Rodgers & Schlabowske: MVP’s We’ll Miss

We lost Aaron Rodgers and Dave Schlabowske in the same week.

Dave on his Yuba Spicy Curry at Chris’ Slow Roll

Of course everybody knows who Aaron Rodgers is and every Packer fan (i.e., virtually all Wisconsinites) knows that nine days ago in a game against the Vikings he broke his collarbone and may be lost for the season.

And if you’re reading this blog chances are that you know Dave Schlabowske as well. Dave has worked for the Bike Fed for over a decade and is highly regarded not just in Milwaukee where he lives and works but around the state. I’m happy to report that Dave suffered no serious injuries, but I’m saddened to report he has announced that he is leaving the Bike Fed as full-time employee at the end of the year.

Santa Dave

Dave riding the coast of Madeline Island. Photo by Julian Kegel

I make the comparison between Rodgers and Schlabowske because they mean pretty much the same thing to each of their teams: they are MVP’s who cannot be replaced.

Dave has worked with me as Deputy Director for the last four years and just in that relatively brief time he has launched and edited the amazing Bike Fed magazine, created what have fast become two iconic rides at both ends of the spectrum: the “tough as hell” Ride Across Wisconsin and the accordion player led Polish Moon, started the Santa Cycle Rampage, the Spring Classics Series and established the Wisconsin Cycling Hall of Fame. And those are just the special projects he has taken on in addition to his daily work running the Milwaukee office.

Dave behind the camera at the Tour of America’s Dairyland.

Polish Moon Dave.

If you get exhausted just reading that list than you get an idea of why Dave feels it’s time to step back for awhile and spend some time with his wife, Liz. But here’s the good news. Unlike Rodgers, Dave can still play. So, he’s agreed to continue to run RAW, contribute to the magazine and maybe take on one or two more discreet projects.

So, while Dave will be leaving us as a full-time presence at the Bike Fed, he’ll continue to develop some his most important projects. Not unlike Rodgers still showing up in the quarterbacks room.

Dave will have more time for his two of his main passions, cycling and hunting.

Mark your calendars for the evening of December 14th at our Milwaukee office when we’ll lift a glass to toast (and maybe lightly roast) Dave. More on that later this fall, but for now let’s thank Dave for all that he’s contributed to the Bike Fed and to the cause of better bicycling in Wisconsin.

Dave at four with his first two-wheeler.

16 thoughts on “Rodgers & Schlabowske: MVP’s We’ll Miss

  1. Ooooohhhh nooooooo. Dave retiring?

    Dave is one of the greatest spokesmen, photographers and promoters cycling has ever had in Wisconsin. He’s a talented writer, and a gentleman who’s unfailing civil, even when dealing with the most vociferous and uninformed opponents of cycling. Glad to hear he will continue to help out the Bike Fed in some capacity. Happy hunting and best wishes!

  2. I’ve only met Dave once or twice personally, but his fingerprints are on almost all things cycling in Wisconsin, and his advocacy is felt at every turn. Glad he’s not going too far.

  3. Dave,

    You’ve been a great inspiration and advocate for biking in Wisconsin. Thanks for all the years of great work and leadership. You will not be easily replaced at WBF, but we’re all confident you’ll make sure that the position will be filled by an excellent person! I look forward to raising a pint with you very soon.

    • Thanks Tom, but keep sharing those ideas for guest blog posts with the other Polish Dave at the Bike Fed!

  4. I agree with Sandie. While I don’t know Dave, I have enjoyed his posts and his photos (and his knack for getting manufacturers to give him new biles to ride around on!)

  5. I don’t know Dave but sure have enjoyed reading his updates on and participating in the various Bike Fed events. Can’t believe that the Bike Fed magazine has only been around a few years as it has been so polished. I suspect Dave will be just as hard to replace as Aaron. Maybe rename the December event the Santa Dave Rampage??

  6. Not exactly a public thank-you anymore, due to my lack of punctuality, but Dave was a tremendous influence on getting me on the bike every day.

    Due to the varying, considerable talents he displayed in a characteristically modest fashion, I was under the impression that Dave was already a man of leisure! His blog posts, at BFW and elsewhere, about “State Street, that Great Street, ” to the sculpture garden off the Hank Aaron Trail, to mountain bikng Durango – whereever- at many times encompassed a breadth and depth that seemed almost impossible. One typical blog post would contain more fabulous photos than I have taken in my life. Then there were the posts on rebuilds of vintage bikes, not to mention shared expertise on clothing from function to fashion.

    Some of us are happy just to get air in the tires and lube on the chain…but nothing Dave ever wrote made my obvious “wannabe” status seem inadequate. That is mighty impressive.

    Many times, when that awful car in the garage beckoned, I reminded myself that I had read Dave once rode to work in Waterford, or, as confirmed in this post, that he rode to the Bike Fed every day without fail for years. I would end up “over the bars” instead of behind the wheel, and be much happier for it.

    He tolerated my hyperemotional responses to misbehaving motorists with calmness and even-keeled professionalism every time. I marveled at how he could fight this fight up close and personal every day. I “blamed” it on his bike riding, and was therefore inspired to ride even more.

    I think I met him once at some bike event. Even so, his posts -along with his other work at BFW – helped me put a lot of happy miles on my bikes. Thank you, Dave.

    • Thanks Lance, it always nice to hear anything I wrote about or photographed inspired someone else to ride more.

  7. Truly an honor to have spent the time I got to with such a talented and passionate person. Not a fake bone in his body. I am a better person for it!!
    Happier Trails because of you, Sincerely, Matt

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