Representative Mike Thompson Talks Bikes in Sonoma County

Broad range of leaders paints detailed picture of local bicycle scene for Congressman

When U.S. Representative Mike Thompson's office called to ask SCBC to organize a meeting to brief the Congressman on the state of bicycling in Sonoma County, we jumped at the chance! While the recently passed federal transportation bill allows states and local jurisdictions to use certain federal funds to pay for bicycling and walking projects, the bill eliminates dedicated funding for these programs. That means, bicycling programs must compete with other types of transportation programs. In two years, Congress will pass a new transportation bill, and Sonoma County Bicycle Coalition and our counterparts nationwide want to be sure that bill includes dedicated -- and preferably increased -- funding for bicycling and walking.

That's why we knew it was important for Congressman Thompson to understand the impact federal funding has had and could continue to have on Sonoma County's thriving bicycling culture and bicycling economy. While Representative Thompson has historically voted in favor of funding for bicycling and walking, we hope that hearing our local stories will inspire him to become a champion for such funding.

On Tuesday, October 30th, Thompson met at Sonoma Mountain Village with 26 local leaders, including elected officials, government employees representing law enforcement, transportation, parks, and public health, leaders from the business and tourism community, and those representing local bicycle advocacy, clubs, racing, retail, events, and industry. We talked about all types of bicycling, and how it affects our local economy, public health, and our culture. We also discussed traffic safety, Safe Routes to School, and our county's visionary bicycle/pedestrian plans and the challenges to realizing them.

Listen to KRCB Radio's exclusive coverage of the briefing on the North Bay Report.

It was clear that Congressman Thompson was impressed by the broad range of the positive impacts of bicycling in Sonoma County. He was also impressed by his morning visit to the shop of Santa Rosa-based SyCip bicycles, where the he talked all things mechanical with owner Jeremy SyCip. 

It is a rare opportunity to have 2 full hours to talk with a U.S. Representative about a single issue; we are grateful that Representative Thompson recognized the importance of bicycling in Sonoma County and made time to really understand what it means to our community. We're also grateful to our community leaders and partners who showed up to share their stories about bicycling.

Facilitating conversations and building relationships like these is one of the ways Sonoma County Bicycle Coalition works to make Sonoma County the best place for everyone to ride bicycles -- now and for generations to come.