1. My haircut. I failed to get a much needed haircut before I left for D.C. Haircut appointment at 5 at the salon three blocks from the hotel. I am on a tight schedule so I check in and off I go. Less than one block out of the hotel I see a barber shop that looks like my kind of a place. I look inside and indeed it is. A lot of old guys sitting around a very dirty barber shop. They are packed and I have no time so...... Off to the salon. I have never been to a salon before. I knew I was in trouble when the receptionists took me to the changing room to put my smock on. Wow. Then another lady takes me and puts me in a chair and has me lean back to give me a shampoo. I am thinking to myself, I didn’t order a shampoo. Before she gives me the shampoo she starts giving me a head massage. Then the shampoo, then the neck massage. This really isn’t so bad after all. Then I am presented to Jennifer the “stylist.” I have never had my hair cut by a “stylist.” Hello Jennifer!!! Anyways we get to the end of the haircut and Jennifer asks me if I would like anything in my hair? No, not today. Anyways, I proceed to the check out where I am presented with the bill. $60 for a hair cut!!! I have never paid more than $15 and now I am on the $60 program. I figured for $60 I should get a photo of this historic moment.
2. Trek Dealer Reception. We had 103 Trek retailers and Trek employees at the National Bike Summit. The first year I went to the Bike Summit there were 70 total attendees. Grand total this year was over 700 people. A great group of people that included the regulars like Jay Graves, Chris Kegel, Dan Thorton and many more. What was most impressive was the list of first timers. I was especially pleased to see Bert from Bert's in Buffalo and Jim Ruggles from Eddie's in Cleveland. These are good guys who run good businesses, who can get stuff done. We had the reception at the Old Ebbitt Grill near the White House and it was fabulous, packed, loud, and I could not find a good place to welcome the group. So I asked the bartender if I could stand on the bar. Answer NO. Why not? Because the manager won't let you. Well, could you ask the manager? While he was asking the manager I was standing next to Mayor Dave of Madison, WI. I asked......Mayor have you ever given a speech on a bar. Answer. No. Well I have seen my wife dance on a bar and the way I figured that was the only place to get everyone's attention. And so I jumped up onto the bar and gave a short welcome to the Bike Summit speech. I talked about how my Mom and Dad had done so much to give back and that one of the missions of Trek was not just to make the best bikes in the world, but to use Trek to do good things. One of the good things that we do with Trek is to spread the message that bicycles are a simple solution to complex problems like global warming, the health crisis, and congestion. The World is run by those who show up and 103 Trek people showed up in D.C. That was a great sight.
4. Bike Lanes on Pennsylvania Avenue. Last year Earl says that he is working on bike lanes for Pennsylvania Avenue. I think to myself that would be really cool. This year, Earl announces that bike lanes will be opened on Pennsylvania Avenue in May. I am going to try and be there for that. Really Cool.
5. Google & Bike Routes. After Earl speaks a group from Google addresses the group. Why is Google here I ask myself? Well JB, Google is here to introduce Google Maps for bikes. Google is now adding bicycles to its map drop down menu so that you can now route your bike ride. This is a really cool tool and it also shows just how far the bicycle has come and how far Google thinks that the bicycle is going to go in the future.
6. Bikes PAC Function. Bikes PAC is an organization that supports elected officials who support cycling. They sponsored an event at the Bike Summit and a number of bicycle supporters showed up. An impressive, bike-partisan mix of U.S. Representatives joined us, including Earl Blumenauer and Peter DeFazio (both of OR), Charlie Dent (PA), Frank LoBiondo (NJ), Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC) and Thomas Petri (WI). Our guests from the U.S. Senate were Scott Brown (MA), Tom Carper (DE), Bob Corker (TN), and Chuck Grassley (IA). Turns out Senator Brown is a big biker and has done quite a few triathlons. The bicycle has a lot of friends in Washington.
7. Trek Advocacy Awards Event. Trek held an awards event Wednesday night at the Summit where we presented awards to people who have made a big difference in helping to make America a bicycle friendly country. We gave away nice beer mugs printed with the quote “The world is run by those who show up.” I presented the first mug to Bill Richards who is Congressman Jim Oberstar's Chief of Staff. No one has done more for the future of the bicycle in America than Congressman Oberstar. Bill Richards is the guy who does all the work and it was an honor to thank him. How many miles did Bill ride last year? Two answers - 3,632 and not enough. Bill’s wife rode 3,675. Wow. I also presented an award to Krista Rettig at Trek who is in charge of advocacy. Krista has been in this role for just over a year and she has done an AWESOME job changing the world!
8. Lobby Day. I spent Thursday on the Hill meeting with Congressional Representatives, Senators, and staffers. My overall impression is that people were very happy to see the bicycle group on the hill. In every congressional office I visited someone wanted one of our bicycle pins. People were enthused to be talking about bicycles. Ten years ago when I was lobbying on the hill we might as well have been from the National Hackeysack Association. Today the bicycle movement is regarded as a well organized movement with a great message. We have come a long way!
9. Running with Michele. Not the First Lady......my sister! Michele took care of a lot of the organization for the Bike Summit and did a Rock Star job. On Wednesday morning I took her for my monument run. I always do the same run in D.C. Down around the White House, over to the Mall where the first stop is the Vietnam Memorial, up to see Mr. Lincoln (have to read the Gettysburg address), over to the Korean Memorial (one of the best in D.C.) on to the FDR Memorial, over to Mr. Jefferson, back towards the hotel and a stop at the WW2 Memorial and then back. This one was not boring as Michele asked me where the South Lawn at the White House is. Well, let me show you. We start running over there and they have added a few new fences and some security. I see a gap in one of the fences so I figure that it is fine if we run towards the South Lawn. As we start running down the empty street (should have been a warning sign) a Secret Service officer jumps out of his car. Another agent jumps out of a van behind us with a dog. To which I say, you probably don’t want us on this road. Officer nods in agreement to which I say, I think we will go back from where we came.
10. Success. At the end of the Summit Ray LaHood the Secretary of Transportation spoke to the group at a reception. The speakers were not working so he jumped up on a table and said the following: "People across America who value bicycling should have a voice when it comes to transportation planning. This is the end of favoring motorized transportation at the expense of non-motorized.”
While we have a long way to go in order to make the United States a bicycle friendly country it is good to stop for a moment and take pride in the fact that we have come a long way in the last ten years. Thanks to everyone who has helped make the dream a reality!!!