Boulder, Colo. (Nov. 9, 2015)- Last week, PeopleForBikes was in Washington D.C. for an all-women’s Fly-in with sixteen of top bicycle industry executives to help make biking better in America. PeopleForBikes leaders and industry executives met with members of congress, senior staff, as well as other influential stakeholders and coalition leaders to help move forward pro-bike business and industry goals.
With almost 270 years of combined experience, these top leaders from around the country gathered to engage with key policy makers. Critical issues discussed included continued bike infrastructure funding in the transportation bill, trade and tariff related issues, bike eligibility in the TIGER grant program and movements happening within the PHIT and Marketplace Fairness coalitions.
Executive Fly-ins are a key program of PeopleForBikes’ Business Network, which works to organize the local, state and federal voice of business behind better bicycling in America. This particular fly-in coincided with meetings happening on the Hill to discuss the transportation bill that is the largest check Congress writes for bike and pedestrian projects each year—roughly $820 million for 2,300 projects. In order to advocate for better bicycling, leaders need to know about the people employed, taxes paid, storefronts filled and the communities improved through bicycling.
“This fly-in was critical because there were two amendments on the floor of Congress this exact week that would have stripped away bicycle funding. We were able to deliver our message of the powerful economics of the industry and how cycling is making communities better all over the country,” said Elysa Walk, former General Manager of Giant, who delayed her departure from the company to attend the Fly-in.
“The timing of our PeopleforBikes Executive Fly-in was perfect, as important trade and transportation bills were on the floor in Congress,” said Shinola Bicycle Director Sky Yaeger. “We talked about the Trans Pacific Partnership and Environmental Goods Agreement which could reduce or eliminate tariffs on bicycles and components and encourage global bicycle sales. Both issues pending will have a real impact on the industry. Meeting face-to-face with staff, members of congress and senators moved the needle in the right direction.”
“We heard from the Marketplace Fairness Coalition on how the bike industry can continue to help forward legislation that creates sales tax parity between online sales and brick and mortar,” Alix Magner, National Sales Manager, Quality Bicycle Products. “This is a serious issue for independent bicycle dealers and the political climate in Congress is getting closer to passing this important legislation. The next couple months are key so our timing for meetings was great.”
“This is an exciting time to be on Capital Hill talking to Congress while our very important transportation bill was on the floor,” said Laurie Koch, Global Customer Service Director at Trek Bicycle. “We were working hard to keep the funding that supports bicycling infrastructure, Safe Routes to School, Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP), Recreational Trails Program (RTP) and the overall interest of the bicycle industry.”
“By the numbers—16 women, two U.S. Senators, three members of Congress, two BikesPAC events, dozens of meetings with congressional staff and coalition leaders—it was a busy three days,” said Jenn Dice, Vice President of PeopleForBikes Coalition Business Network. “We worked hard, had real results, and were humbled by the leadership and experience by such talented women to forward the PeopleForBikes and bike industry agendas.”
The top industry executives included:
Sue Allan, VP Technical Services, Shimano; Karen Bliss, VP Marketing, ASI; Elayna Caldwell, MTB Brand Director, SRAM; Jenn Dice, VP Business Network, PeopleForBikes; Katy Hartnett, Director of Government Relations, PeopleForBikes; Laurie Koch, Global Customer Service Director, Trek Bicycle; Roxy Lo, Director/Owner; Ibis Cycles, Lois Mabon, Global Expansion Leader, W.L. Gore & Associates, GORE BIKE WEAR Division; Anne Mader, Owner, The Bike Lane; Alix Magner, National Sales Manager, Quality Bicycle Products; Ana Meuwissen, Director Federal Government Affairs, Robert Bosch, LLC; Martha Roskowski, VP Local Innovation, PeopleForBikes; Kara Stone, Seattle Flagship General Manager, REI; Elysa Walk, General Manager, Giant Bicycle USA; Carol Wentworth, SVP Marketing, Performance Bicycle; Sky Yaeger, Shinola Bicycle Director, Shinola Detroit.
The next Fly-in takes place February 2-3 and May 10-11. Those interested in attending should contact Jenn Dice, Jenn@PeopleforBikes.org.
PeopleForBikes is a movement to make riding better for everyone. They are uniting millions of individuals, thousands of businesses, and hundreds of communities to improve bicycling. Join the movement at PeopleForBikes.org.