I had the privilege of attending the 2009 Bicycle and Pedestrian Conference this week, held up at the Montbleu Casino in South Lake Tahoe. In addition to eating three huge meals a day, I learned all sorts of new things about bicycling! Many of the classes held over the last two days were on urban bicycle and pedestrian design issues, but there were also classes about bicycle touring and tourism, trail etiquette, funding and managing trail projects, and bicycling programs for kids.
The instructors and speakers were a mix of local and state agencies, advocacy groups, trail associations, national groups, and authors. Jeff Mapes, author of Pedaling Revolution, gave the keynote address. I’m currently reading this book, so expect a full review soon (or get your own down at the Bike Habitat!).
Joe “Metal Cowboy” Kurmaskie, author of books on his worldwide cycling adventures spoke at a class and at the dinner event. Joe is a humorous mix of Mark Twain and Hunter S. Thompson, his wild stories of life on the road left you laughing and wishing you could go off on your own adventures. I was lucky enough to have lunch with these two guys on Wednesday, and we compared notes of our cycling issues from our parts of the country.
There’s an old saying, “The more you know, the more you know you don’t know.” I left the conference with a sense of awe of how many people are working on bicycle and pedestrian issues. It also left me with a better sense of where I fit into the whole picture, and what my roll should be. Building partnerships with other entities is one of the big things I took with me. Do what you do well, and call on others to do what they do well.
In addition to the classes, the social gatherings facilitated networking with like minded folks. These networking sessions proved to be just as valuable as the classes themselves. I learned way too much to discuss here in this post, so I’ll share individual topics with local examples at a later time. I’ll just finish by saying I’m excited to put all my new found knowledge to use!