Urban Tribe - Ride with your kids in front.

Headed to D.C. for the National Bike Summit (and more)

Posted by on February 19th, 2013 at 1:16 pm

National Bike Summit 2010 - Lobby Day-22

Hello again.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

Next month I’m headed to the League of American Bicyclists’ National Bike Summit in Washington D.C. I’ll also attend the National Women’s Bicycling Forum which takes place on March 4th right before the Summit begins. In addition to covering those events, I plan to stay several extra days to soak in the D.C. bike scene, observe that city’s infrastructure, visit with advocates, interview transportation officials, and so on.

This will be my seventh Bike Summit since 2006 and I’m looking forward to reconnecting with the national advocacy scene. The League has adopted a theme of Bicycling Means Business so we can expect a heavy dose of bikenomics woven into the regular programming. The list of speakers looks interesting, with outgoing US DOT Secretary Ray LaHood slated to be there, as well as the likely-outgoing New York City DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan. Other speakers include members of congress and, somewhat surprisingly, Yolanda Cade, Managing Director of Public Relations for automobile lobby group, AAA.

The event plenary on Monday night looks like it might have similar tones to the NACTO Designing Cities Conference. A panel will be hosted by Sadik-Khan and will feature Trek President John Burke, and Bruce Katz from the Brookings Institution. At the NACTO conference last fall, Katz spoke like nothing short of a revolutionary about the role of cities in America’s future.

– Planet Bike is an official sponsor of our 2013 Bike Summit coverage –

Beyond stimulating speeches, the Summit is a place to learn the latest and greatest from cities and bike thinkers around the country. There’s a big selection of workshops and panels on everything from “The Dollars and Sense of Mountain Biking” to “Beyond MAP-21 – New Opportunities for Reform and Reformers”. Something new this year are “Ignite Sessions” which the League describes as, “A series of rapid-fire presentations on thought-provoking topics and critical issues.”

State delegations meet up

While the Summit will provide us with lots of story fodder (it always does), I’m also looking forward to what I discover in the streets of D.C. I’ll take a long look at Capital Bikeshare, which is arguably the most successful bike-share system in America. I’ll also do some analysis of the famous bike lanes in the middle of Pennsylvania Ave. And yes, you can expect expect some People on Bikes photos as well. I’m also hoping to sit down with D.C. notables for an interview and profile or two. It should be fun!

I’m also happy to announce that writer Ellee Thalheimer will be joining me on the trip as an official BikePortland correspondent. She’ll be looking for stories on bicycle tourism and she’ll provide a different perspective on the Women’s Forum.

And just as they have for several years now, Planet Bike has once again stepped up as a major sponsor of the trip. Thanks guys! We’re still looking for one more company to sponsor all the great coverage from D.C. and help offset the costs of bringing it to you. If you’d like more info on becoming a sponsor, drop us a line and we’ll be in touch.

See the full Summit schedule here… and stay tuned!

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  • Michael M. February 19, 2013 at 1:31 pm

    The League has adopted a theme of Bicycling Means Business so…
    Ugh. So … more of playing directly into the frame that brings us the CRC and mega-highway projects. Oh well, I’m sure there will be lots of good information despite the unfortunate theme, and look forward to the reporting.

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  • Tim Davis February 19, 2013 at 2:19 pm

    DC has a **wonderful** bike trail network. I go to DC every year or two for work, and I’m VERY envious of what they’ve accomplished. Be sure to check out some of the 14 trails listed on this page–and do the entire length of the Mt Vernon Trail: http://bikewashington.org/trails. Be sure to also spend some time in beautiful Old Town Alexandria.

    We look forward to the great reports that you always provide, Jonathan!! That and your brutal honesty about how dreadfully far behind we are in trail construction!

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    • Dim February 20, 2013 at 7:52 am

      There’s been some talk about introducing speed limits on these multi-use trails, and it’s already in place on Capitol Crescent. The Hawthorne Bridge model, with a line separating ped/cycle traffic, could be a good model for these trails instead of speed limits.

