The 2012 National Bike Summit (NBS) is underway in Washington, D.C. As a “carbon-level” sponsor of the annual event, IMBA sent 16 staff to support club and chapter representatives from around the country, and to strengthen IMBA's relationships with other cycling groups.
The event culminates on Thusday when bike advocates will lobby members of the House and Senate to protect the Recreational Trails Program, as well as advancing other state-specific "asks" among elected officials. Sixty-two IMBA members are attending, representing 22 different states. More than 800 total cycling advocates are in attendance at this year’s NBS, representing 49 states (all but Alaska) and conducting nearly 400 meetings with congressional offices.
The highlight of the first day was the keynote speech Tuesday evening by political advisor and avid mountain biker Mark McKinnon of Hill + Knowlton Strategies. McKinnon, a guest of IMBA, offered advice on effective messaging and how to still be heard during an election year. He ought to know, as McKinnon has advised presidents and political leaders (on both sides of the aisle) for many years.
IMBA launched the NBS effort on Tuesday afternoon with its annual pre-summit workshop. The three-hour session included an overview of IMBA’s current work and future plans, as well as an address from McBee Strategic — IMBA’s lobbying firm in D.C. A panel discussion allowed attendees who signed up for the NBS on the IMBA track to pose their toughest advocacy, access and fundraising questions to IMBA staff.
Chris Strout, Director of Domestic Sales and Customer Service for Cane Creek Cycling Components, took the opportunity to present a $4,024 check to IMBA. Many thanks to Cane Creek and all the dealers who supported this campaign!
Matt Brown from McBee praised IMBA chapter and club members who contacted their elected representatives in recent weeks to express support for the Recreational Trails Program (RTP). Brown said that a grassroots outpouring and the echo chamber created by the countless calls and emails are important for creating change, especially in an election year. Brown advised that, in continuing to ask for RTP, the most important message to take to your elected officials is how much money the RTP is leveraging at your local level.
Good advice — let's hope it resonates in Thursdays meetings.