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Andy Clarke: Advocates need racers on their side

When League of American Bicyclists President Andy Clarke was in town last week as the official El Tour de Tucson honoree, he took one crucial piece of information home with him: In order to be more powerful, advocacy organizations need the help of the hardcore road riders.

“They have a lot of connections,” Clarke said from his Washington D.C. office last week.

Clarke said when he realized when speaking about advocacy to the platinum riders — the men and women who expect to finish the 112 miles in under 5 hours —that they are often made up of doctors, lawyers and other professions full of connections and influence.

Clarke said getting them to ride their bike for transportation was great, but getting them to advocate for other people who ride their bikes was even better.

Gary Fisher said something similar when he was in town last month.

Given how large the recreational cycling community is in Tucson, there could be a lot of power and influence. How do Tucson transportation advocates bring them on board and unify their message?

5 comments
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Mlemen
Mlemen

Here's an easy way for recreational riders/racers to come on board to advocacy: it would be AWESOME if LAB included the rec rider in the BFC criteria and have rec riders "count" in ridership surveys. As it is, unless you identify as a transpo rider, you don't "count". That stings a bit for this girl who spends a ton of time teaching bike safety skills, mtb skills, trains riders for El Tour, yet doesn't regularly commute ... I'm not counted.

davistrain
davistrain

I am reminded of 100+ years ago when Henry Ford backed Barney Oldfield's auto racing ventures.

Nate
Nate

Put an NRA-esque fear in them. VOTE FOR BIKE LAWS OR THE GOVERNMENT WILL TAKE YOUR BIKE AWAY.

Red Star
Red Star

Resisting lawyer and mayor jokes--Adopt a pothole? Adopt a cycling moonscape? Adopt a bike boulevard? Annoy a bureaucrat?

Martha Retallick
Martha Retallick

One of the things that we, the slow and the utilitarian, can do is to start talking with the recreators. It's not hard. You just go up to them, admire their bikes, and start talking bikes. The rest will naturally follow.