Californian bicycle leaders: (l to r) CBC board member Andrew Casteel, Safe Routes to School National Partnership Executive Director Deb Hubsmith, CBC Communications Director Jim Brown and Executive Director Dave Snyder, and our own Corinne Winter enjoy a bonding moment.
Last weekend, Corinne and I headed down to the California Bike Summit - in the car capital of the country, Los Angeles - to meet up with our colleagues from around the state, share strategies, and map out a vision for the California Bicycle Coalition's (CBC’s) role in statewide bicycle advocacy. All types of two-wheeled wonks attended the Summit, from the big bike boosters at the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, to less famous fellow freewheelers from hardworking organizations like Bike Bakersfield and the San Luis Obispo County Bicycle Coalition. We all learned plenty from each other, in topics like membership, complete streets, and bicycle network design. The CBC did a great job in bringing us all together and the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition (LACBC) made us all feel comfy as hosts in their astonishingly cycle-supportive town.
In addition to the handshakes, business card swaps, and educational workshops, we were there to discuss the future role of the CBC in statewide advocacy and the ways local and regional groups will participate. Corinne played the part of county-level supporter, explaining to the crowd that state-level policy affects us all, and that we will benefit on the local level from a strong bike presence in Sacramento.
As is always the case at conferences, a certain level of morale-boosting was a must, and was accomplished heartily by pep talks and presentations from Jeff Miller of the Alliance for Biking and Walking and Randy Neufeld, Chicago advocacy legend and SRAM Cycling Fund Director. Without a doubt, we all left feeling ready to take on any anti-bike challenge we might face at home. As bad as we may feel bike riders may have it today, it helps to remember that things have been much worse, and we have made great strides (pedals?) over the past few decades. With events like this to bring us together as a unified force, I only expect the future way for bikes in California to become smoother, like a well-maintained bike boulevard. Thanks to CBC and LACBC for getting us together and giving us this opportunity to plan for success!