The Transition from Bicycle Federation of Wisconsin to Wisconsin Bike Fed
And other developments from 2009-2013
Kevin Hardman was Executive Director from 2009-2013 when the organization’s name transitioned from Bicycle Federation of Wisconsin to Wisconsin Bike Fed, as well as introduction of meaningful programs, events, and legislation.
When Kevin Hardman moved to Wauwatosa, just west of Milwaukee, he wanted to get more involved in local bicycling. Shortly after he joined the board of what was then the Bicycle Federation of Wisconsin, there was an opening for an Executive Director. While helping with the initial search process, he realized that perhaps he would do well in the role and make a positive impact. Happily, he applied and was selected.
During his time as Executive Director, there were several significant achievements that he graciously shares credit as a team effort:
- The organization was rebranded from the Bicycle Federation of Wisconsin (BFW) to the Wisconsin Bike (WBF) with a new logo and website, thanks to pro bono effort from Shine United. Just as the BFW name was selected to represent different groups and people coming together for a single cause, the enriching process of working through the goals of the WBF resulted in a name and logo that further enhanced the organization’s strength and image to include everyone who rides a bike.
- The “Share and Be Aware” program was established as the first bike safety and education program in the state. Although the branding by that name is no longer used, the tools and techniques have been incorporated into the Bike Fed’s education programming.
- In 2009, Wisconsin adopted its first statewide Complete Streets policy and became the 19th state in the country to do so. Although Wisconsin was the first state to ever repeal the law, in 2015, work continues to advocate for reinstatement.
- The first Wisconsin Bike Summit was held in Madison in 2009. Although Summits were put on hold during the pandemic years, the return of the event was well received in 2022, with plans to present the event every two years.
- The 2010 “Feddy Awards” recognized contributions to the cycling community by John Burke/Trek, Andy Clark/League of American Bicyclists, Gary Fisher/Mountain bike pioneer, and Chris Kegel/Wheel & Sprocket.
- Advocacy efforts included Lobbying Days, and through legislative changes, $5 million in state funding was established for bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure.
- The team grew bicycle planning efforts and completed plans for the City of Milwaukee, Door County, and the City of Wauwatosa. The team also completed a Safe Routes to School plan for the Madison Metropolitan School District.
When asked to reflect on his time with the Bike Fed and how he sees his place, and the organization’s place, amid the 35 year history, Kevin shared:
“Wisconsin is one of the best places in the world to be on a bicycle. It was an honor to work with many people to make it a little bit better.“Kevin Hardman, executive director 2009-2013
Thank you, Kevin, along with Board and Staff who served during your time as Executive Director, as well as before and after, for important efforts that have made a difference for cyclists the past 35 years!