Feb 14th, 2011
Let’s get this out of the way right at the top: I’m not from Colorado. During two days of inspiration and advocacy at the Colorado Bicycle Summit last week Chip and I had to explain more than a few times that we Utahns were just along for the proverbial ride. In Denver to meet with Primal Wear. Lucky coincidence. Just interested, no real skin in the game in the cycling fights of the Centennial State. Or so I thought.
Though I’m a bit of a political junkie (I rubberneck at car accidents too…), I’ve never dabbled in any political advocacy because of my newspaper background. With objectivity always on the mind, I’ve tried to stay above the fray. So listening to the battles being waged in the state next door and what cycling advocacy groups like Bicycle Colorado are doing about it was a huge eye-opener.
Trek President John Burke gave a great talk at the summit, outlining how cycling can solve a lot of our country’s less attractive trends (traffic congestion, crowding, environmental issues and obesity) and how to get organized and make a difference.
The takeaway: Democracy is for the people who show up.
I can’t begin to count the number of public meetings I attended as a reporter where the only people there were the board members and me. When folks did show up, the elected officials were likely to listen, if for no other reason than to hear a voice besides their own.
It’s not easy to show up. Just like it’s not easy to wake up early for a run or hit the trainer when there’s a cold beer waiting in the fridge. But if you’re not there to fight for it, nothing gets said before a vote is cast that changes your life for the worse.
So consider this a belated New Year’s resolution: In 2011, whether it’s an email to my congressman, a community council meeting or, yes, bicycle advocacy, I’m going to do my best to show up. It wouldn’t kill me to hit those morning runs, either.