Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Peopleforbikes.org Campaign Unveiled Tonight

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- One million voices to improve the future of bicycling.

That's all we're asking.

Bikes Belong, the national bicycle advocacy group in Boulder, unveiled a nationwide campaign tonight before come 700 bicycle advocates gathered here to lobby our national lawmakers this week to back more funding and legislation to help bicycling in our towns and communities. The official campaign gets geared up at the Sea Otter Classic next month in Monterey, Calif., which I was lucky to attend last year.

The campaign is simple. Log onto http://www.peopleforbikes.org/ and click on the "sign the pledge" at the top of the right column.

Tim Blumenthal, the face of Bikes Belong, narrated the images behind the peopleforbikes.org campaign before a crowd of bicyclists from around the country packed into the conference center only a 10-minute walk from the White House.

The motto: "We all ride. Now we can ride as one."

From the campaign brocuhure: "Millions of Americans ride bicycles and recognize the economic, social and physical benefits. But, only a fraction of those who ride have stood up to help advance the cause of bicycling in America.

"The goal of peopleforbikes.org is to gather a million names of support, to speak with one powerful voice -- to let policy makers, the media and the public know that bicycling is important and should be promoted."

My bicycling pal, Laura Sarantis, who with her husband Guy, has been graciouis to share their Rockville, Md. home with me during my stay for the Bike Summit, signed on and signed up for the pledge only a few minutes after I got back to her house tonight. That's the spirit.

I hope you, too, sign the pledge. It takes a mere minute or two. Check out the video. It's 1:26 of sweet bicycling images and words.

More words that make sense -- "Imagine a place where one bike lane leads to the next (what a glorious world that would be in Tampa Bay). Where trails, bridges and underpasses lead safely to exactly where you want to go. And regardless of your bicycling experience or fitness, you can pedal smoothly across the street, across town or even across the country. We believe this can be a reality and that, by unting, we can make our world a better place to ride."

Bikes make us better, the brochure says -- and you already know that. Some things to share with your friends:

-- Nearly 50 percent of trips Americans make are less than three miles-- why not ride your bike.

-- Bicycling just three hours a week can reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke by 50 percent.

-- Every mile pedaled rather than driven cuts one pound of CO2 pollution.

-- On a round-trip commute of 10 miles, a bicyclist saves about $10 daily.

So, let's unite and together we can make bicycling better. The last message: "Bikes keep us healthy, carry us from point A to point B, save us from high gas prices, make our air cleaner and our roads less congested.

"They fill our lives with adventure and excitement, relaxing our minds and energizing our souls. Become part of the movement to make our world a better place to ride at peopleforbikes.org.

* * *

I caught the bicycling spirit today, and I wasn't even cycling. I hoofed 1.3 miles to the Metro station, took the train into downtown Washington, D.C. and then walked another mile to the conference center. No traffic, no cars, no headaches. It was a lovely walk to and from the station, with temps hitting the 60s here in Washington.

It was great to see Team Florida here at the National Bike Summit, including SWFBUD store owner Randy Myhre; Florida Bicycle Association director Laura Hallam and some bike advocates I recall from last Summit sojourn in 2008 -- Mary Jane Mack of Mack Cycles in Miami and Gary Mendenhall of J&B Importers, Inc of Miami.

It was also nice to meet my blogging comrade Jophn Hopkins of the Green Mobility Network of Miami and Acme Bicycle Shops owner Earl Lang of Punta Gorda. Team Florida is 10 strong, and we plan to cover a lot of hallway ground in Congress on Thursday when we lobby our federal legislators to back biking.

Other folks I enjoyed catching up with today were pal David Levy, executive producer of Pedal America, who plans to come to Tampa and film the Seminole Heights Bicycle Club; Krista Rettig, Trek's bicycle advocacy director; Dorian Grilley, executive director of the Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota and Keith Laughlin, president of the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy.

* * *

Washington is a city of bicyclists. Lots of fixies roaming the streets, and big ol' coasters, too, with rear racks to carry gear.

And thank you Alliance for Biking & Walking for the 2010 Advocacy Awards reception at Hotel Harrington after the Bike Summit opening reception.

Wednesday is a day of breakout sessions before Thursday's visit to the halls of Congress.

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