Posted by Jonathan Maus ( Publisher/Editor ) on March 11th, 2010 at 10:18 am
Bike industry titan Gary Fisher is hard to miss here at the Summit. A pioneer of mountain bikes in the 1980s, Fisher has gone on to be the namesake of a successful bike brand, a fashion icon, and one of only a few celebrities the bike world can call our own. He’s done a lot for biking over the years, but this is the first time he’s ever been to the National Bike Summit.
“I regret not coming before,” Fisher told me in the breakfast buffet line prior to our pep rally on Capitol Hill this morning. “I just never really made the effort.” So why this year? Fisher said his presence is the result of a classic case of arm-twisting. “Everybody kept telling me, ‘You’ve gotta’ go to this thing!'”
“We’ve got something very special here… a powerful grassroots movement.”
Fisher is just part of a huge contingent here from Trek Bicycle Corporation (Gary Fisher Bicycles is owned by Trek). There are 105 people in attendance thanks to Trek. Most of them are dealers, but a healthy handful are from their corporate offices. Trek President John Burke — who you might recall for his stirring “Inconvenient Truth” presentation at the 2007 Summit — is one of the brightest stars in a growing constellation of industry a-listers who support bike advocacy.
Fisher says he’s impressed at how professional and organized the bicycle lobby is, but adds that it’s still the passion that sets them apart. “We’ve got something very special here… a powerful grassroots movement.”
And Fisher knows a thing or two about grassroots movements. He and his friends in Marin were laughed at when they came up with this crazy thing called a mountain bike. The industry barely gave them the time of day. But eventually, the mountain bike become wildly popular and ushered in an entire new era of bicycling in America.
Hopefully, with Fisher’s help, the bike advocacy movement will have similar results.