Yesterday, the PeopleForBikes Coalition and several bicycling industry executives were in Washington D.C. meeting with members of Congress as part of an ongoing effort to educate Congress and thought leaders about the economic benefits of bicycling. PeopleForBikes’ quarterly Executive Fly-Ins on Capitol Hill were first announced at Interbike 2013 with the goal of connecting its supplier and retail leaders with our nation’s lawmakers.
Yesterday’s visit marked the third Executive Fly-In since the program was launched. Bike industry representatives who attended this quarter’s session included: Bob Burns, Vice President of Trek Bicycle, Dave Manchester, Senior Vice President of Sales & Marketing at Cycling Sports Group and Elysa Walk, General Manager at Giant Bicycles.
This executive trio, accompanied by PeopleForBikes’ President Tim Blumenthal and Vice President of Local Innovation Martha Roskowski, discussed with members of Congress the state of the bicycle industry, the industry’s influence on jobs, technology, small business, contributions to tax revenues and the many ways the bike industry is helping to improve America.
Regular meetings with senior federal elected officials are designed to build support for bicycling in the next transportation bill, position the benefits of bicycling with like-minded coalitions and the leaders of other influential businesses, and frame the business agenda in the minds of key decision makers.
“Many leaders in Washington, D.C. love bicycling personally and recognize the cost-effective benefits of government investments in bike infrastructure and related programs,” said Blumenthal, “Networking bicycle industry executives with other influential leaders is essential to the future of bicycling and will help create the kind of long-term influence our industry needs.”
Executive Fly-In agendas typically include a short training session, meetings on Capitol Hill with members of Congress, other gatherings with important coalitions and think tanks, and participation in evening fundraising events (supported by BikesPAC) that connect industry leaders with members of Congress. Additional strategies that the PeopleForBikes Coalition uses to improve the political climate for bicycling include: In-district meetings, grassroots communications to policymakers, engagement with local elected officials and engagement with partners in D.C.
Attendees of previous Fly-Ins have included: Pat Hus of Interbike, Patrick Seidler of WTB, Carol Wentworth of Performance Bicycle, Randy Neufeld of SRAM, Jessica Klodnicki of BRG, Brandon Buth of Trek Bicycle, Fred Clements of NBDA, Pat Cunnane of ASI, and Simon Dunne of Specialized Bicycles.
The next Fly-In takes place Sept. 30- Oct. 1. Those who are interested in attending should contact Kristy Kibler at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Logo courtesy PeopleForBikes