Tag Archives: Jim Oberstar

R.I.P. Jim Oberstar, a friend to mountain biking

Former MN Congressman Jim Oberstar died unexpectedly last Saturday.  His funeral was earlier today in the Washington DC area.

If you’ve been a bicyclist in Minnesota for very long, you’re probably aware of his contributions.  If not, see the links from Adventure Cycling here and here. I like those because they’re a couple years old.

I briefly met Oberstar last year in St. Paul (blogged here) when he attended and spoke at the 2013 Minnesota Bicycle Summit. I knew at the time from my conversations with QBP’s Gary Sjoquist that Oberstar was able to secure (an earmark!) $750,000 of Federal highway funds (first time ever for a MTB trail) for the creation of the Cuyuna Lakes Mountain Bike Trail System so I was pleased to get the above photo of him with two of my Cuyuna Lakes Mountain Bike Crew (CLMTBC) pals, John Schaubach and Jenny Smith.

Here’s an excerpt from a Cuyuna timeline document on IMBA’s website:

2005 – IMBA’s Jenn Dice suggests to Tim Wegner that MN 8th District Congressman Jim Oberstar might be able to help with funding. Wegner drafts a request for a federal transportation grant which he and [Gary] Sjoquist present to Oberstar in Washington, DC. When President Bush signs the 2005 federal transportation bill in July, 750,000 is earmarked for the CCSRA [Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area] to be administered through MN Department of Transportation to the MN DNR.

BikeMN’s Minnesota Bicycle Summit: how bike advocacy works

BikeMNMinnesota Bicycle Summit on Capitol Hill BikeMN's Minnesota Bicycle Summit hashtag
I attended the Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota‘s (BikeMN) third annual Minnesota Bicycle Summit on Capitol Hill yesterday, as I’m trying to get smarter about the state of bike advocacy in Minnesota and who the players are.  I became a BikeMN member a couple weeks ago and am impressed with all that they’re doing and how well-organized yesterday’s Summit was.

Bemidji Mayor Rita Albrecht Bemidji Mayor Rita Albrecht John Schaubach, Rita Albrecht, Jenny Smith
Bemidji Mayor Rita Albrecht (@BemidjiRita) was one of the featured speakers, talking about Bemidji’s new designation as a Bike Friendly Community. I’ve crossed paths with Rita recently in my consulting work so I was pleased to introduce her to two of my Cuyuna Lakes Mountain Bike Crew (CLMTBC) pals, John Schaubach and Jenny Smith.

Jim Oberstar, Jenny Smith, John Schaubach CLMTBC_IMBA_Web_Logo Jim Oberstar, photo by BikeMN
I was also pleased to get a photo of former 8th District Congressman Jim Oberstar with Jenny and John as they were preparing to head over to the Capitol Rotunda for his keynote.  When Oberstar was chair of the U.S. House transportation committee, he helped secure $700,000 in federal funds for the creation of the Cuyuna Lakes Mountain Bike Trails (CLMTBT).  See this June 2011 article by Brett Larson in Silent Sports magazine, Cuyuna Lakes Reclaimed, for more on the role that Jim, John, Jenny and many others played. It’s a marvelous story of how the organic process of bike advocacy can work.

Other speakers at the Minnesota Bicycle Summit on Capitol Hill:

Ron Jackson, BikeMN Board Dorian Grilley, BikeMN Exec Dir Jim Backstrom, Dakota Cty Attny
Ron Jackson, BikeMN Board; Dorian Grilley, BikeMN Exec Dir; Jim Backstrom, Dakota Cty Attny

Barb Thoman, Transit for Livable Communities Rachel Callahan, American Heart Association DSC08580
Barb Thoman, Transit for Livable Communities; Rachel Callahan, AHA;

Charlie Zelle, MNDOT Commissioner Matt Moore, QBP general counsel Eric Husband, Colle + McVoy Jason Gaikowski, QBP Director of Marketing
Charlie Zelle, MNDOT Commissioner; Matt Moore, QBP general counsel; Eric Husband, Colle + McVoy; Jason Gaikowski, QBP Director of Marketing