Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on March 8th, 2010 at 4:50 pm
Tomorrow is the opening day of the 2010 National Bike Summit in Washington D.C. (I hope on a red-eye flight tonight!). Last week I introduced you to the Oregon advocates that will make the trek to D.C. to attend. But, some of you may be wondering, what the heck happens at the Summit? Hopefully this post answers a few of your questions.
The Summit is, at its core, a lobbying event. The intention is to make the presence of bicycling felt on Capitol Hill, shake hands with members of Congress, and explain to them why bicycling is important and deserving of their support.
In addition to building strong relationships with our country’s most powerful politicians, the Summit is a chance to meet and network with other advocates and be inspired by their work.
of the official Summit guide!
The meat of the Summit happens on Wednesday and Thursday. On Wednesday, the opening plenary is usually anchored by Congressman Earl Blumenauer. He does his part to whip up the inspirational fuel that carries everyone through Friday. After that, there are three blocks of breakout sessions. Here’s the list of panels and workshops (some very interesting stuff!):
- Jump Start Your State and Local Advocacy Efforts
- Investing In Our Future – Will 2010 Be Our Year
- Energy, Global Security and Sustainability
- Best Practices in Youth Cycling Programs – IMBA Track
- Broadening the Movement in Underserved Communities
- Progressive Cities – When We Build, Will They Come?
- Promoting Livable Communities – Can we Remake America’s Communities?
- Mobilizing for a Healthier Transportation System
- Taking Public Transportation to the Next Level and How Bicycling Can Boost Public Transit
- Entrepreneurial IMBA-Growing Mountain Bike Participation
- Traffic Justice – Don’t be Driven to Distraction
- Maximizing the Role of Bicycle Retailers in Local Advocacy
- Strengthening Safe Routes to School in the Next Transportation Bill
- The Madison Story – Platinum and Beyond: How Do We Replicate it Nationwide
- Complete Streets – Building on Momentum at the Local, State and National Level
- Cycle Tracks to Pump Tracks – The Transportation-Recreation Connection
- Dollars, Partnerships, and New Riders – How Tourism can Play a Role
- Social Marketing – Real Potential for Advocacy
What sessions would you attend?
After a day full of information and inspiration, it’s time to hit the Hill. On Thursday, we rise and shine early for an 8:00 a.m. rally and continental breakfast on Capitol Hill followed by a day full of meetings with congressional representatives. This is the day when bike advocates take over the Senate and House office buildings to spread the good word. Each state visits their representatives to explain and build support for bike-related legislation. Sometimes the member of Congress will be present, but most of the time a legislative aide/staffer sits in and takes notes.
A very busy day on Capitol Hill is followed by a big party on Thursday night where triumphs are toasted and the real work of the Summit comes to an end. The next morning, advocates lead members of Congress and their staffers on a leisurely bike ride around the Capitol.
That’s a general view of how the Summit shakes out. I didn’t mention all the keynotes and other speeches by notable politicians, agency heads, and national advocacy luminaries that are sometimes the highlight of the event. Also, while the official agenda is full, much of the work of the Summit happens at parties and other, sometimes spontaneous meetings not on the schedule.
Also not on the official schedule are many lobbying and networking opportunities organized by each individual state. For instance, on Thursday night, all of us in the Oregon delegation will have a special dinner with Congressman Earl Blumenauer.
Stay tuned! I’ll be in D.C. tomorrow morning with camera in hand and notebook at the ready. Special thanks to Planet Bike, official sponsor of all our Bike Summit coverage. You can also follow my live updates and quick thoughts via Twitter.