The National Bike Summit took place from March 19th to March 21st. The event kicked off with a guided bike ride through some of D.C.’s new protected bike lanes, which span 30 miles. The lanes were added to the existing infrastructure, showcasing how safe and protected bike lanes can be created without the need to overhaul the entire street.

Next, we all gathered in the auditorium of the M.L.K. Library to listen to experts who work in the federal, state, and local governments and are champions of active transportation. They shared their initiatives to promote bicycling and make it more accessible. A panel discussion of “Advocrats” – including Advocates Veronica O. Davis, Transportation Nerd; Jackie DeWolfe, Director of Mobility Policy and Program Development at Massachusetts D.O.T.; Barbara McCann, and Senior Advisor to the Associate Administrator for Safety Office of Safety at Federal Highway Administration – talked about their experiences in switching careers and gave us valuable advice.

During the event, Shailen Bhatt, Administrator of the Federal Highway Administration, spoke about their commitment to safety and active transportation.

During the afternoon, we spent time meeting with other non-profit attendees from our state to prepare for the following day of lobbying on Capitol Hill. We had a brief Q&A session with Caron Whitaker, the deputy executive director of the League of American Bicyclists, who served as a moderator. She provided us with some insights on the basics of lobbying and how to make the most out of our meetings with lawmakers during Hill Day.

The day culminated with a rooftop Reception and Award ceremony, where New Belgium Brewing served drinks while we celebrated the winners of the 2024 Advocacy and Education Awards.

On the second day of the Nation Bike Summit, attendees started with a Congressional Bike Ride and Breakfast to celebrate the progress of safe cycling under the leadership of Rep. Blumenauer. The attendees of the Nation Bike Summit met with local legislators from both the House and Senate. A group of representatives from Bike Fort Collins, New Belgium Brewing,, Boulder Valley School District Safe Routes to School Program, and Project Bike Tech met with Senators John Hickenlooper and Michael Bennet, along with Representative Joe Neguse to introduce three bills. These bills are HR 1668, the Sarah Debbink Langenkamp Active Transportation Safety Act, H.R. 7082 / S 3670: The Complete Streets Act of 2024, and B.I.K.E. Act, or Bicycling In Kids’ Education. You can find more information about each bill by clicking on the links. The day ended with a Capitol Hill Reception at the Dirksen Senate Office Building.

On the last day of the Summit, a session was held to honor the leadership of Representative Earl Blumenauer. Representative Blumenauer has been a long-time advocate for cycling in Congress, promoting the concept of “bike partisanship” in order to create a safe and sustainable transportation system that prioritizes people. He has been doing this since 1997.

In the afternoon, several workshops were conducted such as “Youth and Adult Learn to Ride”, “Introducing DC’s Multi-Modal Safety Corridor Projects”, and “What’s Next for Federal Transportation Policy?”. The last workshop was focused on the congressional debate regarding the upcoming transportation bill that will govern the next five years of transportation policy. This session analyzed the views of Active Transportation advocates and professionals regarding the alterations that should be made.

Lauren Nagle, the Active Modes Specialist, and Araceli Newman, the Adult Education & Outreach Program Assistant, presented a session titled “Community First: Building Representation in Cycling Culture”. The focus of this session was to encourage underrepresented communities to participate in recreational riding activities. The session included insights from two successful programs – Major Taylor K.I.D.Z., a national initiative, and Chicas en Bicicletas, which is based here in Fort Collins, Colorado.

During the breakout session, we had the opportunity to hear about the implementation of Dutch design concepts in U.S. cities, particularly the road hierarchy system. Representatives from the Netherlands discussed how this system is continuing to evolve through policy and design changes, such as recent efforts to reduce speed limits that have faced mixed reactions. We also heard from U.S. cities like Reno, NV and Washington, D.C. that have successfully applied Dutch concepts. In addition, Anna Kelso, the FC Moves Active Modes Specialist, presented about Fort Collins, CO.

There were various breakout sessions available, such as “Finding the Ties that Bind for Better Cycling Education,” “Setting a Course to Safer Vehicles,” “Best Practices to Teach On-E-Bike Cycling Education,” and more.

The Summit ended with a discussion titled “Discovering Bike Joy with the Bicycle Nomad, Erick Cedeño.” Erick is known for his impressive achievements as an explorer, historian, and captivating storyteller. His work has been featured in numerous prestigious publications, including Outside Magazine and The New York Times, showcasing the extent of his impact and influence. Recently, he was inducted into The Explorers Club, a professional society dedicated to promoting field research, scientific exploration, and resource conservation. Erick’s passion for retracing history and bringing untold stories to light sets him apart. Notably, he went on two significant journeys along the Underground Railroad in 2014 and 2020, riding his bicycle from New Orleans to Niagara Falls, Canada. In 2022, he meticulously retraced the route of the Bicycle Corps – Buffalo Soldiers, an all-Black regiment of U.S. soldiers who undertook a remarkable 1,900-mile bicycle expedition from Missoula, Montana, to St. Louis, Missouri, in 1897. This ride was more than a mere bike journey; it was an immersive experience aimed at connecting with the heroes and drawing inspiration from their bravery and wisdom.

After our discussion, we all gathered to take a final ride that was guided by the Bicycle Nomad. The 17-mile ride led us through numerous historic and newly constructed areas of Washington, D.C. We navigated through protected bike lanes and even crossed the Potomac River via the recently built Frederick Douglass Bridge.

National Bike Summit 2024