Nat’l Bike Summit Archive

Robin Bylenga, PedalChic

Posted January 14, 2013 By Frank

PedalChic's Robin Bylenga

PedalChic‘s Robin Bylenga

in Greenville, SC

in Greenville, SC

Today the story’s about an entrepreneur who suffered through the humiliations of getting laid off and worked her way back up.

Along the way she came upon the idea of catering to women cyclists.

Meet Robin at the National Women’s Bicycling Forum in Washington, DC Monday March 4th.

Show #47 Listen to Robin: Stream, Flash player, or subscribe through iTunes.

Carolyn Szczepanski, Women on Bikes

Posted November 6, 2012 By Frank

Carolyn rides around Washington D.C.

She’s the Communications Director for the League of American Bicyclists, so you can imagine, she’s on message.

Carolyn shares the emphasis the League is placing on getting more women on bikes.

Why the special emphasis?

Can’t women handle this on their own?

Yes, but the percentage of women on bikes isn’t keeping up with men. There’s more of them, but in relation to men, their numbers have been dropping. In part that’s why she helped to host the National Womens Bicycle Summit in Long Beach in September.

When she’s not messaging for the League, she’s writing for Momentum magazine and Bicycle Times; two of my favorites.

We discuss so many issues, like high school in Houston, her home town today in Washington, D.C., and how much progress there’s been in building bicycle-friendly infrastructure. Of course, there’s Capital BikeShare operating in DC. She shares how that’s made a difference.

We cover so many topics, it takes me a moment to realize what many of you who already know her know: she’s fun to talk to, and she knows all about bike advocacy issues.

Show #43 Listen to Carolyn: Stream, Flash player, or subscribe through iTunes.

Bike Tourism Industry Red Hot

Posted March 10, 2011 By Frank

The bike tourism panel led by Adventure Cycling’s Jim Sayer included Dakota Bike Tours’ Jim Books, Wisconsin Bike Fed’s Amanda White, and Cycle Oregon’s Jerry Norquist, among others.

I arrived early for this would be my last session of the National Bike Summit; it’s a little overwhelming, all this good news about cycling advocacy, but this would turn out to be the best good news. The cycling tourism industry is red hot, all 120 attendees agreed. I can’t remember when I’d fallen in with such an optimistic crowd. Call it ‘active vacations”, or ‘gas-free vacations’, people who take them come back for more.

Adventure Cycling Association‘s Jim Sayer passed around a page of facts and figures. For example, Wisconsin’s calculated that out-of-state visitors traveling to the state for cycling opportunities generated $532 million in 2009. Minnesota, hoping to exhibit leadership in this area, hosted its first conference on bike tourism; expecting maybe 100, they got 250 to attend. Trek Travel’s Tania Worgull, “we continue to add new destinations each year to accommodate the growing interest in bike tours”. Cycle Oregon‘s annual ride sold out in 36 hours last month.

A little Q&A after the keynotes, Andy Clarke quizzes NYC DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan and Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) who forgot to remove his pant leg protector.

I woke to the sound of my smartphone alarm; it felt like 3:30am to me, so it’s easy to hit the snooze, but then I remember why I’m getting up so seemingly early: it’s Day 2 of the National Bike Summit here in Washington, DC, but I don’t start moving yet. Like I do at home, I start by checking emails, not many this early, and by reading the New York Times. That’s where I have my first encounter with NYC’s Commissioner, Department of Transportation, Janette Sadik-Khan. The paper’s reporting on the suit being brought by disgruntled neighbors relating to a 19-block bike lane in Park Slope in Brooklyn. Really, you gotta be some kinda curmudgeon to find fault with this bicycle infrastructure improvement, and it’s so much more than just a bike lane; traffic is slowed through the neighborhood making it safer for kids, the elderly and cyclists least of all. I’ll never get called as a juror now.

Then it’s off to the conference where the opening plenary session gets started with Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) who begins with a little imagination play: “picture in your mind, around the city all the people stuck in traffic on their way to exercise on a stationary bicycle!” That strikes the right tone with this standing-room-only crowd of almost 800, and he doesn’t relent. “This wave is cresting,” he says of the bicycle movement in this country, it’s “a tide that will not be stopped.” He wont be happy until he sees more people burning calories, not fossil fuels.

Earl’s like the warm-up band for the main event, and the audience knows it and plays along. Janette Sadik-Khan’s up next and everyone’s here to listen to her; she wastes little time before offering her advice. “We can’t wait for Washington,” she exhorts, “the movement is here!” Big applause. Alluding to her feature in the NYTimes, she admits “it’s painstaking work and setbacks are to be expected when you’re in the business of change.” But it’s worth it, “New York has the safest streets in a hundred years!” Applause.

She has a surprise for us. How can small cities benefit from the work that NYC, San Francisco, Chicago, Portland, Boston and 10 other cities have done when none of the specs can be found in the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD)? Now they can simply download the new NACTO Urban Bikeway Design Guide and get to work. Thunderous applause as she returns to her seat, which I can’t help but notice is just 3 from mine, so when she gets up to sneak out the side door I figure nothing’s gonna top this, so I make my own early exit. One minute later as I’m wandering through the empty vendors’ booths there she is, obviously talking to a reporter, something about a “spurious suit”; it’s a short call. She hangs up, turns to me, looks at my name tag and says, “Newport Beach, that’s a beautiful place to ride.” I can’t argue with that, but it’s only after I giver her my card that I realize my name tag says Corona del Mar; she knows her geography, too.

Nat’l Bike Summit Kicks Off

Posted March 8, 2011 By Frank

I’m a first-timer so where else should I go? The First Timer’s Orientation which kicks off the League of American Bicyclists‘ National Bike Summit in Washington, DC tonight.

League President Andy Clarke comes in to make sure we get the right message then he hands it off to Jim Moore, Moore’s Bicycle Shop in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, who tells fantastic stories of the under privileged who get access to bikes, then IMBA‘s Mike Van Abel talks about kids, bikes and dirt, but it’s all just a warm-up act for the session’s main performer: Stephanie Vance takes the stage and wows us all with her glib commentary about the basics of advocacy. Her Top 10 Things Not To Do when visiting your Congressman belongs on late night television; she’s that good! Plus she tosses lots of swag to the audience, not just for right answers, but any participation; pretty soon she’s got the standing-room-only crowd rockin’!

Then it’s time for the evening’s main event: dinner. I have the great good fortune to sit next to Paula Bawer, DOT guru for Bicycle Safety and Safe Routes to School. She describes a program starting next month with AAPAR that certifies Junior High/Middle School PhysEd teachers on how to teach safe biking skills to their students. That’s a great age to work with.

Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood takes the stage to a standing ovation. “I stand before a sea of political leaders here tonight,” gets the crowd going and he keeps this friendliest of audiences roaring and applauding all through his remarks.

in DC at the Nat’l Bike Summit

Posted March 8, 2011 By Frank

Copenhagen cement mixer? No, I’m in front of the Swedish Embassy in Washington where InterBike is hosting a few manufacturers, but not this working two-wheeler.

I’m here for the League of American Bicyclists’ National Bike Summit; my first time attending.

Washington has an extensive bike share system. I could swipe my credit card and roll, but I only have a mile to walk back to my hotel. It’s a little chilly for this California fair weather rider, but on a warmer day I’d be all over this red beauty.

Tonight the conference begins with dinner and a keynote from US Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. I’m expecting massive crowds, over 700 registered to attend, so I’m walking to dinner, too, because I know already this town is light on bike racks.