The daily news can really piss one off canâ€™t it? You feel pretty helpless sometimes when things are going to hell. The past eight years have been especially frustrating for this commentator.
Fortunately, bicycles offer solutions to many of the worldâ€™s problems, and thatâ€™s why I find myself standing tall walking the halls of congress to push bicycle-related legislation.
Itâ€™s all centered on the â€œAskâ€, where you ask your legislator to promote a specific agenda. Like the Complete Streets agenda, whereby pedestrians and cyclists transportation needs must be considered in the construction and repair of roads.
Or Safe Routes to Schools, a sure cure for child obesity. Plus Mom can keep the suv in the garage.
Or CLEAN-TEA. In a nut, the transportation budget. Weâ€™d like to see more than one or two percent spent on infrastructure thatâ€™s really green. Bicycle green.
So hereâ€™s how it goes. What we do is hike around to the different senatorial and congressional office buildings circling Capitol Hill, in hopes of gaining face time with anyone representing our individual districts or senate seats. Our Pennsylvania delegation is 20 strong for the senatorial meetings, but at the district meetings, itâ€™s just me and the local cycling advocacy group, Bike Pittsburgh.
Yes, these meetings are rarely with the actual congressperson or senator. Their stafferâ€™s job is to listen to what you ask for, nod their head, and agree to take your message to the representative. Much of the time these peeps are just talking heads that could care less about bikes, but at least itâ€™s encouraging to have them listen to us.
But our meeting with the staffer at Kathy Dahlkemperâ€™s office was another story. Phil English was given the boot last November and we could not be happier that heâ€™s been replaced by a Democratic woman. But get this, the dude weâ€™re talking to is a rabid mountain biker, and we get to spend like 20 minutes just talking about bikes! Needless to say we felt our voice was really being heard in this office.
And thus ends a great day on Capitol Hill.