Bikers in the country

Congressional Meetings

Participating in ‘Advocacy Day’ is one of the highlights of our 2017 Red White and Blue Ridge Ride. It’s a chance for you to really make your voice heard, show your elected officials you care and want them to work towards a better future. Advocacy Day is only open to registered participants. 

On the ride, you’ll receive a packet that will include the time and location of your meeting, a suggested script, and other training materials to help you with messaging. This packet will also contain information on the voting record of your Senator(s) and Representative(s) relating to cycling advocacy, conservation, and climate change.

Below is some general information to help you understand how it works. If you have more questions, feel free to shoot us an email!

What time will my meetings be?

Advocacy Day will be the day after we finish the ride in Washington. It’s difficult to know when exactly your meetings will be, as Congressional staff rarely schedule meetings more than two weeks ahead of time. However, we aim to schedule meetings as follows:

9am: Meeting with Senator 1
11 am: Meeting with Senator 2
1pm: Meeting with Representative
This allows for a 45-minute to 1-hour meeting, with time to walk to the next meeting. While this is what we aim for, we don’t always get the exact meeting times we request. Times may vary. We do the best we can to have all your meetings complete by 2pm.

What’s the earliest I should plan on departing DC?

If you want to meet with all your Members of Congress, we suggest not planning to depart before 5 or 6pm. If your transportation options are limited or require that you leave earlier, that’s ok - just let us know so that we don’t schedule you for a meeting that you cannot make.

Whom will I be meeting with?

You may have the chance to meet with your Senator(s) or Representative(s) themselves, but more often you’ll meet with the Legislative Assistant in charge of Energy & Climate, or Transportation, depending on your interest. We try to schedule as many meetings as possible, but we don’t always get 3 meetings. Sometimes you’ll get two. In rare cases, we might only be able to get you one meeting.

Will other Climate Riders be in my meeting with me?

Depending on which state you’re from and how many riders decide to participate in Advocacy Day, there may be other riders from your state in the meeting with you. We’ll try to connect you all during the ride so you can have a chance to discuss things before your meeting together.

Where is my meeting going to take place?

Your meetings will take place on Capitol Hill, in one of the Senate and House buildings. More information on the exact building and room for your meetings will be provided in your packet during the ride. If you want to get a lay of the land, you can Google Map the Russell, Dirksen, and Hart Senate Office Buildings. The Representative Office Buildings are just south of Independence Ave between 1st Ave SE and New Jersey Ave SE. We’ll give you more specific maps during the ride. 

How do I get to my meeting?

Depending on where you’re staying, there are multiple ways to get around D.C. to the Senate and House buildings. Taxis and the metro are two good options. There is a metro stop (“Capitol South Metro”) on C Street, which is only a few blocks from the House and Senate buildings. Once you arrive, we can help you navigate the buildings to your meeting room. We build time in between meetings for you to be able to get from one to the next. Please allow extra time to get to your meetings on time - the buildings are large and the offices take time to get to if you are unfamiliar with the buildings. Plan to be at least 10 minutes early. Please don’t be late to meetings.

What should I wear to my Congressional Meeting?

In general, it's a good idea to dress well in order to be respectful and be respected, but you don't need to wear a suit or dress to do that. That said, please don't wear spandex, t-shirts, or fraying pants. You will want to look your best, however we understand that may be difficult since you have limited packing space and have to put your clothing in a bag that will get tossed around during the week. You should wear the nicest clothing that you can reasonably pack in your luggage.

For riders who will be packing clothes and bringing them on the trip, slacks and a dress shirt is perfectly acceptable. We do have room in the luggage truck to carry a few garment bags, if that's your choice. (Please email Andrew to let him know ahead of time). For riders living in the D.C. area who can go home to change, consider wearing a coat and tie, or a skirt and blouse.

I’m not sure what to say in my meeting. Do you have any suggestions?

We’ll provide you with a packet during the ride that will include some information about your Senator(s) and Representative(s) and how they’ve voted in the past concerning bicycle advocacy, climate change, and conservation. These will help you develop some talking points. We also suggest you talk with other riders from your state who will be in the meeting with you. We will also hold a preparation session during the ride with time for Q+A so that you are well-prepared.

Does Climate Ride have one single message that I must relay to my Member of Congress?

Climate Ride doesn't have one single message - there are many messages that are important to climate, renewable energy, sustainability, and active transportation.  However, in order to be most effective in meetings with Members of Congress, we encourage riders to select one message or one ask as the primary consideration for that meeting.

Most riders will be in meetings with other Climate Riders from their district, and will need to choose their 'ask' in advance. There will be time on night 3 of the ride to do this, when riders will gather by state to meet each other and practice role-playing.

Climate Ride is working closely with Citizen's Climate Lobby (CCL) to help train riders in preparation for these meetings. CCL is promoting a 'carbon fee and dividend' bill - placing a price on fossil fuels and delivering the dividends to households.

If you have an 'ask' that you would like to be heard in your meeting, that's separate or in addition to what those in your group would like to address, we suggest that you leave a 'leave behind' - a one-pager that outlines what you would like from your Member of Congress. You might also consider writing a letter to your Member of Congress addressing separate issues after the ride.

Climate Ride does not limit riders to saying one specific thing, but to the extent that you, as a group from your state, are comfortable speaking with one voice, you will be more effective.

Climate Ride is a non-partisan organization. As part of our focus on education and civic duty, we encourage riders to to learn about the issues related to our cause. However, we do not endorse any particular candidates, politicians, or legislation.