This story is part of my ongoing coverage of the 2008 National Bike Summit. See the rest of my coverage here.
Tonight, among the high ceilings and dramatic architecture of the Dirksen Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill, was the Congressional Reception; an event where Summit-goers could finally relax after two full days in bike advocacy boot camp.
There was a great sense of energy and optimism in the room and it was a fitting way to end what Bike Belong Coalition director Tim Blumenthal said was the “best Summit ever”.
Below are a few thoughts and snapshots from the event…
The thrill of the night was by far the rousing speech given by Minnesota Congressman, and bicycling’s #1 man in Washington, Jim Oberstar. Just weeks from receiving surgery on an arthritic hip, the usually bouncy Oberstar (whose 74 year-old legs had no trouble in the hills at Cycle Oregon last year) walked with a cane, but he didn’t let that stop him from delivering an emotional speech that left the crowd yelling, “Encore!, Encore!”.
I knew Travel Portland was committed to making bikes a focus of their sustainable tourism efforts, but I was still impressed to see these cool business cards they were passing out…
Yep, that’s a handmade Vanilla bicycle, made by Sacha White in Portland. Nice.
I couldn’t resist a chance to photograph two of the leading advocates in the bike industry: Jay Ferm from Planet Bike and Trek Bicycles President, John Burke. It was great to see both of them engaged in a conversation about how the industry can get more involved with advocacy, not just because it’s the right thing to do, but because they are both smart enough to put their competitive corporate interests aside for a common goal.
I finally met Joel Gwadz, the man behind “gwadzilla,” one of the original bike blogs. Joel started photographing bikes on the streets of DC way back in 2003 and he’s still going strong.
(And thanks for the socks Joel…I mean Citybikes.)
Here’s a great-looking piece of bike propaganda. According to Noah Budnick (holding the poster, below) it’s part of a new educational/promo campaign by New York City-based advocacy group Transportation Alternatives.
Noah says they’ve also got similar posters for transit, “Transit is wonderful,” and for walking, “Walkers are the oxygen of the city.” See them all here.
Tonight’s reception was the last official event of the 2008 National Bike Summit. Tomorrow morning I’ll join the crew from the Washington Area Bicyclists Association for the annual Congressional Bike Caucus Ride. Stay tuned for photos from that ride and some final thoughts on the Summit.
Your regularly scheduled programming will resume on Monday.