While ever less than 50% of voters really love their bicycle transport, rain hail or shine, there will be mayoral candidates in the shadows ready to ride an anti-bike backlash to office. Toronto is seeing it with some jerk named Rob Ford. New York can expect it. Even Copenhagen has had a mild dose. The ideal solution would be to go all-out Marinettistyle, and destroy the city our fathers built for their cars, and build new ones that cars cannot access, oriented instead around bike traffic and bike access to buildings. Protect cyclists from the wind and rain, as we protect drivers and people on trains, and voila: you would have a bike network that no politician could ever attack. But without a political majority of bike nuts, right now, we can’t make that happen.
A better approach, is going unseen. A bicycling network that capitalises most strongly on non-vehicular easements, while only making very sparing use of the road network for a handful of cycle tracks, is less likely to be the target of othernessbashing. Its greatest threat comes from the car loving majority voter who sees the off road network of trails as an escape for recreation, and sees bike commuters as spoilers. But that threat can be lessened, I think, with line markings and signage reminding walkers that, for some people, trails are their eco friendly way of getting to school.
The post-industrial city is a swiss-cheese of easements, that few people even consider. A bike strategy that is future mayor-proofed, would signpost those easements for cyclists, and orient bike friendly development toward it. Fill those easements with cyclists, however possible. More cyclists on arteries, will bring more cyclists to the politically contentious cycle tracks your next mayor may want to rip out.