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.
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.”
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!