Meet our new Executive Director: Dave Cieslewicz

From our new Executive Director, Dave Cieslewicz:

Me and my Trek riding over the Aberg Bridge in Madison.

On October 7th I’ll join the Bike Fed as its new executive director. My thanks to the board for its lapse in judgment in selecting me. Seriously though, I’d like to say thanks to Kevin Hardman for the great work he did in this job for years and to Dave Schlabowske for his great work as interim director.

Some quick background. I served two terms as Madison’s mayor between 2003 and 2011. Before that I founded and ran a nonprofit called 1000 Friends of Wisconsin and previous to Friends I worked at The Nature Conservancy and as a staffer in the Wisconsin legislature.

I ride my trusty old, recycled Trek (420 frame) with mustache handle bars around town pretty much every day. Since leaving the mayor’s office I’ve been consulting on community development and urban bicycling issues, teaching at the UW Madison (“Bikes, Pedestrians & Cities” in the Urban & Regional Planning Department among other courses) and writing a blog called Citizen Dave for the alternative weekly Isthmus.

It’s all been fun and profitable, but this will be better. In fact, bikes are a vehicle to make everything better. Concerned about climate change? Biking adds no greenhouse gasses to our environment. Crowded roads got you down? Every bike means one less car on the street. Worried about the growing obesity rate? Biking is a great form of exercise. Sprawl driving you crazy? Designing communities for bikes is also designing them as vibrant, safe, interesting neighborhoods. Love the outdoors? Bikes will get you there.

And here’s one you might not think much about. Want more jobs? The bike industry contributes $1.5 billion to the Wisconsin economy and supports more than 14,000 jobs. So, while bikes are more than toys, they are still fun. And if there’s anything that the Bike Fed stands for its the celebration of the pure joy and freedom of riding.

I’m looking forward to getting to know the staff, board and members better over the course of the next few months. In the meantime, if there’s stuff you want me to get to work on, just comment below or send me an email.

Let’s ride!


About Schlabowske, Former Exec. Dir.

Dave was the first full-time staff member hired to open the Bike Fed's Milwaukee office in 2003. A former professional photographer and life-long Milwaukee resident, Dave likes wool, long rides, sour beer, and a good polar vortex once in a while.

20 thoughts on “Meet our new Executive Director: Dave Cieslewicz

  1. Congratulations from all of us at Adventure Cycling Association! I look forward to meeting you at the Wisconsin Bike Summit next month. I have to tell you, it’s going to be a bit confusing with two Dave’s…

    • Should we use Dave C and Dave S?

      Madison Dave and Milwaukee Dave? I’m open to suggestions 😉

  2. Want to save some money? Biking instead of driving means cash that would have ended up in an oil company’s account stays in your wallet.

  3. Which also means there’s less demand for gasoline, so in a microscopic way, biking helps increase supply, ultimately lowering prices as the pump. Everyone, bicyclists and nonbicyclists alike, benefits from that.

  4. Cieslewicz and Schlabowske — what is easier than that ;)?

    What an exciting announcement — congratulations all around! Can’t wait to hear about the great things to come!

  5. I still lapse and call him “Mayor Dave”. Can you do that? I know Presidents get to keep the title for life….

    I think this will be a great fit. Ex-Mayor-Dave has got the NGO experience, the political connections and know-how, and the prestige that the Bike Fed needs. I can’t wait to see what else the Bike Fed will do with the great team you have now.

  6. Wow! Exciting news!

    Since I may now have reason to occasionally say your name, and since I might get funny looks here in Stevens Point if I refer to ‘Mayor Dave’, could you please help out us non-Madisonians and let us know how to pronounce Cieslewicz.

    I look forward to meeting you, Dave. And if you’re ever in the SP area, you’re welcome to join us on a Poky Pedal.

  7. Congrats Mayor Dave! What rolls off the tongue easier than Chis-lev-its. Cannot think of someone more passionate and dedicated to cycling than Dave! Looking forward a trip to Madison in the near future!

