DENVER, CO (BRAIN)—The Democratic National Convention officially kicked off yesterday, but for Bikes Belong it got going on Sunday.
"Denver mayor John Hickenlooper, Tom Plant of Colorado governor Bill Ritter's office, and I spoke to about 200 people at our bike assembly warehouse in north Denver," said Tim Blumenthal, executive director of Bikes Belong. "Seven or eight TV crews and perhaps an equal number of print journalists were there to capture the moment.
"Then close to 150 of us—led by Mayor Hickenlooper and Minneapolis mayor R.T. Rybak—pedaled about 3.5 miles to the Denver Performing Arts Center's Sculpture Park, where we were greeted by a large crowd of convention-goers, local residents, media and a diverse bunch of activists who have come to Denver to publicly express their views."
According to Blumenthal, Humana has done an amazing job backing Bikes Belong's effort at the DNC.
"You should see the bike stations they designed and built—in Denver, there are seven," Blumenthal said. "The tents, the signage, the maps, the staff clothing, the computerized bike and registration card scanning—all elements are so professional and visually appealing.
"We are making 1,000 bikes available for free each day of the convention, between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. We'll provide bikes to delegates, media, elected officials and the public. All people need to do is put down a credit card so that you're responsible for the bike if you don't return it."
Bikes Belong's goal is show that bicycling is an ideal way to make short trips in big U.S. cities; it hopes to total 10,000 rides and at least 25,000 miles of pedaling at both conventions.
"We plan to make a lasting, positive impression on everyone who attends," Blumenthal said.
PHOTO by Barry Staver: Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper (center) along with (L to R) Humana's Nate Kvamme, Bikes Belong's executive director Tim Blumenthal, Bikes Belong¹s Elizabeth Train, and Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak launched Freewheelin in Denver on August 24, leading 150 cyclists on a celebratory ride through the city.