As we made a left turn, up ahead, I could see the two bike cops waiting for us. Straddling their bikes they were at the intersection where we had agreed to meet.
Once we got within earshot, one of them called, “Looks like you found us, we sure couldn’t miss you.”
“You’ve got to be trying pretty hard not to see us,” I said. “Shall we just keep rolling?”
“Just keep going, one of us will get in front of you after everyone passes.”
Soon, I could see our destination, Oakland City Hall. It was square, several stories tall building that filled up the whole block. A small plaza area filled with people in business clothes and cameras set up on tripods sat at the edge of the concrete steps that led it to its gold framed doors.
“Is everyone ready? It’s just about show time,” I called.
“So what do we do when we get there. I’ve never been to one of these NBG Day things. Looks like there’s a lot of people there!” Jose asked as we slowed down waiting for our escort to clear the busy intersection ahead of us.
I could tell he was excited.
“Each city is different guy,” I began. “In some cities we ride up to City Hall like we’re doing now with the bike cops. And the press is taking pictures of us as we roll in. Last year in Oakland they had balloons floating from these big storyboards that had pictures of some of the bike projects they had in the works. They also had a guy playing acoustic guitar as everyone gathered. But you never know. In some cities, we just show up and someone gets the Mayor who comes down and meets us at the podium they always have set up. Here in Oakland, they have a Bike Coordinator, so she will serve as the m/c. But I think in Napa we’ll just have our sponsor run that program.”
“OK, so what’s the program?”
“So you want all the nuts and bolts huh?” I teased, as I motioned for Don to start rolling his video camera for my answer.
“So in terms of a program, what’s gonna happen is that our host will say a few words about cycling in Oakland and what they are doing to improve it. And then she will introduce our riders and then the Mayor who will say a few words about how his administration supports cycling. At which point he will read the proclamation and hand it to our riders. I’m not sure if the Mayor is going to stick around, some of them do and visit with our cyclists, but then our host will introduce our riders and where they are headed next. At which point a couple of us will talk about our ride for a couple minutes. You know where we’ve been and, if we have time, why we’re doing the ride. Your Cycles of Change boss is going to say a few words about your program and then I think the East Bay Bike Coalition is going to talk about one of their programs for about five more minutes. And then the announcer will thank everyone for coming. And then we are done with the official stuff.
And then what happens?” Jose asked.
“Then we answer the reporters' questions and then we adjourn to the lunch that our restaurant sponsor for that city always has for us. I think Oakland is going to be Pasta Cuisine again. And that’s NBG Day!”
Soon all of us would find out!