I retired from the Wisconsin DNR as a wildlife biologist in 2014 after 30 years of service. I began volunteering as a Wheels for Winners bike mechanic with my oldest son in September, 2011. At the time it was a way to develop my almost non-existent bike mechanic skills in advance of a cross-country bicycle trip with my wife in the summer of 2014 (5900 miles – Seattle, Washington to Bar Harbor, Maine). I have been wrenching ever since. I fell in love with the mission of Wheels for Winners and joined the board in 2014. I enjoy teaching aspiring young bike mechanics from the UW-Madison Badger Volunteer program how to repair bikes. I am proud of the amazing work we do to refurbish used bicycles with recycled, used parts and then return them to the community as a reward for volunteer service.
I've wrenched and opined on behalf of this wonderful organization since 2008. I was drawn in by the prospect of winter month meditative bike work and stayed because of the hundreds of happy children's faces I've seen select and ride their earned bikes. I'm proud to be a part of an organization that directly connects play with service and healthy activity. As all larger cyclists know, you either buy a lot of wheels or learn how to build them; and once you can build wheels you have an obligation to work on bikes for others. Simple really.
I joined the Wheels for Winners board in 2014, inspired by the model of kids earning bikes by giving back to their own communities through service. My favorite part of being involved with Wheels for Winners is seeing the joy and excitement on a child's face as they get introduced to their first bike of their very own. During the week I work as a fundraiser for The Nature Conservancy in Wisconsin and on the weekends I enjoy exploring the near east side of Madison by bike with my own kids.
I joined Wheels for Winners as a bike mechanic in 2008. At the time, my mechanic abilities consisted of being able to pump up a bike tire. I am happy to report that my mechanic skills have improved due to all the wonderful mechanics who helped me improve over the years. It is truly a joy to meet the kids who earn bikes through our program and to hear how they volunteer in the community.
A Wheels for Winners volunteer since 2005, I have enjoyed the opportunities and challenges of repairing bikes that seemed beyond salvaging and service on a board of caring persons who work hard to keep the organization going. For me, the greatest rewards are the moments when appreciative bike earners come to the shop to select bikes and with a little prompting tells us about their volunteer service. I am excited for these kids because I know how much biking has meant to me. Besides keeping from tipping the scales at over 200 pounds, biking has provided needed periods of quiet and reflection, occasions to test myself and my capacities, endless rambles and explorations, a valuable substitute to owning a second car, and great companionship when traveling with others.
I joined Wheels for Winners in the summer of 2002 after a search of volunteer work to keep me active after retiring. I became a board member when I was asked to represent Wheels for Winners as a board representative and committee member at Community Shares of Wisconsin.
As an avid but short ride bike rider, I was drawn to learning to repair my bike, as well all the other models. I remain because of the joy I receive in helping kids choose and ride out on their own bike they have earned through community service. I look forward many more years of involvement with Wheels for Winners.
My love of cycling started when I received my first Schwinn at age 5 from my parents. That bike, and the numerous others that followed, inspired independence, which is still a value I cherish today. Being on the Wheels for Winners Board allows me to continue opening this door to many other young people who are in the early stages of finding their own way. I enjoy fixing up old bikes when I am not working at the Madison Metropolitan Sewerage District as the Chief Engineer.