On April 22, politicians and bicyclists will join forces to conquer a five-mile trek through Salem.

See also: Kulongoski says nation at a green turning point

PORTLAND – The fourth annual Oregon Bike Summit, April 21-22 in Salem, is emphasizing direct lobbying of state legislators on bike issues. And the event will offer a unique way to do just that: a group bike ride that includes both advocates and politicians.

At 7 a.m. on Wednesday, riders will meet on the steps of the Capitol and set out on a moderate five-mile route through the city. Event organizers have invited every Oregon legislator, even offering to provide bikes and helmets. A group of politicians including senators Jason Atkinson, Jackie Dingfelder and Floyd Prozanski, as well as Salem Mayor Janet Taylor, have accepted the invitation to ride.

“We’ve also made traditional appointments to meet with legislators in their offices Wednesday, but riding together provides an ideal opportunity to discuss the benefits of biking in a relaxed environment,” said Jerry Norquist, executive director of Cycle Oregon and the Bike Summit’s organizer. “What could be more effective than riding along next to someone, talking about cycling while you’re doing it? It’s personal, it’s relevant, it’s healthy and it’s a great way to start the day.”

The fourth annual event is being held in Salem to provide easy access to state lawmakers. Following group discussions on state and federal issues — including the upcoming re-authorization of the Federal Transportation Bill — participants will receive lobbying training. For the second day of the event, appointments have been made with virtually every Oregon legislator, giving attendees the chance to put a unified and personal face to cycling issues.

“As we continue to advocate for a variety of cycling-related issues in Oregon, it’s crucial that we deliver our message directly to our legislators and let them know exactly what we’re asking for and why,” said Norquist. “Sending this large group of passionate bicycle advocates to do direct lobbying is a great way to have a major impact on future legislative decisions.”

Event registration is $100, and vendor exhibits are also available; information is available at www.oregonbikesummit.com or at 503-287-0504, ext. 103.

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