25 women visit their elected officials on Capitol Hill to advocate for better bike policies

WASHINGTON, D.C. – On Wednesday, June 5, PeopleForBikes hosted its largest-ever women’s fly-in, organizing a group of 25 bike industry professionals on Capitol Hill to meet with members of Congress to discuss opportunities to advance policies that benefit bike riding.The day’s meetings focused on generating support for the prioritization of bikes in the 2020 reauthorization of the FAST (Fixing America’s Surface Transportation) Act. Women representing 24 congressional districts across the U.S. spoke to their elected officials about increasing funding for the Transportation Alternatives Program to $1.2 billion annually, providing a 5% set-aside for active transportation and committing to better bike safety data collection and analysis.PeopleForBikes hosted its first women’s fly-in in 2016, and participation in the annual event has increased every year. This week’s 25 participants surpassed the attendance of any D.C. fly-in in the organization’s history.“We started our executive fly-ins as a way to connect industry leaders with their members of Congress,” said PeopleForBikes COO Jenn Dice. “Speaking regularly with elected officials helps industry members understand the work we do in support of better bike policies and, more importantly, it transforms individual business owners into some of the nation’s best advocates for bikes.” While advancing better bike policy and representing the bike industry are the top priorities of the fly-in, the event is also a valuable opportunity for women in the industry to network and build professional connections on Capitol Hill and off.“In an industry that is predominantly white, cisgender men, the women’s fly-in empowers one of the underrepresented populations in this industry to collaborate, make their voice heard and directly influence the funding that is required to provide infrastructure for new and existing bike riders,” said Quality Bicycle Parts’ Jessica Grenwis, who attended both the 2017 and 2019 women’s fly-ins. Another returning participant was Milay Galvez of Advanced Sports Enterprises, who became more engaged with local elected officials back in her hometown, Philadelphia, after attending the 2018 fly-in. “My experience lobbying with PeopleForBikes in Washington, D.C., has given me unique insight into how our government and legislation actually works,” Galvez said. “The experience prepared and motivated me to work at the state level to influence decisions made locally that affect cycling, and because of it we’ve regularly hosted members of Congress and their staff at our company headquarters.”Allison Coughlin, president of Burley, recently engaged with local officials in her home city of Eugene, Oregon. Attending the women’s fly-in was another step in getting more involved in the policy that affects her business. “For many of our customers, a ride in a trailer is their child’s first exposure to biking, and where their love of the outdoors begins,” Coughlin said. “If parents don’t feel safe and comfortable bringing their kids on streets or trails, the starting point for that outdoor experience disappears. Being a part of the PeopleForBikes lobby day reinforced and amplified my desire to continue pushing for policy that supports local infrastructure, recreation access and safer streets. These policies are good for our business, and good for the bike industry as a whole.”This week’s fly-in also coincided with the third annual Congressional Bike Fest, held Wednesday evening in the Rayburn House Office Building. Bike Fest offers legislators and their staff a chance to see the latest bike gear and goods from the bike industry. Exhibiting brands in this year’s Bike Fest included Bosch, Burley, Giant, Po Campo, PeopleForBikes Ride Spot, Pure Cycles, Quality Bicycle Parts, Shimano, SRAM and Trek. Fly-in participants also included Leah Benson, Gladys Bikes (Oregon); Maria Boustead, Po Campo (New York); Sharon Calicdan, Shimano (California); April Canter, Harley-Davidson (Wisconsin); Celeste Carolin, NPD Group (Washington); Carley Chwal, Liv (Virginia); Meredith Tunick Cling, Bosch (Michigan); Alison Cohen, Bicycle Transit Systems (Pennsylvania); Jamie Lynn Furrer, Camelbak (California); Milay Galvez, Advanced Sports Enterprises (Pennsylvania); Jessica Grenwis, Quality Bicycle Parts (Minnesota); Kelsey Hammond, Camelbak (California); Megan Hottman, Hottman Law (Colorado); Tessa Kegel, Wheel & Sprocket (Wisconsin); Elizabeth Kollar, USA Cycling (Colorado); Candice Kozark, BikeNWA (Arkansas); Kim Marek, Quality Bicycle Parts (Minnesota); Ana Meuwissen, Bosch (Michigan); Eileen Mulry, SRAM (Illinois); Sophie Nenner, Bicycle Transit Systems (Pennsylvania); Nelle Pierson, JUMP (New York); Morgan Ramaker, Trek and BCycle (Wisconsin); Milissa Rick, Pacific Cycle (Wisconsin); and Mercedes Ross, Project Bike Tech (Colorado). PeopleForBikes and its partner businesses will continue to aggressively work with allies on Capitol Hill pursuing policies that are beneficial to bicycling and the bike industry, including the upcoming Bicycle Products Supplier Trade Association Committee fly-in October 29–30. Please contact Jordan Trout (jordan@peopleforbikes.org) if you’re interested in joining one of these events.

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