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Opening plenary focuses on recreation and congestion

Posted by on March 14th, 2007 at 6:00 am

Nat'l Bike Summit Opening plenary

League Director Andy Clarke

The opening plenary is going on now.

But before I get to that, some news.

Commissioner Adams is here. I saw his badge at the registration table and a few folks have seen him walking around. He’s in DC for a meeting of the National League of Cities. I didn’t know he’d be here so this is great news. Last year, he was slated to speak at the opening but got food poisoning and did a u-turn back to Portland as soon as he arrived.

Back to the opening.

This year there is a large contingent of mountain bike advocates here. That might have something to do with the fact that Tim Blumenthal, former head of the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA), is now head of Bikes Belong.

So I guess it comes as no surprise that the opening plenary so far has focused on mountain biking.

Nat'l Bike Summit Opening plenary

Big crowds at the
Nat'l Bike Summit Opening plenary

Bike Belong’s
Tim Blumenthal

We’ve heard from the new head of IMBA and now Jim Cason, Associate Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Dept. of the Interior.

This focus on recreation is something of a shift for the League and the Summit, and perhaps signals the growing convergence between “transporation cycling” advocates and recreational advocates.

Right now Tyler Duvall, the Assistant Secretary for Transportation Policy at the U.S Department of Transportation. He’s making some very interesting comments. I’ll post about them separately.

And I just walked by Congressman Earl Blumenauer, the man who put bikes on the map in Washington (along with Jim Oberstar). Blumenthal just introduced him as “our esteemed leader”… stay tuned.

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Curt Dewees
Curt Dewees

If you run into Tim Blumenthal, ask him to tell you the story of how he first met Greg LeMond.

Back in the day, LeMond and his agent held a news conference because LeMond had just been signed by a top-tier European pro cycling team. Greg was the first U.S. pro cyclist to achieve this level of professional success–an historic occasion in American cycling.

At that time, Tim was a beginning journalist (a cub sports reporter for the NY Times, I think). As I recall, Tim was the ONLY journalist to show up at the press conference. My, how times have changed!

I’m sure Tim can tell this story much better than I. He was there; I just read about it later 😉


This is kind of depressing news. Mountain bike access is a pariah to cycle advocacy. Mountain bikes would not exist without the support of cars, and access issues for mountain bikes are more closely aligned with motorized off-road vehicles than transportation.

Jessica Roberts
Jessica Roberts

I’m really glad they succeeded in scheduling along with the League of American Cities retreat this year. For at least as long as I’ve been going, it’s been just a week off, so all of the otherwise friendly elected officials couldn’t consider going to the Bike Summit because they had just returned from DC.

Please do mention to Andy that you are glad they made that work. It’s so key to have people like (Wilsonville mayor) Charlotte Lehan participating in pro-bike meetings.