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The Race to Support Advocacy
Cyclocross champ Tim Johnson takes the Pennsylvania Avenue bike lane to the US Capitol Building. (Photo: Bikes Belong)
Tim Johnson is starting a conversation.
When the cyclecross racing superstar rode 538 miles from Boston, MA, to Washington, DC, in time for the kick off of the National Bike Summit, he wasn't just pumping his legs; he was pumping up the racing community to become more involved in advocacy. It appears to be working.
In the days since his ride and his participation in the Finally, the Racing and Advocacy World Collide panel session last Wednesday, the internet has been taking up his call to action.
Johnson started his Ride on Washington after attending the Summit for the first time in 2010 and realizing the disconnect between the advocacy and racing communities. His ride, which benefits the Bikes Belong Foundation, raises awareness for advocacy by engaging racers, race fans, and the general public -- not to mention John Hancock Funds CEO Keith Hartstein.
The Bike Summit panel session saw a lively conversation about how to encourage racers and advocates to work together better. Gary Fisher, the race legend and sartorial standout, stood up to say: "Advocates are the ones working hard the ground, the pros are whooosh, just flying overhead. We racers need to RESPECT the advocates." He went on to say, "I used to be a pro; now I just ride my bike so I can still fit into my suits!"
Johnson's message appears to be resonating beyond the advocacy community. Here are several of the articles, editorials, and blog posts we've seen on the topic:
Cycling 500 Miles For Bike Rights (Forbes)
Racers and Advocates: Like Any Team, We’re Stronger Together (Bicycle Transportation Alliance)
Cyclocross superstar Tim Johnson and crew arrive in D.C. (Bikes Belong)