The end of the year is often a time of transitions. News outlets look back at the year’s top stories and we remember celebrities who have passed away. Critics compile lists of the year’s best films, booksand music.
The first few weeks in December are given over to that kind of retrospection before we near the New Year when we start looking ahead and making resolutions.
So, it’s an appropriate time to announce a change of leadership here at the Bike Fed. As of January 1st, I’ll assume the title of Emeritus Director and my colleague and current Deputy Director Dave Schlabowske will become Executive Director.
I know. I know. Emeritus Director congers up images of a doddering old guy whom you can pretty much ignore. And truth be told Dave Schlabowske will be running the show. But I will be here through the first quarter tying up loose ends, finishing work on our legislative agenda, raising money for the organization, helping out on the annual Ride Guide and generally assisting Dave and the rest of the staff in the transition.
This is good for the Bike Fed. I’ve been here for just over four years and that makes for a good time to make a break and turn the handlebars over to somebody else to see what they can do with the organization.
I’m excited about the possibilities for two reasons. First, in addition to Dave, the staff and board are resourceful, talented, creative and incredibly hard-working. And second, what’s been happening at the local level has been just amazing. And it’s not just about Madison and Milwaukee. Exciting things are happening in Green Bay, Appleton, Racine, Kenosha, Beloit, La Crosse, Stevens Point, Eau Claire.. in short, all over the state.
Local governments, businesses, and citizens understand what being a great place for cycling can do for their communities in terms of quality of life and economic development. And it’s local governments that repair the streets, fix the potholes, pave the shoulders, build the bike lanes, enforce the laws and do probably 90% of the things that matter most to people who ride bikes.
During the early part of next year, Dave Schabowske will be getting around talking with and listening to stakeholders to see what they’d like to see in what he’s calling “Bike Fed 2.0.” It’s a great idea because it will make the Bike Fed even more relevant to people who ride and who love bikes all over the state.
As for me, I’m going to pursue a lifelong dream of writing full time. So, while I’ll miss the organization and the people, the change will be good for everyone. While I’ll be writing on, the Bike Fed will be riding on stronger than ever.