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2014 National Bike Summit

Welcome to BikePortland's coverage of the 2014 National Bike Summit in Washington D.C. This coverage is brought to you by Planet Bike. Browse our stories below and click the headline for the full story.

Change the focus, tell a story, take a seat: 3 takeaways from the Summit

Thursday, March 6th, 2014
National Bike Summit
The League set up a photo booth
in the lobby of this year's Summit.
(Photo by J. Maus/BikePortland)

—BikePortland's coverage from Washington D.C. is made possible by Planet Bike.

Each year as I fly home from the National Bike Summit I think back to what trends and topics left the biggest impression. There are so many threads weaving through the bike movement right now that it's hard to pick out just a few. That being said, below are my key takeaways from this year's Summit...

Time to change the bike-centric lens

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Oregon advocates find warm reception on Capitol Hill

Wednesday, March 5th, 2014
Bike Summit Lobby Day on Capitol Hill-11
Oregon bike advocates in the Capitol Hill office of Rep. Greg Walden (R-2nd). Left to right: Blane Meier, owner of First City Cycles in Oregon City; Harry Daalgard, Travel Oregon; Brian Potwin, Commute Options, Bend; Rep. Walden; Alison Graves, executive director of Cycle Oregon (seated); Brian Jorgensen, student at Lees-McCrae College; Dr. A.J. Zelada, advocate and former member of the Oregon Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee; Mike Cosgrove, gravel road riding evangelist from John Day.
(Photos by J. Maus/BikePortland)

—BikePortland's coverage from Washington D.C. is made possible by Planet Bike.

Oregon advocates might have the easiest job of any of the state delegations here at the National Bike Summit. No matter which of the seven offices they entered during the annual bike lobby day on Capitol Hill, they were greeted with smiles and support.
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One big way 'Women Bike' is changing the face of advocacy

Wednesday, March 5th, 2014
Suepinda Keith, bike advocate.
(Photo by J. Maus/BikePortland)

—BikePortland's coverage from Washington D.C. is made possible by Planet Bike.

There's been a lot of talk in the hallways here at the National Bike Summit about the Women's Cycling Forum. Started just two years ago as a single panel discussion before the Summit, it has turned into a full-day of programming with well over 400 attendees. The sessions were packed, the energy was high, and its success has led to interesting conversations about how it compares with the Summit, it's larger and more established sibling.

To be clear, the Women's Cycling Forum is a product of the League's Women Bike program, an event to make the summit, and bike advocacy in general, more welcoming to women. It was launched in response to a growing awareness that American women don't ride bikes nearly as much as their male counterparts.

When the National Bike Summit opened Monday night (just minutes after the Women's Forum concluded), there was a palpable change. The faces in the crowd became less diverse, a bit older in age, and much more male-dominated. And the speakers at the big dinner and evening plenary were all men. Then the next morning at the Opening Plenary the speakers were also all men. This didn't go unnoticed by many attendees.
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USDOT Sec. Foxx focuses on safety, politics and economics at Summit speech

Tuesday, March 4th, 2014
USDOT Sec Foxx at Bike Summit-2
US DOT Sec. Anthony Foxx at the
National Bike Summit.
(Photo by J. Maus/BikePortland)

—BikePortland's coverage from Washington D.C. is made possible by Planet Bike.

U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx made his National Bike Summit debut today. The man that used to hold his job, Ray LaHood, was a crowd favorite for many years and had endeared himself with advocates for his pro-bike proclamations (sometimes delivered via tabletop).

Sec. Foxx was well aware of LaHood's legacy and began his speech today by saying, "I have big shoes to fill." Looking to bolster his cycling cred, Foxx showed a photo of himself riding one of Charlotte, North Carolina's bikeshare bikes. Foxx oversaw the launch of bike share during his time as mayor of Charlotte.

After joking that the photo was of him competing in a stage of the Tour de France, Foxx said: "The truth is, I'm a huge fan of biking and my family is as well." (more...)

Blumenauer uses Summit keynote to rally troops around gas tax increase

Tuesday, March 4th, 2014
Blumenauer at the Summit-2
Time is right for a gas tax increase,
says Rep. Blumenauer.
(Photo by J. Maus/BikePortland)

—BikePortland's coverage from Washington D.C. is made possible by Planet Bike.

