Posted by Jonathan Maus ( Publisher/Editor ) on September 12th, 2007 at 9:27 pm
I got a late start this morning, but the timing turned out to be fortuitous.
At our lunch stop today at Steamboat Creek (I’m sure you’ve heard of it) I walked past the Bike Gallery service tent and guess who I saw? None other than U.S. Congressman James Oberstar. He was being fitted to a new Trek Madone by Bike Gallery owner Jay Graves.
As I waited for Oberstar to get rolling, I looked back and noticed U.S. Representative Peter DeFazio.
These two are like the 1-2 punch of bike power in the Halls of Congress. They are not only passionate advocates for making bicycles a respected part of America’s transportation system, but with Democrats in power, they control the fate of billions of dollars in federal transportation funds.
This was a rare opportunity to share some time in the saddle with them. Luckily the route started with a gradual climb, so the pace was slow and conversational. I chatted with DeFazio about some of the issues facing Portland. It’s always interesting to hear what someone like him knows (and doesn’t know) about what’s going on with bikes in our city. I’ve met DeFazio several times, but never had the chance to talk at length.
At camp tonight, both men addressed the crowd. Oberstar was like a “rock star” and riled up the crowd with a rousing speech. I snapped his photo with women under each arm and one guy even asked for his autograph. He implored everyone to become advocates for bikes.
I’d like to write more, but I need to catch the last shuttle back to camp.