A lone cyclist on Providence Road pushed Eric Cable to run for City Council.
Commuting to his uptown job, Cable grew annoyed with the man who always rode his bike during the morning rush, zigging through cars as they backed up at lights.
So annoyed that in June he created a website and stood at the corner of Providence and Sharon Amity holding a sign that advertised it: banbicyclesonprovidence.com.
The sign, along with the site, a petition and a series of homemade YouTube videos decrying “Bicycle Boy” – and other bikers using major roads at rush hour – landed Cable on local TV news. His campaign went viral as bicycle advocates from around the world reacted strongly.
It also sparked something in Cable.
“That kind of lit the fire,” he says. “I always was kind of interested in ... city politics. But that was the catalyst.”
Now Cable, 41, is making his first try for office. The sole Libertarian running, he’s seeking an at-large seat on City Council.
An Ohio native, he moved to Charlotte in 2006. He works at Wells Fargo as a database developer. The U.S. Navy veteran has eclectic interests.
He plays bagpipes with the Shriners. He sings chorus with Opera Carolina. And, pursuing an interest sparked during the 2002 Winter Olympics, he helped start a Charlotte-area curling club.
Cable became a Libertarian in 2008. Before that he was a self-described Reagan Republican. He says he left the party “after Sarah Palin.”
Like many Libertarians, he considers himself a fiscal conservative and social liberal who favors limited government.
He opposed the city’s $8 million contribution toward an uptown ballpark for the Charlotte Knights. He would not have supported using city money to upgrade Bank of America Stadium.
Cable says he also opposes the kind of closed-door negotiating that took place between the city and the Panthers.
“If I was on council, every time somebody said, ‘Let’s go into closed session,’ I would say, ‘How about not,’” Cable said.
He’s generally against bond financing, preferring to pay-as-you-go.
Cable, who often rides a bus to work, does support a streetcar. He would consider raising the sales tax to pay for it. He also would spend more on light rail.
Libertarians make up less than 1 percent of Charlotte voters. No Libertarian has been elected in Charlotte. Cable knows he faces long odds, just as his campaign treasurer, Alex Vuchnich, did when he ran for council two years ago.
“There’s no deceiving ourselves that it is a tremendous battle to get recognition,” says Vuchnich, who got 2 percent of the at-large vote. “But having that name on the ballot makes that many more voters aware that there is another option.”
Cable says being a Libertarian would give him a kind of independence.
“If somebody has an idea, I’ll listen to it,” he says. “I’m not going to automatically agree or disagree with somebody just because they have a ‘D’ or an ‘R’ on their name.”
Cable, by the way, has ended his campaign against the Providence Road biker. His last blog post is headlined, “I’m over it.”
“That individual has reached out to me,” he wrote. “I have learned why he HAS to ride a bike. … (H)e gets up every morning, gets on his bike regardless of the weather, and pedals himself to a job he hates, just to pay his bills. He just wants to be left alone, and I don’t blame him.”
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