Thursday, March 26, 2009

Trip Report: Washington, DC National Bike Summit

A couple of weeks ago, I went to Washington, DC as part of the National Bike Summit. I was a California mountain bike delegate and advocated on behalf of issues which help mountain biking and bicycle transportation.

My experience in Washington was intense and positive. This was the 9th year of the bike summit and attendance was a record breaking 550 delegates from 47 states (including 60+ mtb advocates) - which is great in this recessionary economy. I think the high attendance was attributed to the general optimism of the Obama administration and that we would have a government who are sympathetic to cycling issues. It was a pretty wired conference and summit. We twittered a lot.

I met with Anna Eschoo (CA-14) and Sam Farr's (C-17) legislative assistant and central coast representatives are friendly towards cycling issues. They are also supporters of Wilderness bills so we have some work to ensure that we achieve the goals of land protection without removing recreational opportunities for mountain bikes. The other mtb related issue we had was to ask to renew the Recreational Trails Program (RTP) to $550M over 5 years (this is part of the transportation bill). The RTP is an important program which will fund trail projects at Coast Dairies - which will be an important place for the future of mountain biking in Santa Cruz County.

This is the second time I have attended the national bike summit and I felt better prepared this time. I had a couple of local asks (support for the rail trail and a BLM trail head project at Fort Ord). I have been following up on these issues since I got back home.

Socially, I managed to hang our with the communications director of the Evergreen Mountain bike alliance based in Seattle. These are the folks that developed and built the Colannade
urban bike park (under the I-5) to Seattle. I also had dinner and drinks with the Hawaiian delegation one evening. It was very cool to hang out with politically minded bike geeks. It great to learn what works and lessons learned in getting more mountain bike trails/resources in other parts of the country. Good stuff. I am doing my best to put this knowledge to work in raising the profile and resources for mountain biking in Santa Cruz County.

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