I missed an email from Helena's City offices yesterday as I flew down the highway from Macdonald Pass. It said that the Mayor, Wilmot Collins would sign a letter of support for the COP26 meetings and my ride. By the time I saw the email it was too late, and I was halfway through a pint at the Blackfoot Brewery.
I decided I'd just have to delay my departure in the morning and see if Mayor Collins was available to sign the letter. I took a back street to my campsite, and to my astonishment ran right into the Mayor! He was canvassing for his re-election campaign and happened to be in the neighborhood. We connected and he quickly gave me his phone contact and said he'd be happy to sign the letter in the morning.
Cities have been keys to maintaining some momentum on climate issues through retrograde federal administrations. Helena is exemplary in Montana, with numerous resilience and carbon-preventative measures. I'll show my political bent here and say that I hope Mayor Collins will be re-elected and able to follow through on the great start he's made on climate issues.
True to his word, the Mayor met and signed the letter the next morning. I, again, reluctantly left town. It's surprisingly hard to head out on the road alone when I feel the beginnings of good connections in a place. Helena definitely feels good to me and I wish this community well.
My ride headed southeast past Canyon Ferry Reservoir to Townsend, then up and over the Belt Mountains to the small town of Ringling. Much of this route is familiar from the cycling courses I have taught - but in reverse direction. It's a beautiful ride overall, and I'll write more about some aspects of it - fire, power transmission, and community transitions in future posts.
For now I'm exhausted after 85 miles! Good night.