Tom & Ted’s Advocacy Adventure

Tom Bowden:

Months of detailed planning and analysis are about to come to fruition.  Ted Johnson, fearless and philosophical editor of Commute by Bike is flying eastbound for Richmond, Virginia, from whence he and I will depart, on our lugged framed steeds of steel, on Monday morning for Washington DC to attend the League of American Bicyclists National Bike Summit.

Over two grueling days, using nothing but our own human power, we will propel ourselves northward into the nerve center of national policy to engage in forthright, candid debate and dialogue with other cycling advocates, political leaders, and captains of the human-powered transportation industry.

Richmond to DC
The route, roughly

Our timing is auspicious.  Although the onslaught of the masses of enlightened citizen cyclists defeated the forces of the Internal Combustion Empire in the House of Representatives, and a tenuous coalition has been forged in the Senate, no one seriously believes that the Automotive Alliance has been banished to the junkyard of history.  Time and time again, the Alliance, with its seductive allure of speed, comfort and the illusion of safety, has licked its wounds and emerged from its lair to mount another assault on the freedom of transportational choice in the never ending battle for the right to the road.

We are well prepared.  We have honed our arguments with post after post on blogs, discussion boards and Facebook pages, friendly and hostile.  We have sharpened our wits in confrontations with the motorized minions of fossil fueled fanaticism.  From each contest, we have emerged stronger, wiser and more determined.

Now all that lies between us and our objective are 110 miles of gently rolling piedmont, on scenic byways though bucolic settings and historic battlefields.  Onward, we shall ride, undaunted by distance and elevation, headwinds or…

Wait a minute?  110 miles?  Whose idea was this anyway?  What are we, nuts?  I haven’t ridden more than 30 miles in nearly 20 years!  Ted rides a folding bike two miles to work every day; downhill, both ways. And since I moved downtown, my typical commute is one mile each way! Holy Boondoggle, Bikeman!

Well anyway, if we actually reach our destination, here’s what I hope to accomplish:

I will:

  1. Attend the Rails with Trails Mini-Summit on Tuesday (if we get there in time)
  2. Co-host the Richmond 2015 VIP reception at the National Press Club(!) on Wednesday
  3. Attend briefings and seminars at the Grand Hyatt all day Wednesday
  4. Meet with members of the Virginia Congressional Delegation on Thursday, including a meeting with Rep. Eric Cantor’s top aides.
  5. Ride with fellow Summiteers around DC to experience the expanding cycling infrastructure.
  6. Meet up with other advocates and authors, like Diane Lees, The Outspoken Cyclist, and maybe share some locally grown organic free-range hors d’oeuvres with Earl Blumenauer and Mia Birk at the LAB wrap up on Thursday night.
  7. Ride back to Richmond on Friday (without Ted tagging along, I should be able to make much better time and reach Richmond before dark).

So… Will your dynamic duo defy the forces of gravity and senescence to reach their goal and make the world safer for cycling?  Will they overcome the obstacles of apathy and inertia to effect true transportation policy reform and achieve sustainable long term energy independence?  Will they take time out to quaff a cold draft or two along the way?  Stay tuned for more exciting developments right here throughout the week — same bike time, same bike channel, or website, whatever.


Ted Johnson:

Bike Shop HubArizona and Virginia. If those two words bring to mind only saguaro cacti and kudzu, then thank you very much for not paying any attention to our respective politics.

Flagstaff Biking OrganizationMy goals for the Bike Summit will be not to be an embarrassment to my great state, but that’s a pretty low bar these days.

If I were a NASCAR driver, right now I’d be wearing the logos of Bike Shop Hub, Flagstaff Biking Organization, Tern, and Bike Virginia.

TernThese companies and organizations are sponsoring my participation at the Summit this year. And without them, I would be sitting at my desk all next week making stuff up instead of rubbing shoulders with our Nation’s elite bike wonks — and making stuff up.

Bike VirginiaSo thank you, boss and sponsors. I’ll do my best to make you proud — or at least to lay lots of eyeballs on your logos.

Next week’s posts will largely be about the Summit, sprinkled with product placements and props to my sponsors.

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9 thoughts on “Tom & Ted’s Advocacy Adventure”

  1. BluesCat says:

    Tom & Ted – Wish I could be there in person with you guys! I’ll be with you in spirit, and am ready to do what I can to help!

    Hey! How about I start a rumor that some well known anti-bike congressman is secretly pedaling over to visit his mistress?

  2. VABikePacker says:

    I live in Richmond – email me – we can swap numbers – I’d be happy to shuttle you guys from the airport over to bike route 1 if you need. Let ya know where meals are – show you some of the bikey stuff goin’ on here, etc….If you have the time anyway…..

    1. Ted Johnson says:

      Thanks for the offer. Tom has lived in Richmond for 30 years, so I’m the only one who needed a pickup at the airport.

      Tom and I just got back from a breakfast ride. Now I need to figure out which of Tom’s six bikes I’m going to ride to DC.

  3. VABikePacker says:

    Ahhh – maybe I read the article too fast!!! Cool! If I can help any way please don’t hesitate to reach out!

  4. Anne says:

    Hi Mr. Bowden!

    I am a friend of Charlotte’s studying Urban and Environmental Planning at UVa. This sounds exciting, and coincidentally I will also be in DC this Thursday and Friday. I’ll be visiting a friend who completed his Planning classes at UVa last semester and now works for Siemens’s Sustainable Cities Collective blog. Are there any events that are open for us to participate in? I’d love to hear more about this effort!


  5. Tom Bowden says:

    Hi Anne

    You may be able to attend some of the meetings with Virginia’s congressional delegation – I will check into it. Give Charlotte your email and cell # so we can get a hold of you.

  6. Terry Dorn says:

    Tom and Ted,

    Looking forward to meeting y’all tonight in Fredericksburg. We will need to do some serious map corrections, unfortunately, for the rest of your trip. You cannont ride your bike through Quantico Marine Base. I can show you the USBR 1 (and Adventure Cycling) way, or you can brave a busy section of US 1.


  7. bergerandfries says:

    If you can say hello to Gail Spann from my neck of the woods (DFW Metro area), I would do so. She’s a hoot and a very positive person. She’s a LAB board member to boot.

  8. Tom Bowden says:

    Terrell, we’re not gonna let e few Marines get in our way!

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