The Los Angeles mayor, Antonio Villaraigosa, is the latest convert to cycling advocacy. Photograph: Damian Dovarganes/AP
You might think that Los Angeles, the city that has spent a century being defined and shaped by the car, would be an unfriendly place for cycling.
You would be right. But proof that God is a cyclist came last month when Los Angeles' mayor, Antonio Villaraigosa, decided for some unknown reason to go for a bike ride.
The prolific LA cycle blogger Ted Rogers was one of those registering their surprise: "For his first four years in office, Villaraigosa never let the word bicycle pass his lips in public."
The story gets better, although not for the mayor, who experienced an immediate road-to-Damascus conversion. The shattering revelation came on Venice Boulevard, where a taxi pulled out across his path and he fell from his bike. Today, with eight metal pins keeping his broken elbow together, the mayor is Los Angeles' latest convert to cycle advocacy.
He declares that he wants to change the city's culture in favour of cyclists; yesterday he held a "cycling summit" at the city's transport HQ and went some way to winning over what Rogers calls "a highly sceptical house of roughly 300 bicyclists". His suggestion at the meeting that helmets should be made mandatory – he was wearing one when he had his accident – was reportedly met with "audible dismay", according to the LA Streets Blog.
But he has pledged $3.2m (£2m) for cycling in the city this year, and committed to building 40 miles of bikeways each year for the next five years. The event, says Rogers, was a first step, but it was a "huge, and hugely successful" one.
As providence appears to be smiling on cycling at the moment – with bike hire schemes popping up all over the place – which other cities around the world are most in need of change? And for that matter, who's next for cycling conversion?
Jeremy Clarkson, or celebrity chef James Martin?