Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Getting Ready For A Capitol Visit To Peddle Bicycling

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- It's not every day you bump into the president of a big bicycle company. But there was John Burke, president of Trek Bicycle Corporation, heading into the bathroom at the restaurant in Union Station as I was heading out of the restroom.

I'm a former reporter. So even though I'm not too bright, at least I was programmed for chatty small talk. I introduced myself to John and thanked him for recognizing SWFBUD last sumnmer with a Trek advocacy award at Trek World.

"Oh you're the Florida guys," John Burke said, a smile creasing his face.

John Burke needed the bathroom break after spending a half-hour handing out beer mugs as bicycke advocacy awards to more than a dozen bike advocacy folks from around the country. He gave mugs to big guns at the League of American Bicyclists and SRAM and also to little fries at Trek bike shops in towns around the U.S. like Asheville, NC, Omaha and Atlanta.

I know people might have opinions across the board about Trek bikes and Trek's business style, but as far bike advocacy goes, Trek delivers in a golden way when it comes to supporting local and national bike advocacy. There are 25 people from Wisconsin (Trek's home state) here at the National Bike Summit, compared to 10 from Florida.


Speaking of my nine fellow Floridians here at the Summit, we're getting a good night's sleep because we're off for a full day of walking the rockhard marble floors of Congress tomorrow.

I'll be teaming with Randy Myhre, owner of Oliver's Cycle Sports, in lobbying visits to Reps. Gus Bilirakis, Kathy Castor, Suzanne Kosmas, Bill Young, and also Reps Rooney and Brown.

We'll be asking the aides of these congressional legislators to get their bosses to support passing The Complete Streets Act of 2009, a Safe Routes to High School Act, and Urban Revitalization and Livable Communities Act and also being be in the Bike Caucus.

The National Bike Summit is 10 years old and in the first year the word, "bicycle," was mentioned 12 times in the Congressional record. A decade later, it's been mentioned 170 times. Bicycle lobbying works and I'm proud to say I have been to the Summit twice in the 10 years.


We were treated to another command performance late this afternoon of political lobbying coach Stephanie Vance, a former Congressional staffer who gave us bicycle types some heady tips on what to do when visiting congressional offices.

Why are we relevant to the congressional members? We live, work and serve in the district." 'nuff said.

One final thought about bicycle lobbying and activism.

It's like riding a bike. You have to keep moving to stay upright.

I'll be moving a lot tomorrow.

It's a full day at the Capitol, so my next post will probably be late Wednesday night.

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