Cycling studies students and faculty travel to Capitol Hill for the annual League of American Bicyclists 2019 National Bike Summit

For the fourth year, students and faculty from the cycling studies minor attended the League of American Bicyclists 2019 National Bike Summit in Arlington, Virginia, and Washington, D.C., during spring break.

Trip leaders—Program Coordinator and Instructor of Cycling Studies Ted Silver and Adjunct Instructor of Outdoor Recreation Management Deana Acklin—led students Andrew Blackstone, Brendan Bengtson, and Erin Sferrazza during the one-of-a-kind trip.

The summit, which lasted from March 7–12, presented the students with the opportunity to learn about cycling advocacy on Capitol Hill and how to expand their reach into their own communities.

The event brought together hundreds of individuals from across the country and featured round-table discussions broken up by state as well as a lobbying day on Capitol Hill. There, students held meetings with congress people to discuss trending transportation topics as well as cycling infrastructure.

Business administration major and cycling studies minor Erin Sferrazza, said the experience was “eye opening.” Sferrazza said she had no idea how much went into cycling advocacy.

“We talked about the cultures surrounding bicycle racing, commuting, and fitness, and even went into sessions discussing infrastructure issues like bridges, sidewalks, and much more,” she said. “It was cool to see so many people who were passionate about bikes and willing to give their time to make it better.”

Sferrazza learned that even though “[change] takes a long time…nothing will get done unless you are persistent about it.”

After returning from the trip, she says she hopes to bring some of the information she learned to improve the current cycling infrastructure both on campus and in the area.

Sophomore business administration major and cycling studies minor Brendan Bengtson shared a similar sentiment.

“I began cycling as a racer and have always focused on racing, never thinking about how the bike lanes and other bicycle facilities I rely on got there,” he said. “I met many new people and learned so much about how bicycle infrastructure and laws work.”

Bengtson said he hopes to bring his newfound knowledge to the table and assist in making the High Country a more bicycle-friendly region.

“I hope to get more involved in the advocacy aspect of cycling and hope many [in the community] will join as well,” he concluded.

Ted Silver said not only was the trip a chance to see what the rest of the cycling world is like, “but an opportunity to make connections with businesses, fellow advocates, and have open dialogs with their congress people.”

“Nearly all my students who have gone on the trip have entered it with slight skepticism and have come back with a completely new perspective of what is truly involved in the cycling world,” he added. “One of my goals is to provide opportunities for them to understand how this works in their own communities and empower them to make that change.”

Learn more about the cycling studies minor here
By Nina MastandreaApril 05, 2019