As I sit down for a brief break from what has been a packed day and a half of meetings, seminars and keynotes at the National Bike Summit, I’m still amazed at how much happens here over a very little span of time. This is my third year out here and it’s great to see the enthusiasm for bike projects and advocacy work hasn’t waned a bit.
The number of people who came out remains high, and despite the economic doom and gloom, the future looks bright for bikes. That message still rang loud and clear in the halls of the Reagan Building and today on Capitol Hill as attendees headed out for visits with their state lawmakers.
I enjoy seeing some of the same faces I’ve seen in past years, as well as meeting new people who are attending for the first time. Instead of rambling on, I’ll let the photos tell the story. Here’s an edited selection. To read more about the highlights of this year, you’ll have to turn to the April 1 issue. Shameless plug, but it must be done.
Summit First-Timer: Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, a longtime supporter of cycling and Rails to Trails projects in Peoria, IL, assures summit attendees of his support for liveable communities that integrate biking and walking as modes of transportation during yesterday morning's opening plenary.
Washington Ally: Congresswoman Doris Matsui (D-CA) accepts the leadership award given by the League of American Bicyclists for her role in supporting bike/ped legislation.
Industry Stalwarts: Pat Cunnane, president of Advanced Sports Inc., Alex Doty, executive director of the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia, Mike Mercuri, VP of product and marketing at SRAM, and Steve Meineke, president of Raleigh America share ways in which they’re partnering with state and local advocacy groups during a break-out session yesterday morning.
Legal Matters: Bob Burns, head of the BPSA’s legislative committee, attorney Erika Jones and John Nedeau, president of the BPSA answer questions posed by a panel of CPSC staff about bicycle parts such as tire valves. The hearing held yesterday at CPSC headquarters in Bethesda, MD, addressed concerns regarding the new law aimed at limiting the amount of lead in kids’ bikes.
Summit Idol: Contestants of the Summit’s first-ever American Idol event vie to win for best “congressional ask performance.” The League livened up the advocacy training session with participation from attendees who aspired for the Summit Idol title. Judges included Andy Clarke as “Simon,” Catalyst’s Leslie Bohm as “Randy” and Pedro’s Chris Zigmont as “Kara.” Bike Gallery’s Jay Graves won for his hilarious performance that exemplified the "don't dos" during meetings on the Hill. Richard Fries served as MC, adding even more comic relief.
Florida Fever: Mary Jane Mark, owner of Mack Cycles and Fitness in Miami and Mike Greehan of Bikes Belong, flank Congressman John Mica (R-FL) during a photo op following the BikesPAC reception last night.
Danish Invasion: Andreas Rohl, director of Copenhagen’s bicycle program, and Amanda Eichstaedt, chair of the League, chat just before the rally on Capitol Hill this morning.
Familiar Faces: Chris King’s Chris DiStefano and Bell’s Don Palermini are among the industry representatives strolling the aisles to talk about bikes. Up early for the Rally this morning, which started at 8.
Champions on the Hill: Congressmen Blumenauer (D-OR) and Tom Petri (R-WI) give attendees tips and pumped them up for their meetings today.
Now I'm off to join my California delegation to meet with Senator Barbara Boxer. Later!