Bicycle Colorado’s Bicycle Summit Tackling Challenges

By Shannon Simpson

Denver–Oct 6th–Congratulations to Bicycle Colorado on a well organized Colorado Bicycle Summit held in Denver this year. Overall there was a good mix of inspiration, motivation, information and discussion of tough topics all targeted at promoting cycling in Colorado and increasing cycling safety.

Governor Polis kicked it off calling for support for infrastructure and policy for better biking in Colorado and for races and rides that contribute to a thriving tourism industry. He talked about how a healthy cycling community reduces health care costs, contributes to our outdoor recreation economy, and helps make Colorado greener by reducing greenhouse gases.

Rebecca Rusch, the Summit’s keynote speaker and ultra-endurance professional athlete, activist, author, and entrepreneur who was elected into the prestigious International Mountain Bike Hall of Fame, delivered an inspiring presentation stating that her definition of winning is changing. That failure is a prerequisite to winning, and that the work required isn’t always pretty. She calls it winning ugly. “It’s about grit and taking your gifts forward in all that you do and giving back.”

She spoke of the butterfly effect meaning one’s positive impact on others can have a ripple effect beyond those we come in contact with directly. Rebecca works to promote inclusivity in cycling and protection of the natural places she loves bike.

During lunch with new Colorado Parks and Wildlife Director, Dan Prenzlow, we discussed entry and usage fees as the main source of funding for this agency since they are not included in and receive only a very minimal amount from the state budget.

In the afternoon, a very diverse plenary panel of all different types of cyclists offered a discussion of their experience and input on how to increase accessibility. Panelists expressed that it’s not just about accessibility, but taking it a step further to encourage, teach, and mentor those interested in getting out on a bike. They encouraged us to engage in bike advocacy and promote inclusivity by speaking up to those in charge with respect, with a willingness to work together, and offer ideas and solutions not just complaints.

The day rounded out with two breakout sessions where attendees could choose from two topics in each session. These sessions tackled some tough topics such as public perception of different types of cyclists, socio-cultural barriers to cycling, and the language media and law enforcement use to report crashes that involve cyclists and drivers.

All in all the Summit did a great job of representing the cycling community in Colorado and the salient topics of the day. Mark your calendars for Bicycle Colorado’s “Moving People Forward Summit” on February 10, 2020.

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