Pedaling Progress

Pedaling Progress

Mayor Gene McGee's Trail to Transformation in Ridgeland

In central Mississippi, where the Natchez Trace Parkway weaves through the picturesque town of Ridgeland, a dedicated leader is pedaling a path of positive change. Meet Mayor Gene McGee, a visionary and avid cyclist, whose tireless efforts have transformed Ridgeland into a shining example of progress, health, and community spirit.

Every morning, Mayor McGee mounts his bike to journey along the scenic Natchez Trace Parkway. It's not just a ride; it's a statement—an embodiment of his advocacy for healthy living in a region known for comfort food. “I first became interested in riding in 1997 after I signed up to ride in our City’s premiere cycling event—The Natchez Trace Century Ride. Initially, I wanted to participate in the ride as a way to promote the event, and I signed up for the 25-mile route using a bike I borrowed from a good friend,” said McGee. “Since then, cycling has become a big part of my life and on average, I cycle more than 150 miles per week.”

His commitment to well-being goes beyond exercise; Mayor McGee and his wife, Jane, proudly embrace a vegan lifestyle, challenging stereotypes and leading by example. “My focus is encouraging good health, exercise, and a family atmosphere. Cycling fits with all of that,” said McGee.

To the community, Mayor McGee is not just a leader; he is a symbol of resilience and forward-thinking. His passion for cycling extends beyond his morning rides, as he immerses himself in the local cycling community. In fact, a local ride has been named in his honor—the "McGee Lungbuster," a challenging route that echoes his dedication to pushing boundaries. This ride has become an integral part of the annual Fat Tire Festival at the Ridgeland Mountain Bike Trails, an event that celebrates not only the thrill of biking but also the sense of community that Mayor McGee has cultivated.

Under his leadership, the City of Ridgeland has earned the prestigious title of Bicycle Friendly Community since 2006. “The City’s adopted transportation plan includes the requirement of incorporating trails on any new street that is built, and our goal is for every citizen to be able to get on a trail safely and enjoy them,” said McGee. Ridgeland has also been designated Tree City USA since 2009, showcasing the city's dedication to preserving its natural beauty.

For the past 27 years, Mayor McGee's guidance and business acumen have been instrumental in shaping Ridgeland into a model city. His belief in planning for growth and sound financial management has positioned the city to seize opportunities and maximize its potential. The City of Ridgeland boasts family-friendly programs and activities, including bike and walking trails that draw residents and visitors alike. “Our easily accessible trails provide a beautiful and safe area for our residents and visitors to enjoy outside activities,” said McGee. “We’re award-winning for being the Healthiest Hometown in Mississippi, a Bicycle Friendly Community, a Tree City USA, and even a Google eCity!”

Mayor Gene McGee's journey is not just about politics; it's a narrative of passion, perseverance, and progress. As Ridgeland thrives under his leadership, it serves as an inspiration for other cities, proving that even in the deep South, positive change is not only possible but achievable through dedication and a forward-looking vision. Mayor McGee has built a legacy that extends beyond politics—a legacy of health, community, and a brighter future for Ridgeland and the South at large.