesses coming into the city want to know about the health of the workforce. So if we can say we’re the fittest community around, that’s a big draw.”