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State legislators from all over the United States woke at dawn on Thursday, July 23 to participate in one of the hottest-ticket events at the National Conference of State Legislatures - the 6th NCSL Bipartisan Bike Ride. The ride was co-hosted by Senator Rodney Ellis (D-Houston, TX), and Representative Rick Geist (R-Altoona, PA), the Chair of the Transportation Committee. The group of 100 participants who rode the scenic eight-mile tour of downtown Philadelphia included 14 state senators and 21 state representatives from 23 states (plus Guam, the Virgin Islands and Quebec). Sponsors were Wal-Mart, Fuji and New Belgium. Coordinators were BikeTexas and the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia.
"Dollar for dollar, this is the most effective lobbying activity we do to advance the state-level legislative bicycle agenda," said Robin Stallings, Executive Director of BikeTexas, organizer of the ride.
Senator Ellis, a host of the ride since its inception in 2005, said, "The bike ride has become one of the highlights of the annual legislative summits, and has cast cycling in a very positive light among my colleagues."
Riders borrowed bikes and helmets - BikeTexas hauled its fleet of 50 bikes up from Texas in a trailer, and the other 50 bikes were generously provided by Fuji. The ride was also supported by the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia, who planned the route and whose staff fitted bikes and helmets and marshaled the ride.
To see the photos from the ride, click here. To read the Philadelphia Inquirer news article on the ride, click here.