I started working for the Bike Fed when I was 23. I had recently returned from a 2.5 month bicycle tour along the Mississippi River and was looking for employment and a way to continue my passion for living life on two wheels. I stumbled upon the Bike Fed and was thrilled to find a job posting for Bike/Walk Instructors. To sweeten my chances of getting the gig (and support cycling in Wisconsin, of course), I joined the Bike Fed at the “Love Your Bike Party”, where I was introduced to the tenets of many successful Bike Fed functions: great people, cold beer, tasty snacks, and a shared love of cycling. I was hooked!
I got the job and enjoyed teaching 5th and 6th graders how to bicycle safely as part of our Safe Routes to School program. This was an amazing gig. It gave me an opportunity to bicycle around Milwaukee, sharpen my on-bike skills, and give kids the confidence to pedal through their communities. In some instances, I was able to teach kids to ride a bicycle for the first time.
We moved to Madison because my husband, Tom, was accepted into the Comparative Literature program at the University of Wisconsin. I was thrilled to be hired on as the Membership Coordinator and help grow the bicycling community.
A year after moving to Madison, Tom and I pedaled into our wedding reception on a tandem bike. Several months after that, we bought our first home with easy access to several state bike trails and the UW Arboretum. After a few years of membership programming under my belt, I took on more responsibility and became the Membership Director.
Not only did the Bike Fed grow and evolve during this time, our family did as well. We adopted an Australian Cattle dog mix puppy and named him Ernie (you may remember him as the Bike Fed’s first Pet Member). Then this past November, we welcomed a sweet baby girl we named Millie into our clan. (She will undoubtedly also become a Bike Fed member as soon as she can sign her name.)
Now it’s time for our next adventure. My husband was awarded a Fulbright grant to work on his dissertation in Freiburg, Germany. Our family will be headed to Europe in early September. This is, of course, very exciting, but it’s also bittersweet for me.
I’ve had the privilege of growing alongside the Bike Fed these last seven years. Our membership program has grown, along with our impact on Wisconsin cycling. We’ve expanded our reach through the Share & Be Aware program, more communities have been distinguished as Bicycle Friendly Communities (and grown in their rankings – like Madison’s recent promotion to Platinum status!), we’ve fought for better biking laws and funding, and so much more. I’m very proud of the work we’ve done together – you, our members, and the rest of the Bike Fed staff. I can’t wait to see what’s next for the Bike Fed.