  8. It’s like high school all over again – Mr. “C” and Mr. “S”.

    Welcome Aboard Mr. C! I know you’re going to have a lot of fun! And Thank You Mr. S for all the work you’ve done for Wisconsin Bike Fed! I’m in awe of both of you! (Envious, actually, but awestruck, too.)

  9. Dave C. Congratulations on your new position at the Bike Fed of Wisconsin. I am a daily bicycle commuter, a long distance cyclist for fun and fitness, an strong advocate for alternative cycle commuting (drive to a park and ride and cycle the rest of the way) and a lover of all things outdoors. My only question/suggestion is this – does the Bike Fed have information regarding upcoming construction and improvements to the bike paths around the state? This information would be great to have, especially with respect to planning alternative routes, when the paths are planned for improvement or under construction.

  10. Congratulations!

    Stevens Point is one of the best places to cycle in Wisconsin. Hope you can join us for a ride on the Green Circle Trail, the Tomorrow River trail, or the quiet streets of our great neighborhoods.

    Yesterday I was at the Hostel Shoppe and talking with the staff about the great work the Bike Federation is doing. Keep it up!

  11. Dubja!
    Best news all day! With an Olszewski in my lineage,I can appreciate your heritage and am grateful you’re blessing us with your extensive experience.Looking forward to meeting you.Ride on!

  12. Congratulations Dave! Hope we can actually get some off-road bike trails from Madison’s largest suburb, Sun Prairie into Madison. There are no safe bike routes in Sun Prairie that are actually connected to all the Madison area bike trails. If I wanted to ride my bike into Madison, I would be riding on main roads, many of which out here have no shoulder (Hwy CV for example). I understand the significant need for bike trails in Verona, Madison, Middleton, etc., but why has Sun Prairie been left out?

    Thanks for your time,

  13. Yea for Dave! The first community bike event I went to in Madison was with my now grown children for the opening of the renovated train depot and bike path on W. Wash Ave. They were excted to meet their first celebrity…you.. .who made living in Madison fun. Thanks and good luck!

  14. I remember well the day you handed over the keys for the Madison mayor ‘s office to Paul Soglin. Your very next stop was at the Bicycle Fed meeting being held at the Concourse Hotel. It was around 5:30 PM and we had just finished the days business. You wore a face that looked like it needed fresh company so as you took off your jacket I said let me be the first to say thank you for a job well done and may I buy you a beer. “Sounds good”, you said.
    Welcome back to freshness and the Bike Fed Dave. Happy to have you at the helm and look forward to our next meeting. I’m of the opinion your leadership experience will serve all of us cyclists in Wisconsin well and we will be on course for better things to come, perhaps a Platinum status somewhere soon. We who live and cycle in this beautiful state are very fortunate and blessed with it’s great scenery, great roads and a healthy cycling attitude and advocacy. Congratulations Dave!

  15. From all of us bikers in Shorewood (the first and still only Village in Wisconsin designated as a Bike Friendly Community), congratulations and we look forward to working with you. Next time you are in Milwaukee, bike the beautiful Oak Leaf Trail north, and we’ll meet you at the Estabrook Park Beer Garden (conveniently located within stumbling distance of the OLT, with ample bike partking and ample beer steins). We’ll not only toast your new position, but plot the further advancement of the growing bike culture. Cheers. — Sandie (President, Greater Shorewood Bikers)

  16. This is great news, I am looking forward to your ideas and the positive changes you’ll no doubt bring to our state. We already have an amazing cycling infrastructure thanks, in part, to the efforts of the BFW. I am excited to see it continue to evolve and improve.


  17. Glad to hear you caught the board on an off day DaveC! 😉 Looking forward to riding, and working with you to help make Wisconsin the best place on the planet to bike!

  18. It is difficult to imagine a worse choice for this position. Mr. Cieslewicz’s incompetence as mayor of Madison is legendary. His hiring is terrible news for every cyclist in Wisconsin.

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