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At Interbike, Blumenauer urges stronger voice from industry

Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on September 22nd, 2010 at 10:02 am

Blumenauer opens Interbike-3
Blumenauer speaking at Interbike 2010.
(Photos © J. Maus)

U.S. Congressman Earl Blumenauer has never been to Interbike, so he used his first appearance to implore leading members of the U.S. bike industry to make more noise about the the economic boost the bike industry gives to America. In addition to dollars, Blumenauer told the crowd that selling bikes makes sense for many of our country's greatest challenges. Here's an excerpt from his remarks:

"This work you are doing is a convergence that is unique... I know of no other industry where all the elements come together — health care, energy, the economy, revitalizing our neighborhoods. I defy you to find any other industry that can do very well economically while also saving the planet. I'm hopeful that we are able to carry this message forward to ride the wave of a bicycle renaissance in America."

BikesPAC fundraiser for Blumenauer-3
Blumenauer at a fundraising
dinner at V-Bar in the Venetian
Hotel last night.

Last night, Blumenauer was the guest of honor at a fundraising event hosted by BikesPAC, a political action committee run by Bikes Belong that lobbies on behalf of bicycling. Before making a few remarks to the crowd, I had the chance to chat with the Congressman. He said the bike industry is at "the intersection of all the things we care about." Blumenauer was optimistic about the future of bicycling in America, saying that after 120 years we're finally "on the verge" of once becoming a country that takes bikes seriously. "But," he added as a cautionary note, "will it be in 15-20 months or 15-20 years?"

Earl Blumenauer at Interbike-4
Blumenauer took a page out of US
DOT Sec Ray LaHood's book when
he announced the opening of
Interbike 2010.

During his address this morning, Blumenauer also took the opportunity to rally the troops. He shared that nationally, the bike industry is worth $6 billion and it employs over 1 million people. "And that six billion," he said, "are expenditures that make the community stronger." Blumenauer also reminded industry members that America is "deeply in trouble" because we use 1/10th of the world's supply of petroleum just to get back and forth to work every day in cars with only one person inside them. "If every American between 10-65 years old biked or walked an hour a day we could reduce our consumption of petroleum by one-third and we wouldn't be worried about morbidly obese 6th graders."

Blumenauer ended by asking for help in healing the wounded relationships and stalled political process in Washington D.C. "Bikepartisanship is something that can bring people together. It doesn't have to be part of this negative spiral. It can help not just the economy, but it can also heal the country."

Blumenauer's presence is not only a sign that the bicycle industry's advocacy efforts have matured greatly in the past decade, it's also a sign that he needs the industry's help and support on Capitol Hill.

— See all our Interbike 2010 coverage here and view the latest photos in the gallery.

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Comments
  • Racer X September 22, 2010 at 10:22 am

    Yes...if one does the math...1/2 or so of our trade deficit is fuel and cars for SOV commuting.

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  • Michael M. September 22, 2010 at 11:15 am

    This morning on NPR's Morning Edition there was a report about African economic outlook in which the interviewee mentioned how much progress had been made by describing some place or another in which years ago you would've seen most people on bicycles, but now you see so many people driving cars. This was being touted as a sign of progress and new prosperity. (I'd look up the link, but I'm pressed for time.)

    We have a long, long way to go. I think Blumenauer is being overly optimistic.

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  • BURR September 22, 2010 at 11:44 am

    Is he talking about the US bike industry? The same bike industry that for years has catered primarily to recreational cyclists and virtually ignored transportation and utility cyclists? The one that brought us an entirely unsatisfactory and insufficient reflector standard instead of a true lighting standard? good luck with that!

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  • Kman September 22, 2010 at 12:00 pm

    I do that! (especially when I talk to city and state officials) I also do that when I talk to businesses- more restaurant and hotels.

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  • spencer September 22, 2010 at 3:36 pm

    Every time I end up alone in my car (rarely), I want to kick my own ass. More has to be done to eliminate SOV's and car trips in general. Go Earl!

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  • rwl1176 September 23, 2010 at 10:02 am

    All this is jibberish coming from US Congressman who CLOSED over 120 miles of singletrack in the Mt Hood area.... Trails mountainbikers had been riding and maintaining for over 2 decades. How bicycle friendly is that?

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  • Joe Rowe September 23, 2010 at 8:53 pm

    I'd give Earl some respect if he put actions behind all his speeches.

    He has only sponsored a few small bills that have became law. He even voted against gays and lesbians under the guise of compromise, to preserve marriage between men and women. Oooh he then later said he's "sorry".

    But more importantly, it is what he's failed to do.

    - failed to do anything against the $4 billion, drive alone to the Portland sprawl project called the CRC

    - failed to even mention impeachment, the one tool that would have worked to stop illegal wars costing us 500 Billion!!

    - failed to stop torture, failed to speak out about judges promoted for justification of torture

    The boy is a poster child for a lap dog; he would sell out his values if his fellow democrats told him they needed harmony for the team.

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  • Winnie Ruth September 24, 2010 at 10:30 pm

    way to tie it in Mr. Blumenauer. Let's educate kids in bicycle maintenance instead of drivers' education. How about that for a radical change?

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