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A New Mission and Vision for the League

Bicycling brings people together.

When more people ride, individual lives are better; communities are stronger and better connected; our nation is healthier, happier and environmentally and economically stronger.

After a day and a half of discussing, brainstorming, and parsing, these simple and powerful beliefs emerged from the League Board of Directors’ strategic planning retreat. To me, they represent not only a compelling statement of beliefs but also an irresistible reason for “why” we do the things we do at the League.

So strongly do we believe these things that we want everyone in every community across the country to enjoy the benefits of bicycling and to have the opportunity to get on their bike and ride, for whatever reason is important to them. We see a future where that is possible — and yet we know we have our work cut out to make that vision a reality.

After affirming such a set of beliefs and laying out that bold of a vision, we enthusiastically took the next step. We stepped forward and embraced the challenge of leading the movement to create a bicycle-friendly America, for everyone.

At this exciting moment, the League board and senior staff was writing the prologue to the next chapter of our 134-year history. The deliberate and repeated focus on “everyone” speaks volumes to our commitment to inclusivity. Listening and learning emerged as key words in how we define leadership, alongside an internal commitment to being more intentional about the role we play (and sometimes don’t play) in the broader bicycling movement.

I’m also excited to report on a powerful, unifying, and timely strategy that emerged for our work in 2014. This year marks the 20-year anniversary of the National Bicycling and Walking Study — a congressionally-mandated action plan to double bicycling and walking levels while reducing crashes by half. That “study” created a genuine focus and specific action plan for federal, state and local transportation agencies that we need to re-create in 2014. More than that, we need to seize the momentum for bicycling that exists at the local level across the country; set more ambitious national goals; and engage health, economic development, energy, and environment as well as transportation agencies in realizing the full potential of bicycling.

A new National Bike Strategy – a national bike plan, if you will – can unify our movement, focus our energies, and be a catalyst for real change by identifying a clear role for advocates, the business community, and government agencies at all levels in achieving two simple goals: getting more people riding, and making biking safer.

The 2014 National Bike Summit is the start of the process – and it’s no coincidence that we chose “United Spokes” as the theme for this year’s gathering of the bicycling movement’s leaders. A national bike plan doesn’t work if it’s a solely a League campaign — we must listen, learn and lead the bicycling movement to make it happen.

That’s our mission, and I’m fired up and ready to go.