WASHINGTON, D.C. -- I'm ready to climb The Hill Thursday.
Capitol Hill, that is, with more than 500 bicycle activists, advocates and retail store owners to lobby Congress on supporting several bills about bicycling.
I'm here in the nation's capitol representing SWFBUD (South West Florida Bicycle United Dealers) -- the retail bike shop alliance representing seven bicycle stores in the Tampa Bay area.
I'm attending the National Bike Summit, a gathering of some of the most active bicycle advocates in the country to lobby our Congressmen to support legislation that would bolster bicycling on our national parks, on our streets, for kids who bike to school and for a national bicycle route across the country. The Summit is under the auspicaes of the League of American Bicyclists, who have partnered with Boulder-based Bikes Belong to put on the National Bike Summit.
In the Tampa Bay area, I'm a bicyclephile, a guy who's slightly crazy about cycling as a wonderful way of life to experience the world. But here at the National Bike Summit, I'm just another, let us say, bicycle enthusiast.
I'm here with seven other bicycle advocates from the great state of Florida -- and we have appointments Thursday to stop by the offices of Sen. Bill Nelson and three members of the House. But we do plan to drop off pro-bicycling packets at all the other offices of the Congressional members who represent districts in Florida. So, we're going to wear out our shoes visiting the offices of the more than 20 Congressmen who serve Florida.
Tomorrow is going to be a full day of chatting with mostly aides of the Florida's Congressional delegation. The message is simple -- please join the Congressional Bike Caucus and vote yes on pro-bicycle bills taht will do everything from increasing access for bicyclists on roads and in national parks to making it safer for school kids to bike to class.
The National Bike Summit began about eight years ago with 20 guys in bike shorts lobbying Congressmen to suppport cycling. Now, a record number of National Bike Summit participants dressed in snazzy business wear will join the thousands of other folks trying to get an ear of their Congressmen. We have had two days of conference break-outs and strategy sessions on everything from cyclists rights and building trails to advocating bicycling as useful and practical transportation in our congested urban cores across the country.
Stay tuned for coverage Thursday night, when I wrap up my day in the halls of Congress.