We started day two with loads of incredible leadership from both sides of the aisle who have been able to make an incredible case and change for bicycles in their communities.
Longterm champion Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) kicked off the morning by firing up the crowd yet again, his trademark bowtie and bike pin make him quite memorable.
“I have not been anywhere in our country where I have not seen your allies, or where your message does not resonate.”
Earl Blumenauer (D-OR)
His message was one that got our early morning crowd fired up, knowing that America is coming around to the concept of bicycles as a solution to lots of current and future issues we face. After a few more cups of coffee, we got even more fired up as the remaining speakers continued to inspire us 750+ advocates representing all 50 states and 3 Canadian providences.
Bringing a fresh perspective from the midwest to the table, Indianapolis mayor Greg Ballard (R) and his efforts to make his city more bicycle friendly, just because he knows it’s the right thing to do. This was particularly exciting to hear Mayor Ballard’s experience with bicycling in his city because our good friend from years at the summit, Jamison Hutchins, works for him and has helped implemented some amazing facilities.
Mayor Ballard’s message is something we think is most applicable to SLO County, in that it is heavily rooted in helping to foster a robust local economy and job opportunities.
“What is my job as mayor? I tell people very candidly, it’s all about talent attraction — it’s not because the Mayor likes bikes […] We’re all in competition for young talent and young families […] And young people, millennials are looking for bike lanes. They’re looking for trails. They’re looking for that connectivity — and that’s what I’m trying to do.”
Mayor Greg Ballard (R), Indianapolis, IN
Congressman Tom Petri (R-WI) and Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) followed these impressive speakers with their continued message of a bicycle friendly America. Their amendment last year was pivotal in protecting biking and walking during last year’s transportation bill reauthorization.
“At the end of the day, we were successful with the Cardin-Cochran provision because of the people in this room. You’re smart. You figured out a strategy to win. Rather than just make a point, we won. The strategy is local control.”
Ben Cardin (D-MD)
After these opening speakers (and a few more cups of coffee) we split up to engage in many of the panel sessions which addressed bicycle riding at all levels. One big thing we took away from today: the future of bicycles in America is stronger, more inclusive and more sophisticated than ever, and the SLO County Bicycle Coalition is involved in all of it!
For now, we need to fuel up with some dinner before a day meeting with legislators on Capitol Hill tomorrow. We will keep you updated tomorrow (including some more about the sessions today) wish us luck, and GO BICYCLES!
Follow the conversation on Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag #nbs13 .
For more on the National Bike Summit and to hear more updates from our host, the League of American Bicyclists, view their blog here.