I’ve had the pleasure to have been in a paceline with many of you, but this will be my first one that I’m pulling while sitting in a comfy chair, sipping a great local beer.
Cycling has always been an important part of my life. Born in the Netherlands, it would have been nearly impossible not to spend part of the day on a bicycle. When I was 4 years old, my mother brought me to kindergarten on a bicycle. I was in front, in a seat mounted to the handlebars, while my older brother was in a seat on the rear carrier. It was really exciting to get my first ”big bike’ when I was 9, so that I could ride my bike to school by myself. The bikes have changed over the years, but they got me to school and to university for many, many years. For me the bicycle was an economical means of getting to school, to work, or the track club, but not so much a sport. At the time, environmental or health considerations did not play a role for me. That changed a bit when I got to Grenoble, France. Work was in the valley, about 200 m above sea level. Home was in the mountains at around 1000 m. Most days I took the car (a Peugeot 205), but the days I took the bike (also a Peugeot) really made the ride home quite a ‘sporty’ exercise. However, it was not until the Maglab got me to Florida and I became a member of Capital City Cyclists that I ever rode in a paceline, and here I am trying to write one.
I’m honored to have been entrusted with the club’s presidency for 2017. This will be the club’s 35th year after its inception in 1982. That year the original TOSRV (Tour of The Suwannee River Valley) and a push for bikelanes on Miccosukee road led to the first cycling organization in Tallahassee. This combination of great rides with your club buddies as well as an advocacy platform to spread the joys of cycling is a great tradition that I am committed to continue.
There is a lot of positives. We see more and more cyclists on our roads. The city and county want to promote active transportation. But 2017 does present some challenges to the club. We’ve been very fortunate to have Paul McManus run the Kids on Bikes and the Trips for Kids Programs and be the Spaghetti 100 Ride Director for many years. However, Paul has indicated that he will not be able to continue to do that this year as his growing business requires his full attention. Fortunately, Paul will stay around as a board member, and we greatly appreciate all that Paul has done for our organization over many years. There are other challenges. Our membership is significantly below the levels of a few years ago. There are few new participants on club rides. We have not a lot of young members. Not a lot of women or minorities.
Fortunately, we do have a great board to address these challenges. Kelly Beacher is our capable treasurer, Sarah Dugger our resourceful secretary, Garry Breedlove is our welcoming vice president. And who does not know Jim Mann, our Ride Group and membership Director, advocate Joe Barnett, and Karen Loewen who will help with our communication. And we are very fortunate to have Paul McManus and our previous past president Brady Irwin to share their experience and knowledge.
Foremost, we are here to serve our members and to advance cycling at all levels. I will be pleased to hear from you. Don’t hesitate to share your ideas, criticism, thoughts. Just email me at email@example.com.