Metro Washington. D.C. -- It's nice to know I'm a less than a day away from breaking bread with some 800 other bicyclists from around the country who are committed to growing bicycling in our communities.
It's the National Bike Summit eve, and as director of SWFBUD I'm looking forward to renewing friendships with great nationwide bike advocates and starting new ones as well this week.
The League of American Bicyclists plays host and sets up the conference for us to learn new tips about bicycle advocacy before we descend on our congressional representatives and senators on Thursday to lobby them on supporting complete streets legislation and backing funding for bike facilities.
For me, it means trading in the lycra shorts and bike helmet for a dark suit and a silk tie to chat with those in the offices of Tampa Bay-area reps such as Kathy Castor.
Joining me is Randy Myhre, owner of Oliver's Cycle Sports who is making his rookie appearance at the summit. My best advice for Randy: bring your best formal walking shoes because the hall floors of Congress are rock hard and we'll be covering a lot of ground Thursday.
I'll be here with the Florida team of participants, including Laura Hallam, the Florida Bicycle Association's executive director and my fellow Florida bicycle blogger JHop of http://spokesnfolks.blogspot.com/ who does a nice job keeping South Floridians current with bicycle news from S. Fla.
Who attends these summits?
Any committed bicylist or bicycle planner or bike advocate who can swing the $375 League fee for the Summit, and travel and lodging costs.
They're bicycle advocates, bike shop owners, planning agency staffers, bike club leaders and bike organization chiefs trying to make a difference. It could mean increasing bike education programs or acquiring money for trails or simply getting DOTs around the country to be more sensitive to the safety and access needs of bicyclists.
I'm glad to be here and will try to share highlights from this week's bicycle summit.
To save on lodging costs, I'm camping out in a spare room at the Rockville, Md. home of my college pal Laura Sarantis, who is an avid bicyclist and bike commuter to her local library job. I'll be commuting to downtown Washington with her husband, Guy, who works in a bookstore not too far from the Reagan Convention Center.