Amid the backdrop of renewed optimism that a new transportation bill is coming sooner than later, Congressman Earl Blumenauer headlined the opening plenary at the first full day of the National Bike Summit. Blumenauer used the occasion to urge the 700-plus advocates to help him push a gas tax increase as a way to steer the federal government away from the impending cliff transportation funding is heading off.

It's the first time in 21 years, Blumenauer said, that he's stumping around the country for a gas tax increase. Why? Because the doomsday scenario of the Highway Trust Fund drying up are becoming very real, very fast. (more...)

Oregon advocacy team sets strategy for Capitol Hill lobby day

Monday, March 3rd, 2014
National Bike Summit -15
Oregon residents at the National Bike Summit listen to state delegation leader Rob Sadowsky (upper left) discuss the lobbying day strategy.
(Photos by J. Maus/BikePortland)

—BikePortland's coverage from Washington D.C. is made possible by Planet Bike.

The stage has been set for Wednesday's lobbying day on Capitol Hill. Each year on the second full day of the National Bike Summit, advocates from each state join together, march up to the Senate and House office buildings to talk bikes with their elected representatives. It's the heart of the Summit and one of the most important things that happens here.

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Costumes not commutes, and other tips to cultivate the 'all powerful bike lobby'

Monday, March 3rd, 2014
2014 National Bike Summit-11
"You don't create more riders with
suits and ties and spandex," reads a slide
from Lily Karabaic's presentation.
(Photos by J. Maus/BikePortland)

—BikePortland's coverage from Washington D.C. is made possible by Planet Bike.

The National Women's Cycling Forum is like a day-long master class in how to infect women and communities with the bicycling bug. For the hundreds of professional advocates and rising-star activists in attendance, there is a ton of great advice and inspiration being offered up. In one session this morning, Cultivating the All Powerful Bike Lobby, we were introduced to several women on the front lines of community-based bike advocacy.

The session was moderated by Leah Shahum, the 13 year veteran leader of the 12,000 member San Francisco Bicycle Coalition. She knows a lot about the bike lobby and the power that can come with putting it to use. Early in her career, Leah shared, she was "nervous" about the idea of power. It seemed like some sinister force and the idea of using it to her advantage was "difficult to grasp." But years into her advocacy career, she's figured it out. "I realized in the end that power is all about people... It's about people's stories and connecting people who make decisions with people in communities who have a different kind of power."

But how can advocates for bicycling make that connection stronger? (more...)

Major snowstorm impacts Oregon advocacy at National Bike Summit

Monday, March 3rd, 2014
2014 National Bike Summit-9
The scene outside the Renaissance Hotel where the Women's Cycling Forum and National Bike Summit are being held.
(Photos by J. Maus/BikePortland)
—BikePortland's coverage from Washington D.C. is made possible by Planet Bike. —

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Women's Bicycling Forum kicks off with inspiring speakers

Monday, March 3rd, 2014
2014 National Bike Summit-2
450 people have signed up for this year's Women's Forum,
twice as many the first year in 2012.
(Photos by J. Maus/BikePortland)

BikePortland coverage from Washington D.C. is made possible by Planet Bike.

The Opening Plenary of the third annual National Women's Bicycling Forum opened today with a series of TED-style presentations from an impressive line-up of female leaders.

About 450 people have signed up for the Women's Forum this year, that's over twice as many that attended the first edition in 2012. They're hear to learn and be inspired by a full day of speakers, networking, and break-out sessions.

Before the opening plenary got started this morning, League of American Bicyclists President Andy Clarke said that their Women Bike program is "transforming the League and transforming our movement." For the League, Women Bike has become a key pillar of their larger equity initiative which includes efforts to broaden the bicycling and advocacy tent to welcome women, communities of color, and kids.
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Thoughts turn to D.C. and the National Bike Summit

Thursday, February 27th, 2014
DC bike scenes
Get ready D.C., the nation's bike lovers are on their way.
(Photo by J. Maus/BikePortland)

It's that time of the year once again when hundreds of advocates, activists and bike lovers of all stripes converge on Washington D.C. for the League of American Bicyclists' National Bike Summit. I'll be attending again this year (my eighth time!), so stay tuned next week for various reports, musings, photos, and so on.
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