Trek: A Bike Maker Flexes Some Advocacy Muscle


One thousand Trek Lime "cruising bicycles," waiting for riders.

David Vandenberg of Transportation Alternatives recently returned from Trek Bicycle’s 2008 sales meeting in Madison, Wisconsin where he reports the manufacturer of Lance Armstrong’s high-tech racing bike is positioning itself as corporate America’s leading bicycling advocate:

Billed as "major product announcement," Trek President John Burke unveiled the company’s One World Two Wheels program at this year’s sales meeting. Through the program Trek is committing $1.6 million over the next three years to support the League of American Bicyclists’ Bicycle Friendly Community Campaign and a few other projects. Here is how Trek’s web site puts it:

We all know the world has some problems; gas is expensive and cars
pollute, the roads are congested and humans are getting bigger. And not
in a good way.

Luckily, there is a solution to these problems. A solution that burns
calories, not gas. It doesn’t waste fuel sitting in traffic. Something
that could even bring communities closer together.

The solution is the bicycle.

As part of the program, Burke asked the assembled dealers to work with Trek to increase bike trips from one percent of total U.S. mode share to five percent by 2017.

"Bicycling is a very simple solution to many complicated problems in the world," said Burke. "I believe that
the contribution from Trek can significantly
increase the resources of the Bicycle Friendly Communty’s program and help make the dream of
a bike-friendly America become a reality."

Following the presentation, 1,000 Trek Lime bicycles were handed over to attendees to ride en masse to dinner at a location about two miles away. Before sending off the crowd, Burke noted that 40 percent of all trips in the United States are within two miles of home and 50 percent of the working population commutes five miles or less to work.

Then one thousand cyclists took over the town for a night. Bikes were everywhere, at every bar, on every path and every intersection.

Four hundred miles west of Detroit’s sputtering automakers, Madison, Wisconsin got a sneak peak at the future of urban American transportation.


Leading the Tour de Lime: Trek President John Burke wearing the red jersey.

  • Angus Grieve-Smith

    When I think of “advocacy muscle,” I think political contributions:

    http://www.opensecrets.org/indivs/search.asp?key=wffsb&txtName=burke,%20john&txtState=(all%20states)&txtZip=53704&txtAll=Y&Order=N
    http://www.opensecrets.org/pacs/pacgot.asp?strID=C00372862&Cycle=2006

    Olympia Snowe, for example, got $3,000 from the Bikes Belong Coalition, but $3,000 from the American Trucking Association, $6,000 from other trucking PACs and $7,500 from the National Auto Dealers Association.

    Looks like the bikes have to flex a lot more to balance all that sputtering.

  • Mitch

    I was riding home on the bike path on the Saturday evening of the Trek sales meeting when I encountered several hundred people riding Limes in the opposite direction. It was pretty impressive — all those identical blue helmets and white LED headlights, taking up the whole width of the path (they did yield me a bit of space to get by them).

    The mass ride was particularly impressive in the weather we had that night — 5 miles each way on a rainy night with occasional lightning. I hope the evening went well for them.

  • Hooray for John Burke and Trek. This is precisely the sort of leadership and commitment we need from the bike industry.

  • william lanier, jr

    I wa LAW state rep, n. c. in early 70’s…now at age 73 still ride o/a 3000 miles per year. n c has probly one of best map prorgrams in the country. my knotts island ride ar v a beach is in its 31st year all the beast,stay well and may the wind be to your back. p s.,fred de long was a a friend of mine,i rode with him when he rode with broken leg!!! excuse spellimg!!

  • heidi

    i had the privilege of participation in that historic ride. i know and believe in the Trek commitment. Mr. Burke is a visionary and his lead will allow all bicycle retailers to elevate exposure to “less waist/less waste”, -“go by bike.”, “Given that the average person who commits to commuting by bicycle loses 13 lbs. in their first year, the personal health benefits of cycling are obvious.”
    “But when combined with the fact that cars stalled in traffic waste more than 5 billion gallons of fuel per year, going by bike can have a great impact on the health of the world as well.”

    “For your Health. For the World. For Two Miles or Less.” ….

    Fabulous tools to increase awareness in the little old earth community. This is bipartison brilliance.

    Mr. Burke took the lead. We need to work together to build on his effort. Join us. Get out & ride.

    Thank YOU!

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