National Bike Summit Day 1

The opening day of the League of American Bicyclists National Bike Summit began with some orientation meetings for first time attendees.  They are introduced to the basics of lobbying: be positive, convey a clear message, relate it to the district, make one or two “asks,” and don’t be surprised if you end up meeting with staff and they appear to be 15 years old.

Washington, DC is an interesting place.  Most of the day-to-day operations of our nation are left in the hands of quite young staff workers.  Many legislative aides on transportation are in their early twenties.  But this young age, these staff workers are some of the best and the brightest our county has produced.  I was sitting next to two such “kids” at the opening dinner.  Dressed in inexpensive suits and ties, one was the press person for the night’s guest speaker, Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood, and the other was the Secretary’s advance person.  In the course of polite dinner chatter, our conversation drifted to Wisconsin’s current political issues.

“You have a full partner – many more than one partner – at DOT,” LaHood said reaching out to the more than 800 attendees at the dinner.

Justin, the press manager, was impressively up to date on the happenings back in the Badger State.  I filled him in on a few details, but he was quick to jump in with hard numbers from the recent Rassmussen Poll that showed the majority of the public does not support Governor Walker’s attempt to remove collective bargaining.  Justin also said he is about as pro-union as you can get, very cool for such a young professional.

For his part, Sec. LaHood was very positive and encouraging, something bicyclists have come to expect from this Republican from Peoria, IL.  Reader’s of LaHood’s Facebook page or his Fast Lane blog knows that LaHood is somebody who really understands the benefits of active transportation, transit and livable communities. LaHood is a bit famous among transportation wonks for jumping up on the table at last year’s summit and declaring “this is the end of favoring motorized transportation at the expense of non-motorized.” For his efforts, the LAB presented LaHood with their “Oberstar Award.”

Another record crowd at this year's summit gives Sec. LaHood a standing ovation after his speech.


I got to the conference using Washington’s great Metra subway system.  It actually took me to the Metro Center station, and all I had to do was take the escalator upstairs to get into the Grand Hyatt where the summit sessions are being held.  Because I did not bring one of my folding bikes this year, to get around DC, I simply hopped on on the Capital Bikeshare.  For $15 bucks I am now able to ride anywhere I need to go around our nation’s Capital on a comfy three-speed bike. 

Hello from Washington

 Switching gears to the fledgling Milwaukee adovcacy group we are trying to name, I appreciate all the suggestions that have come in and apologize for not getting the survey up yet.  Jessica from the Bike Fed and I have not had the time to sit down and work out the Survey Monkey issues.  I still hope to do that with her today.

That said, “52” is really growing on me.  The more I think about it the more I like it.  Naming our group after the 50% of all trips made by car that are 2 miles or less really seems to get to the heart of selling bicycling for transportation and still leaves the door open for people interested in transit pedestrian advocacy as well. It can also help dispel the common myth that you can’t bike 52 weeks a year.

I have also been thinking that it might offer some pretty

Seems like we could do something cool with the number 52 and make a great logo. OK who is getting the first tatoo?

cool logo opportunities. I also like the sort of mystery about it.  It kind of begs people to ask you why you named it “52” and then you get to give your 50%/2mile elevator statement. I will still try to get the survey up and going, but perhaps if the majority of people agree 52 would be good, we can skip the whole name selection process and get right into a Facebook page and ride planning. What do folks think?  Can we just go with 52 or should I still put up the survey.  I would like consensus on this given we are still number less than 20 people.

About daveschlabowske

Cyclechic advocate from Milwaukee
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14 Responses to National Bike Summit Day 1

  1. Casey says:

    Yeah, I definitely liike 52 ( or 50/2)

  2. Jason says:

    My first thought regarding the use of “52” was that it was slightly mysterious, and would prompt curiosity. So.I’m with ya on that. I also like the freeway logo, unless you want to risk a copyright infringement, and re-work the “Heinz 57” ketchup logo:

  3. Jason says:

    As always, Dave, Thanks for all of your hard work! ( speaking, of course, as a “Taxpayer”) 🙂

  4. Dan says:

    I also like 52, or 52 spoken (as a reference to spokes . . . and spreading the word); however, I would also like to add/suggest consideration to the “Love Your Bike Club.”

    Given that many bicyclists have expressed disappointment and loss with the lack of a love your bike party this year, it may also be appropriate to consider naming the group in honor of the tradition that is gone for now, but will hopefully be resurrected many times over in many different ways by actions of this fledgling group.

  5. M holloway says:

    I like 52 for the mystery (ask the question) and for the value the answer provides. I’m never one to limit participation but if there is no groundswell for another name let’s get to work on advancing the concept of bike transport (of which you are the guru) and roll with 52

  6. d'Andre Willis says:

    I’m on board with 52, also. Love the bikeshare/Wash monument panda shot!

  7. Dave Steele says:

    I preface my thoughts with the caveat that I’m hardly a marketing expert. Are there any actual marketing experts in the Milwaukee cycling community that could weigh in?

    If the goal of the organization is to create a space for Milwaukee transportation cyclists to get together and ride, for the purposes of networking, having fun and attracting new riders, shouldn’t the name be something that requires no explanation? We’re building a “big tent” here with plenty of room for both “serious” and “non-serious” cyclists alike, shouldn’t we name the tent something that sounds inclusive rather than exclusive?

    I keep going back to the proverbial elevator ride that Dave and I, and probably a lot of us, take every day. You’re standing in the elevator and someone asks the same thing we get asked 20 times a day: “did you ride your bike?”

    I’d love to respond with something like “yeah, a lot of people ride. In fact there’s a group called [whatever the name is]. It’s a group that does rides around the city, to places like the Brewers game or Summerfest. You should join us. It’s fun.”

    In this context the name should be something clean that requires no explanation about what means. Milwaukee Bikes. Bike Milwaukee. Cream City Bikes. Whatever. A name where the listener knows instantly that this is a group of Milwaukeeans who have fun going places on bikes.

    After the “New Coke” debacle they didn’t go with “Coke 287,” (“what’s the number stand for?”) They went with Coke Classic. Simple, direct, no explanation necessary.

  8. Barry Stuart says:

    How about 50×2 or 50 squared?

  9. Tory says:

    52 and 50/2 are clever and come with a built in elevator speech; however, they don’t scream “this has anything to do with bicycles” to the casual observer nor do they really stand on their own without that explanation.

    Say I see a group of cool folks biking to the Brewers game while I’m stuck in traffic and think “Damn. I should do THAT next time! I wonder who they are…” Or I’m new to MKE and want to find folks to bike with. The best way for this group to be successful is if those folks can find it. Those of us who already know the name (once it’s decided) are already biking.

  10. Kevin says:

    Although I like the idea of a play on classic designs, how about a logo for the group that reflects its purpose? That might be a way to change the question from “What the heck is 52?” to “Why 52?”. Conveniently, the numbers 52 would be pretty easy to turn into the profile of a bicycle.

  11. Craig Posselt says:

    52 sounds great!

  12. Will says:

    I dig “52” with the highway sign. It will spark questions, makes for a cool logo, easy to recognize sticker on a top tube.

    Go Dave Go

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