Friday, October 12, 2012

Inaugural North Carolina Bike Summit Underway!

Greetings from the first, well second, NC Bike Summit. Apparently, the first one occurred some 20+ years ago and, I’m sad to say, I missed it. I’m not missing this one though.

Andy Clarke, LAB President, provides keynote address

(LAB President, Andy Clarke, addressing NC Bike Summit participants)

The Navigator and I made our way down from the colorful mountains of …

Western North Carolina to our state’s capital city. Raleigh is a League of American Bicyclists “Bicycle Friendly City” and the host of the 2012 N.C. Bike Summit. Our roughly 5 hour drive brought us to this city, which is also hosting the annual N.C. State Fair so the roads were full to say the least.

The Summit started at 8:30 a.m. today (Friday, October 12th) and runs through lunchtime tomorrow. Today’s sessions included the keynote luncheon address by Clarke, multiple breakout sessions focusing  on varying aspects of cycling, and a closing address by Michael Craft of New Belgium Brewing Company.

Don Kostelec of Kostelec Design and the planner for the Comprehensive Haywood County Bike Plan led one of the breakout sessions on the Health Impact Assessment done during our bike plan development. The HIA has garnered significant attention nationwide as it was one of the first, if not the first, HIA done in conjunction with a bike plan.

Kostelect consulting with Summit participant

(Kostelec discussing points of HIA with Summit participant)

I enjoyed the opportunity to have lunch with Andy Clarke, LAB Board member Mike Nix, and NC DOT Division 14 Engineer Rueben Moore prior to Clarke’s address. Clarke, a witty and charming speaker to say the least, discussed the activities of the League over the past summer and recapped the fight for the Transportation Act which resulted in MAP-21. His point, “It’s in your hands” was well made when discussing the need for advocacy at the local and state level now. He also spoke of the need for cyclists to become more diverse in our make-up and to take a broad based view of the many types of cyclists that the League represents.

Following the afternoon breakout sessions, Michael Craft, a 10 year employee-owner of New Belgium brought the day to an end with many humorous stories of the Tour de Fat adventures that he has encountered through the years. On more serious notes, he spoke of the important work being done via bicycle advocacy and his company’s core values of sustainability and giving back to the community. At the time of the address, Craft had been up since 2:00 a.m., making 3 connecting flights from Tucson, N.M. to arrive at the Summit. I imagine he will sleep well tonight!

Michael Craft closing the day out with humor

(Michael Craft bringing the day to a close.)

And finally, what would an end of a conference day be without a bike ride? The Summit coordinators arranged for a 12 mile loop ride through some of Raleigh’s greenway and bike paths. Rumor had it that a stop might be made at a local establishment where a cold libation might be had…

End of conference day bike ride prep

(Kostelec, Moore, and others prep for a 12 mile loop ride in Raleigh)

That’s it for day one at the NC Bike Summit. The Navigator and I are headed to find some end of day food!

Until later,

- Zeke

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