Every self respecting bike geek has seen this picture but it worked with today’s quote.

“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”   Albert Einstein

I don’t know if everyone is a “genius” but we all have our strengths and weaknesses.  It’s a matter of figuring them out and using the strengths to the greatest advantage and minimizing the weaknesses.  We can’t be masters of everything but what we can do well we should do DAMN well.
As promised yesterday I am going to do a recap of the National Bike Summit.  I darn near don’t have to when there is THIS out there.  Holy Cow!  Seriously?  Read that link.  Meredith Miller is fast, charming, articulate, beautiful, and extremely well written.  All things that I am not. Seriously read her update.
What do you think of when you think “Bicycle Advocacy”?  In my elitist bicycle mentality I think of helmet mirror’s and Day-Glo vests.  I realize this may be dsiparaging to some but…. there it is.  I attended my first National Bike Summit approximatley ten years ago.  It was the second.  Frankly at that Summit there were alot of the Day-Glo vest crowd.  And thank god they were there. 
We all ride bikes and need the access to continue to do so on paved and unpaved surfaces.  If it werent for these die-hard helmet mirror wearing people we never would have gotten organized enough to be a force on Washington.  There were hundreds of people from all over the bicycle industry and the advocacy end of things securing money for programs so we can ride our bicycles. 
The first Summit I went to we talked about a few million dollars.  Big money in a personal bank account not so much when you are talking about goverment programs in all 50 states. This time we were talking about Hundreds of Millions of dollars that were being allocated to ensure access by bicycle. 
Most people who read this know the bicycle is more than a toy.  It is a way to get to work, a means of exercise, and a way to combat congestion in our cities, and obesity on our society among many other examples.  As I have said before the bicycle is a vehicle of change. 
John Burke the President of Trek Bicycles made a point in a round table discussion that really struck home with me.  Many people had stated that cycling is an inexpensive portion of the transportation funding that has far reaching effects.  This is a nice little statement and easy enough to agree with.
John brought it home very nicely.  He stated that the money spent for cycling friendly projects can effect a broader amount of people over an area then a single high way project can.  For example (I was paying attention in meetings)  I live in the 8th congressional district represented by Mike Fitzpatrick.  Over the last ten years there have been thirty projects that used funds from the transportation budget. 
These thirty projects cost $20 million dollars.  That seems like alot of money but these projects effected people throughout the entire district.  They helped with sidewalks, crosswalks, repairing canal damage, and many other things.  It is universally accepted that you could not build one on-off ramp for that amount of money.  That one off ramp would only serve one very narrow portion of the population.  So you can have thirty different projects throughout the community for less than the price of one project that only effects a very narrow portion of the population. 
The trip was a success and more people should attend and learn how to lobby their congressman and senators.  If they let me in they will most likely let you in as well.
Now Picture time.  And I would like to take this moment to thank the loyal My Life Behind Bars reader that donated a new camera to the cause.  Because of them these next pictures are possible and not from a cell phone.  Thank you.

Congressman Earl Blumenauer is on our side.  A true champion of of the bicycle in government.  He also “rides the ride” check the reflective leg band from his bike commute to to the Summit. 

At the Russell Senate building.  I’m guessing that is Mister Russell.
This is what you see when you look up in the Russell office building.
Yeah I had Breakfast with Bob… Casey that is.
Always impressive walking from one building to the next and you look to your right to see this.
View from an evenings dinner.
I wondered out loud what a person would do with a “Senate Preflown Flag”  The woman next to me informed me that they fly them or fold them for fallen soldiers returning to the USA.  HUMBLING.
There are 50 preflown flags per box.  That is at least 550 flags.  VERY HUMBLING.

If you ignored the earlier request to read Meredith’s blog post. DO IT!