Months of detailed planning and analysis are about to come to fruition. Ted Johnson, fearless and philosophical editor of Commute by Bike is flying eastbound for Richmond, Virginia, from whence he and I will depart, on our lugged framed steeds of steel, on Monday morning for Washington DC to attend the League of American Bicyclists National Bike Summit.
Over two grueling days, using nothing but our own human power, we will propel ourselves northward into the nerve center of national policy to engage in forthright, candid debate and dialogue with other cycling advocates, political leaders, and captains of the human-powered transportation industry.
Our timing is auspicious. Although the onslaught of the masses of enlightened citizen cyclists defeated the forces of the Internal Combustion Empire in the House of Representatives, and a tenuous coalition has been forged in the Senate, no one seriously believes that the Automotive Alliance has been banished to the junkyard of history. Time and time again, the Alliance, with its seductive allure of speed, comfort and the illusion of safety, has licked its wounds and emerged from its lair to mount another assault on the freedom of transportational choice in the never ending battle for the right to the road.
We are well prepared. We have honed our arguments with post after post on blogs, discussion boards and Facebook pages, friendly and hostile. We have sharpened our wits in confrontations with the motorized minions of fossil fueled fanaticism. From each contest, we have emerged stronger, wiser and more determined.
Now all that lies between us and our objective are 110 miles of gently rolling piedmont, on scenic byways though bucolic settings and historic battlefields. Onward, we shall ride, undaunted by distance and elevation, headwinds or…
Wait a minute? 110 miles? Whose idea was this anyway? What are we, nuts? I haven't ridden more than 30 miles in nearly 20 years! Ted rides a folding bike two miles to work every day; downhill, both ways. And since I moved downtown, my typical commute is one mile each way! Holy Boondoggle, Bikeman!
Well anyway, if we actually reach our destination, here's what I hope to accomplish:
- Attend the Rails with Trails Mini-Summit on Tuesday (if we get there in time)
- Co-host the Richmond 2015 VIP reception at the National Press Club(!) on Wednesday
- Attend briefings and seminars at the Grand Hyatt all day Wednesday
- Meet with members of the Virginia Congressional Delegation on Thursday, including a meeting with Rep. Eric Cantor's top aides.
- Ride with fellow Summiteers around DC to experience the expanding cycling infrastructure.
- Meet up with other advocates and authors, like Diane Lees, The Outspoken Cyclist, and maybe share some locally grown organic free-range hors d’oeuvres with Earl Blumenauer and Mia Birk at the LAB wrap up on Thursday night.
- Ride back to Richmond on Friday (without Ted tagging along, I should be able to make much better time and reach Richmond before dark).
So… Will your dynamic duo defy the forces of gravity and senescence to reach their goal and make the world safer for cycling? Will they overcome the obstacles of apathy and inertia to effect true transportation policy reform and achieve sustainable long term energy independence? Will they take time out to quaff a cold draft or two along the way? Stay tuned for more exciting developments right here throughout the week — same bike time, same bike channel, or website, whatever.
These companies and organizations are sponsoring my participation at the Summit this year. And without them, I would be sitting at my desk all next week making stuff up instead of rubbing shoulders with our Nation’s elite bike wonks — and making stuff up.
Next week’s posts will largely be about the Summit, sprinkled with product placements and props to my sponsors.