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Oberstar Headlines Panelists at BLC

Published February 25, 2011

MONTEREY, CA (BRAIN)—James Oberstar, the former Minnesota Congressman who successfully worked for 30 years to dramatically increase federal support for bicycling, will be a key panelist at the 2011 Bicycle Leadership Conference.

"Anybody who has ever heard Mr. Oberstar speak will realize what an honor it is to have him at the BLC," said John Nedeau, president of the Bicycle Product Suppliers Association, which hosts the conference. "This man will provide timely, pivotal guidance for the leaders of our industry."

Oberstar will serve on a panel to discuss how federal funding benefits bicycling and what the industry can do to ensure that this cost-effective investment continues.

Tim Blumenthal, CEO of Bikes Belong and moderator of the panel discussion on federal funding for bicycling, has described Oberstar as one of the three most influential American cyclists.

"The annual federal investment in bicycling grew from $20 million to more than $1 billion during Mr. Oberstar‟s time in Congress," Blumenthal said. "He has maintained a clear vision of the many ways that bicycling benefits our nation and he has led the effort to make cycling safer and better for all Americans."

With all government funding under scrutiny, bicycle advocates and the industry need to sharpen their message. Mindful of the crucial role that federal funding plays in making bicycling more appealing coast to coast, this panel has been selected to lead off the 2011 BLC.

Other members of this panel include John Burke, CEO of Trek Bicycles, and Randy Neufeld, Cycling Fund Director for SRAM.

Oberstar served as the representative for Minnesota‟s 8th Congressional District from 1975 until the end of 2010. During his tenure, Oberstar rose to the chairmanship of the critically important House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee.

An avid cyclist, Oberstar has been a champion of creating trails for cycling and walking to promote healthy living and more active lifestyles. In 2005 he authored and directed the passage of the inaugural federal Safe Routes to Schools program—a component of the SAFETEA-LU act, a $286 billion program that funds transportation infrastructure. Oberstar often talks about converting our nation's transportation system "from a hydrocarbon-based system to a carbohydrate-based system."

"Having Mr. Oberstar speak at the BLC will provide a very dynamic opening to the conference. As a former "insider‟ no longer constrained by politics, he‟ll bring a fresh perspective to our industry," said Frank Yohannan, CEO and president of the Sea Otter Classic, which hosts the BLC.

Online registration is now open for the 2011 Bicycle Leadership Conference at (click on link).

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