Sunday, March 02, 2008

SD Bicycle Summit

At first I wasn't sure if I was at a Bike Summit or a bloggers convention. After all, there was thE kErnEL, Hooterville Mayor, Cycle SD, MinusCar, Cycling Cathy, and Ride Vermillion. After pleasantries were exchanged with fellow bloggers/cyclists, we started to realize the higher purpose of why we were in attendance.

Sometimes it takes an incident to get people to join together for a cause. Although biking has always needed a unified voice in South Dakota, it took the state legislature trying to remove bicycles from the definition of a vehicle to make us realize just how much we needed to band together. When Greg Boris got a few of us on board with his dream of a bike summit, yesterday was a wonderful climax of all that planning.

Everything about yesterday's summit was awesome. From hearing Gary Sjoquist, a national bicycle advocate, to hearing the magic words, "Congratulations, you have just witnessed the birth of the South Dakota Bicycle Coalition" I couldn't have been more proud to be there. I truly believe the future of cycling will be greatly enhanced by what we witnessed yesterday.

Although it has just begun, it is going to take the work of many people to keep the Coalition going strong and getting our message out to others. As we continue to grow and need assistance in various areas, I call on all bicyclists reading this to consider helping. More information to come on what will be needed.

I was also proud that we took our first action as a coalition to draft a letter in support of not demolishing a train bridge on the Cheyenne River between Rapid City and the Badlands. It would cost $250,000 to demolish and $300,000 to restore to usability. If it is demolished, the dream of a 98 mile trail from Rapid City to the Badlands would never again be realized. I thought it was pretty awesome that we not only formed the South Dakota Bicycle Coalition, but also was able to hit the ground running with an advocacy issue.

Thanks go out to my share-the-ride mates Craig, Cathy, and Jack for taking a day out of their lives and sharing the dream and showing the support of our local group of riders as well. My biggest thanks go to Greg Boris. Once he got fired up to get this thing going, there was no stopping him. He did an outstanding job of getting the right people involved to make this happen. Long live the South Dakota Bicycle Coalition!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Sounds like an awesome start for cyclist statewide. From Aberdeen and have a small core group here with others on the fringe. Would have liked to be there but schedule not allow it. Look forward to hearing more and maybe we can help fom this part of state in the future.
Riding 1st Tour De Kota this year so look forward to meeting some of people see on the forum!!

Scott Cunningham