The first time I rode my bike to Mitchell Field 15 years ago for the first National Bike Summit I attended in Washington, D.C., even I wasn’t sure how to get into the airport on a bike friendly route or how to find the bike parking. Needless to say mine was the only bike parked there.
The temperature was zero when I left home this morning on my way to Summit, so I figured I was going to be the only one pedaling to the airport again. When I pulled up on my Dutchified Schwinn, I was pleasantly surprised to see the bike parking was nearly full! There were 9 bikes already locked up to the racks. I’m no mathematician, but that looks like a 900% increase in people riding to the airport.
I also remember when the City of Milwaukee gave the bike racks to the airport and we got some criticism that nobody would ever use them and it was waste of money. The same arguments were made at the first bike lanes, bike racks on buses and more recently, bikesharing and protected bike lanes.
Over and over again these bicycling boondoggle arguments have been proven wrong and the “if you build it they will ride” has proven true. The number of people riding bicycles for transportation has been increasing steadily, if slowly, since that first National Bike Summit I attended 15 years ago, proof that I have not been wasting my time making the trip to spread the good word about bicycling in our nation’s capital.
In the meantime, you can read about our agenda and our asks on the Summit website on the League of American Bicyclists website here, or by clicking the image to the left.
UPDATE: While Wisconsinites pedal through our coldest, snowiest winter in decades, Washington, D.C, shuts down when a paralyzing 1 inch of snow falls. Washington International Airport closed and my flight was cancelled, but I caught a lift back home from Mitchell Field in a Wheel & Sprocket van with Chris and Amelia Kegel. We left Heather Fortune from Saris at the airport still trying to book another flight.
Amelia and her dad made it on a 7:25 flight tonight. I am on another 9:15 flight tomorrow. We all have our fingers crossed.