By Tara McKee
June 2011 – The 2011 Utah Bike Summit was held on Friday, April 29th at the SLCC campus in Sandy. The night before the summit, Bike Utah hosted a special showing of “Race Across the Sky 2010” at the Jordan Commons Megaplex. A special Q & A was held after the movie with some of Utah’s top Leadville 100 racers, including Elden Nelson (aka “the Fat Cyclist”) and Glen Adams. During the raffle drawing, awesome prizes were given out and included great gear and other prizes from Specialized, I-Bert, DZ Nuts, Rockwell Relay, Lone Peak, Lifetime Fitness, Ruby Snap and many others.
Although the default location of the summit on the SLCC campus in Sandy was a bit controversial at first, those who attended did like the setting and some commented it felt more like a state summit, than a Salt Lake City summit. The registration fee was a new addition to this year’s summit, which helped cover many of the costs, including lunch. In spite of cold, rainy weather that day, participation actually went up; nearly 90% of those who registered attended and participants came from around the state.
Andy Clarke, president of the League of American Bicyclists made the keynote address titled “Bicycling: A Simple Solution that Makes Cents/Sense.” Ted Wilson, from the governor’s office, echoed that theme as he spoke on benefits from bicycling to the state of Utah. Panels and by other speakers underlined the fact that better cycling infrastructure, cycling events, tourism, and the better health of cyclists actually had good economic benefits to the community and the state. The summit’s expanded format included mountain biking, cycling tourism issues, subjects that included a focus on health, bike events, safe routes to schools and an introduction to the Utah Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Planning Guide.
Surveys showed that one of the most popular features of the 2011 Utah Bike Summit was the “State of the Bike” reports given from five of Utah’s towns. The reports showed off the communities’ cycling infrastructure (including trails), how the city was promoting cycling, and noted some of the cycling events that brought in tourists or engaged the community. Charlie Sturgis made the presentation from Park City, while Dan Stewart spoke on behalf of Moab. Zac Whitmore and Jim Price gave a joint report on the Provo/Orem area and Matt Hasenyager and Josh Jones showed off the best of Ogden’s cycling. During the lunch hour, Kevin Lewis and Paul Huddle made a presentation about St. George and noted the changes that hosting the Ironman have brought to the St. George area and how it has benefited cyclists. Next year’s summit will continue the “State of the Bike” reports with five other communities around the state.
The summit had some wonderful sponsors including Clif Bar, QBP, Alta Planning & Design, SelectHealth, Intermountain Health & Fitness Institute, Enve Composites, DZ Nuts, the Utah Governor’s Office of Economic Development, and ProBar. Specialized sponsored a dinner and meet & greet reception at the Salt Lake Bicycle Transit Center which followed the summit.
Andy Clark noted that Utah’s rank among bike friendly states had dropped from 10th to 31st place over the last couple years, but made the point, “Utah should not just be in the top ten…but should be number one!” He also made the point after listening to all the state of the bike reports from around the state and presentation about Utah as a top cycling destination, that Utah “was sitting on a gold mine” with the wealth of potential it had for great cycling (and mountain biking) within the entire state.
To see or read some of the presentations, visit bikeutah.org.