Thanks to Waukesha member David Burch for this great blog post. When David is not working as a manager in the Waukesha County Dept. of Parks and Land Use, he can often be found either riding his bike or volunteering for the Bike Fed!
People belong to organizations for a wide variety of reasons. You may have joined an organization because of a particular hobby or interest, a chance for prestige and recognition, to help your business, to be with friends who share an interest, or to give something of yourself back to society.
I remember joining the Cub Scouts because my parents believed in scouting, and the Pack 505 Cub Scout Master, Helen Johnson was a wonderful and inspirational leader. I joined Little League because I loved baseball, and I joined cross country, track and wrestling athletic teams because I could realize instant results by winning. I joined church because my parents led my early years to a Christian life, filled with a foundation of faith, fellowship and music.
I joined REI in their formative years because I believed in the co-op format of purchasing camping products. I joined Rotary International, because I believed in the organization’s motto of “Service above Self”, and giving something of myself back to our community and the world.
I bicycled, well, because I loved bicycling. And still do. Bicycling was more than fun for me, it was a form of transportation five times faster than walking. If we were on time for school, we would walk the 18-20 minutes. If we were a little late, we would run the 8-10 minutes. If we were more than a little late, the bicycle would get us there in about 5 minutes. The bicycle was my work vehicle too. I had a Milwaukee Sentinel newspaper route with 84 customers. My green Schwinn single speed bike was equipped with a front metal basket, and two rear baskets to hold the newspapers. If the newspaper was a bulky one, I would fill the baskets first, and then strap on a canvas newspaper bag to carry the additional ones.
I joined the Wisconsin Bike Fed in its first years. I realized that the world of bicycling has made an impact and a difference in my life these last nearly six decades. Bicycling can make a difference in the lives of others, too, and that is why we need to continually share our stories and ideas to advocate for bicycling.
So, for what reasons do I support and advocate membership and involvement in the Bike Fed?
The Mission is relevant to my life and current societal issues. Physical activity and active living is important to me. I believe in the organization, its goals and objectives, and the people involved. I have some energy, enthusiasm, knowledge and resources to share, and to make a difference.
The Wisconsin Bike Fed has initiated and brought about positive change and results in our communities and state. These changes ebb slowly though time, sometimes taking years and years to be apparent to us. Yet, these changes have affected policies and decisions that result in safer and healthier places for people to be active.
The promotion of active living and healthy communities is something that we need to do daily. I remember as a child growing up in Greendale, Wisconsin, the daily message from my parents was “to go outside and play”. With the wonderful variety of woods, streams, parks and trails to explore, we used every opportunity we could to get on our bicycles and explore the world beyond Elstead Avenue. Today, our youth are committed to being “active” in a world of thousands of television channels, non-stop social media relationships, and mobile phone connectivity. Imagine if even 20% of that time was spent in the pursuit of healthy and active living opportunities such as bicycling.
So this year, I urge you to consider how you too can play a role in the success of active and healthy living in your community and across Wisconsin. You can play this role by getting involved with the Bike Fed. Share a personal story of why you ride, how you ride, and where you ride. You can make a difference in this organization, and this message will continue to ride strong with current and future generations.
The steps you can take are easy.
- Become a Member
- Contribute as much or little of your time and resources as works for you.
- Be active by attending and volunteering for events throughout the year.
- Attend and participate in the Bike Summit to increase your knowledge and relationships in the state.
- Promote membership to others. Invite a friend to join, or give the gift of an annual membership.
- In 2015, give the best part of yourself to cycling and the Wisconsin Bike Fed.
I did, and promise you will be glad you did too.