Last night representatives from 120 local businesses were invited to the kick-off meeting of MB3, Milwaukee Business By Bike. MB3 is a coalition of businesses advocating for investment in bicycling as a convenient and attractive option for transportation and recreation. The members of MB3 believe that by advancing bicycling, Greater Milwaukee can be more healthy, vibrant, marketable and environmentally sustainable.
John Burke, the President of Trek Bicycles, gave the keynote address at the meeting, which was held in the wonderful Pilot House room at the top of the Discovery World Museum. As dusk set, the crowd of around 60 people were treated to an inspiring keynote address by John Burke, President of Trek Bicycles. Burke was succinct, but informative. His presentation highlighted how bicycling is a rare simple solution to many complicated problems we face in this country today. His power point presentation included some eye-opening images of the frightening growth in obesity across the country in the last 10 years. While we have all heard about the problem, Burke used a series of maps to show the wild-fire spread of the epidemic that made the audience sit up and take notice. He also highlighted the problems we all face with congestion, pollution and the rising cost of gasoline.
The good news message of the presentation was that we are very lucky to have a simple solution to all these complications, and it looks like the picture to the right. According to John Burke, 50% of all car trips are less than two miles. If we could get people to use the simple bicycle for those short trips, in one fell swoop we could reduce congestion, give people more money to spend locally, reduce our oil consumption, improve the environment and get people active enough to shrink our collective waistline. MB3’s members will work to spread this hopeful message to their fellow employees, to other business leaders and to our elected officials.
After the keynote address, the meeting attendees broke up into work groups at different tables to discuss different strategies to get the message out, flesh out the structure of MB3, identify benefits of membership to MB3, etc. After everyone else left, the steering/executive committeemet to work on next steps. A web presence seemed like one of the first projects they are going to take on. They own a couple of domains, but still need to get a web host and more importantly someone to manage the content. Any volunteers out there?
MB3 could be a powerful new player in advocating for the benefits of bicycling in the Greater Milwaukee area. In these times where everything is judged by its ability to improve or attract business, these business leaders should be strong allies for the traditional bicycle advocates. I will keep you informed as things progress with MB3. And don’t forget the 5:30pm meeting of MB2 (Milwaukee By Bike) tonight at the Swinging Door.
MB2 Kick-off meeting
5:00 pm March 2nd
- Mission Statement
- Reach: Milwaukee only, metro Milwaukee?
- Relationship with Bicycle Federation of Wisconsin
- Organization Name
- Summer social ride schedule-bring your calendars if you can
- Dress Code/Clothing Optional manifesto (just kidding Chris)
- Meeting Schedule
RSVP if you can, but feel free to show last minute and to invite your friends, coworkers and fellow bicycle commuters.