No, I didn’t just become a member. I’ve been a member for 15 years. I am excited to announce that effective July 5th, I will be the new Director of Communications for the Bicycle Federation of Wisconsin. Obviously that means I am leaving my position as the Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinator for the City of Milwaukee.
My new position will bring my career in cycling full circle. I have a journalism degree and worked my first decade out of college as an editorial photographer shooting for magazines, newspapers and wire services like Time, Newsweek, The Milwaukee Journal and the Associated Press. I was bitten by the bicycle bug in the early nineties, and my cycling fever grew until I finally gave in to my obsession in 2001 when I was hired as the first Milwaukee Program Manager for the Bicycle Federation of Wisconsin. I enjoyed that work until 2005 when the exciting tales of working in bureaucracy tempted me away from the high pay of non-profits, and I went to work for the Department of Public Works as Milwaukee’s first Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinator.
In the six years that I have filled that position for the City of Milwaukee, I divided my time between bicycle, pedestrian and traffic calming issues. As much as I care about all those things, cycling is my true passion. This new opportunity at the Bike Fed will allow me to be all bike all the time. My job in DPW has been both challenging and rewarding. Milwaukee is my home town, and I care deeply about it. In my work as a public servant, I tried to combine a passion for cycling with my love for Milwaukee. I think that I can look back on my accomplishments with some satisfaction.
The degree to which I was successful at helping Milwaukee become a safer, more pleasant and more convenient place to bike, walk and live is due in large part to the support I got from the senior staff at DPW and from the elected officials across the street from my office. I thank them for their patience with my early inexperience as well as their continued willingness to listen to all my crazy ideas. I would not have been able to get one mile of bike lane proposed in the bike plan painted nor a single speed hump constructed under the neighborhood traffic management program without the assistance of very knowledgeable engineers and the approval of the Mayor’s office and the members of Common Council.
Although I am leaving my City job, I will remain a voice for cycling in Milwaukee. I will be working out of the local Bike Fed office and will continue to be a presence in my home town as a card-carrying member of the Cyclists Union Local 52 and writer of this blog. I hope readers of Over the Bars are as excited as I am that in my new position as director of communications for a growing state-wide organization will I be able to will use my voice to tell the great and varied story that is bicycling in Wisconsin.
There are amazing tales to tell about the benefits of biking for transportation in our urban centers of all sizes, from Ashland to Kenosha. Our state boasts world class mountain biking, road racing and recreational trails. The bicycle industry in Wisconsin produces the best bicycles and accessories in the world, from Tour de France winning carbon fiber to the rolling art of hand-brazed steel and on down to simple essentials like best in class blinkie lights. I look forward to sharing the stories of the people and members of the bicycle industries across Wisconsin who love cycling as much as I do.
So stay tuned to Over the Bars as it evolves and matures. You may see some changes here as I transition into my new role working with the great team at the Bicycle Federation of Wisconsin, but I promise not to go away.