Many readers might be aware that I, Mark Wyatt, am in Pittsburgh for the Alliance for Bicycling and Walking Leadership retreat.  Every two years, I have the opportunity to learn from bike advocacy leaders from across North America.  This is where I recharge my batteries, learn big ideas, and draw inspiration from my fellow advocacy collegues.

The sessions have been outstanding.  They started strong and each session has topped the next.  The value of this conference is well above the costs to attend.

My first session was on major donor fundraising. This session was accessible and made fundraising seem easy.  We should be ramping up our efforts on fundraising and hopefully expanding our programs and value as a result.

The next session has on volunteers.  There was a lot of group learning, but Margaret McCarthy from the San Fransisco Bicycle Coalition has VERY energic and insightful.  Look for an expansion of our volunteer program.  It is no small feat considering our large geography.

The conference launched an unconference section and allowed the participants to submit big ideas.  The first unconference session I attended was on ending the membership model to grow our organization.  This is an exciting idea and may inspire some changes in our fundraising.

The second session was on E-Bikes.  This could be a important market for bicycling, especially in Iowa.  Since there may be legislative ramifications, we are going to watch this issue very closely.  Lucky for us, we have e-bike legislation that has passed.

The session on day 2 revolved around equity issues. There is a lot of work and energy to make sure our bicycling movement is for everyone.

We spent some time with the benchmarking data and learned about working with business partners.  One of the facinating ideas is working with bike parking in a more forward way.  This could be a great opportunity.  Expect to see a corporate education program, on-site consultation, and much more from the Iowa Bicycle Coalition.

Stay tuned, there are more updates.