By Tara McKee
The theme of the fourth annual Utah Bike Summit, lovingly adapted from Utah’s tourism theme is Bike Elevated. It’s a theme meant to inspire us all to reach higher in striving to build a better bicycling future for our state. Utah’s road cyclists, commuters and mountain bikers can all find something they can enjoy and learn from at this year’s Summit. In an effort to bring the Summit to other parts of the state, this year’s annual gathering will be held on Friday, May 4th at Ogden’s Union Station. It promises to be an inspiring and informative day that brings Utah’s bicycling community together to help improve cycling and biking across the state
UTA, a sponsor of this year’s Summit will be offering Summit attendees a free ride on Frontrunner to and from Ogden to attend the bike Summit. Once there, use the bike valet service, provided by the Ogden Bike Collective. The Summit registration fee includes breakfast, lunch, snacks and a sweet SWAG bag plus the opportunity to network with bicycle and trail advocates and others from around the state who enjoy getting around on two wheels!
Ogden’s new mayor, Mike Caldwell, an avid cyclist himself, will be there to welcome attendees and help kick-off this year’s Summit. The keynote will be given by SRAM’s advocacy director, Randy Neufeld. Randy has been involved with active transportation and bike advocacy work for many years. Not only does he direct SRAM’s Cycling Fund, which supports national advocacy both in the US and Europe, but he works with the Alliance for Biking and Walking and is the strategy manager for the National Complete Streets Coalition. His message for Utah will be drawn from his experience gained from over two decades in state, national and international bike advocacy.
Ryan Schutz from the International Mountain Biking Association (IMBA) will be at the Summit to speak on the subject of how Utah can get more people on mountain bikes. A few of the points that Ryan will be touching on are that too often novice bikers have a hard time finding trails suited to their skill level and lessons to help polish their technical skills aren’t widely available. Fewer bikers joining the sport can only hurt in the long run. Ryan will also be joining Riley Cutler from Utah’s Governor’s Office of Economic Development, to delve into the subject of how communities which offer great mountain biking and road cycling can reap economic benefits from tourism.
The Summit will be a great chance to hear about the new high school mountain biking league from its Utah director, Lori Harward. Next fall, high school teams around the state will be competing in the sport of mountain biking under the banner of the National Interscholastic Cycling Association (NICA). As other states have shown, past NICA alums continue to ride for years after graduating and often get their families into biking as well. A few of the students who have raced in NICA’s leagues have gone on to race in college or in professional circuits. The growth of Utah’s NICA league will leave a strong imprint on a new generation of bikers and cyclists.
Michael Allegra, UTA’s new general manager, will be at the Summit to speak about the future of active transportation in Utah. Active transportation provides people the ability to travel freely by walking and bicycling to their destination. When the right investments are made for pedestrians and cyclists, more people choose to use non-motorized transportation. It’s important that it is planned as a part of Utah’s transportation systems of tomorrow. Keri Gibson of Road Respect and Utah Highway Safety, will be joined on the podium by Tami Cromar who is an avid cyclist and also the owner of the gourmet cookie bakery Ruby Snap. They will be speaking about ways to improve the relationship between cyclists and motorists in Utah. Other Summit highlights will include hearing from some of our state legislators about new and future legislation that directly affects cyclists and an overview of how Utah is doing as a state by Bike Utah chair, Brad Woods.
Summit attendees can choose from afternoon breakout sessions on moving bike advocacy forward in our state, a panel to discuss ways of making businesses bicycle friendly, as well as a focus on the positive impact that cycling and mountain biking tourism can bring to areas around the state. In addition the Summit will be bringing back the very popular State of the Bike reports that bring focus and attention to communities around the state. These reports show what communities are doing to encourage cycling and biking in their area and the infrastructure improvements they are planning and building. The spotlight at this year’s Summit will fall on Draper, Vernal, Beaver, and Brigham City.
Registration information plus all the fine Summit details can be found on Bike Utah’s website: www.BikeUtah.org