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With a Big Crowd and Bipartisan Support, Bike Summit Gets Rolling

The League of American Bicyclists welcomed a record crowd to the 2012 National Bike Summit this morning. Over 800 attendees filled the basement of the Grand Hyatt Metro Center in Washington to hear remarks from federal lawmakers and officials about the state of bike advocacy in America -- so large a crowd that president Andy Clarke said that next year the LAB's sights are set on the much larger Walter E. Washington Convention Center, just two blocks away.

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Clarke set the stage for the speakers by pointing out that on the cover of the House transportation bill -- "If you can bring yourself to look at it," he said -- there are four photos of different transportation modes, and not a single human being in sight. The advocates in the audience, Clarke said, will be tasked with putting people back in the picture.

Rep. Earl Blumenauer, the Oregon Democrat whose zeal for bicycles is perhaps matched only by his zeal for bow ties, was first to speak. "My goal in working with you, these last 12 years in particular, is to make cycling a political movement," Blumenauer said to a loud round of applause.

Blumenauer was optimistic about the demise of the House bill, which would have returned national transportation policy to the mid-20th century. "The House bill wasn't just attacking cycling, it was backed by arguably the most powerful person on Capitol Hill -- the speaker. You were a part of a coalition that stopped it dead in its tracks," he said.

Highlights from the other speakers' remarks are after the jump.

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