Thursday, April 16, 2009

The Bicycle Advocacy Choir Is Singing Sweet Hymns

Monterey, Calif. -- Around Tampa Bay, there are so many folks who don't understand the beauty of bicycling that now and then it's just plain fun -- if not validating -- just to be around a bunch of bicycle folks who are working their advocacy asses off around the country to improve bicycling for all of us.

Such was the case this afternoon at the Bicycle Leadership Conference where a half-dozen leaders of various national and regional bicycle and bicycle-pedestrian groups talked about their roles in lobbying for federal money, distributing the dollars to places for bicycle/ped projects and tips at the local level to get the politicos behind the movement.

To be truthful, the stuff they said was not exactly new to me but sometimes you need a spiritual re-charging in the church of bicycle advocacy to know you're on the path to pedaling salvation.

The moderator was Tim Blumenthal of Bikes Belong in Boulder, an amazingly likable fella who has a wonderful touch at moderating these rap sessions. He passes the verbal baton from bicycle activist to bicycle activist with earnest questions that allow the advocate to explain how federal legislation will unfold or how money will be distributed for bicycle projects.

Tim said the stars are aligning across the country for bicycle projects to flourish. But you can help, too. It's up to you to contact your local city council or county commission or transportation agency and let them know how helpful bicycling can be to relieve traffic or get healthier or just feel more alive or connect with more people and that you want public resources devoted to enhancing bicycling.

David Luppino will be coming over for the BRAINY Awards dinner in a few hours when SWFBUD is recognized for its advocacy work. It's amazingly humbling to be nationally recognized when I see the amazing work done by so many people here at the conference in their communities. David owned Carrollwood Bicycle Emporium when he hired me to work on advocacy, Bicycle Bash by the Bay and bicycle promotion work about 2 1/2 years ago.

That hiring led to more Tampa Bay bike stores joining forces and creating SWFBUD, so it's only fitting that David is here to share the award. David is in town for the Sea Otter Classic bike race and festival -- one of the truly great bicycle events in our country.

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