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      • Skwirl February 21, 2013 at 8:37 am

        Mostly these trails are low traffic with a handful of high density and super high density pedestrian/jogger choke points (Bethesda, good on y’all for walking during the summer, but y’all need to spread the love around a little better). It’s surprisingly easy to hit a multi-use trail in DC and feel like you’ve left civilization. The W & OD consistently feels several degrees cooler in the summer.

        I’m a slow bicyclist, though. We always need to yield to the more vulnerable user — suburban kids can’t be expected to follow markings, for instance. Zoobombers express this ethic as “yield to the weirdest [bike/tall bike/long board/minibike/rollerblader, etc…” Same idea. Handing out bells and lights to cyclists would be a good action.

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  • dwainedibbly February 19, 2013 at 3:02 pm

    Enjoy! Bring back lots of good ideas, and spread some Portland around…

    Mrs Dibbly is (kiddingly) worried that by staying extra, you’re inviting some sort of calamity to hit DC. Weren’t you in NYC for a conference of some sort and were staying a few extra days when Sandy hit? 🙁

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  • Tim Davis February 19, 2013 at 4:20 pm

    It was quite the learning experience in the aftermath of Sandy! When all else fails, BICYCLES still work, and cyclists happily help others out! 🙂

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  • Hugh Johnson February 19, 2013 at 8:56 pm

    I am curious…how are women cyclists needs different than men’s?

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  • Dante' February 19, 2013 at 9:12 pm

    Are you going to do a people on bikes DC photo shoot while you’re there?

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  • Kirk February 19, 2013 at 10:31 pm

    Enjoy all the goodness that DC has to offer! … except for its lack of recycling options and *terrible* signal timing (120 second cycle lengths, ugh) 😉

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  • Dim February 20, 2013 at 7:57 am

    Check out the new L Street bike lane while you’re in town: http://whosblockinglsttoday.tumblr.com/

    Also, there’s a new bike shop (The Old Bike Shop) in Clarendon if you make it to that neighborhood. It’s a welcome change to the (usually) overwhelmingly expensive and bougie bike shops all around the city.

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    • Skwirl February 21, 2013 at 8:48 am

      While we’re on the subject of affordable DC area bike shops, Phoenix Bikes on the Four Mile Run trail deserves some love. They’re a 501c3 with a similar model to the CCC on Alberta, but they are super tiny — basically run out of a utility shack in a park. I got an awesome refurbished (by youth trainees) Specialized Crossroads from them when I first moved to DC for a steal of a price, even by West Coast standards. They’re having a sales event in DC proper on March 9th. http://www.phoenixbikes.org

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  • Erik Kugler February 20, 2013 at 8:45 am

    If you’d like a tour through the “real DC” infrastructure look me up when you’re in town. We do a free City Explorers ride each Sunday at 11.30am, and I’d be happy to show you trails within DC and give you background info.

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    • Skwirl February 21, 2013 at 9:12 am

      I went a BicycleSpace full moon ride last year that ended at the waterfront Yards Park with a full buffet and four violinists. DC’s just compelled to take everything and class it up a notch, dontchaknow.

      I’ve been glad to see the DC Bike Party (http://dcbikeparty.com) fill the gap with regards to less formalized bike fun. I saw Rev. Phil at the Halloween ride in DC and I think he scared my girlfriend with an invitation for us to submit to his film fest but I’m pretty sure he says that to everyone.

      DC Bike Party has a lot of the same faces as Critical Mass. Thankfully, it seems to be a lot less aggro. (DC Mass may have mellowed out since I last did it, but at the time it was too not-fun to keep attending.)

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  • Andyc of Linnton February 20, 2013 at 9:23 am

    Excellent. I’m so glad you are able to cover events like this, and give/ get a Portland perspective.

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