Last month BikeMN announced that I would be retiring from BikeMN in July this year, but I like to think of it as shifting gears. My plan is to step down from being Executive Director but still be involved in BikeMN’s advocacy work and fundraising. I still love to engage people in BikeMN’s mission and enlist partners in implementing it with the simple message that I/we understand that biking, walking, and rolling are not the only solution to our public health challenges, climate change, and community sustainability, but the return on investment is very, very, high.
It seems like just yesterday when the steering committee that guided the development of BikeMN was formed following a statewide bike summit hosted by Quality Bicycle Products (QBP) and MnDOT’s Nonmotorized Transportation Advisory Committee at QBP in the spring of 2008. Many thanks to Lisa Austin, now with MnDOT, for co-chairing that committee with me. I also want to extend many, many, thanks to QBP, Erik’s Bike Shop, Park Tool, Dero Bike Racks, the former Penn Cycle, and the people that responded to our first mailings using the more than ten-year-old mailing list from the Minnesota Coalition of Bicyclists for providing the initial startup funding. I’m also thankful that QBP, Erik’s, Park Tool, and some of those initial members have continued to be major donors to BikeMN every step of the way.
There are countless others to thank, too many to mention here, but there were a few key partners that I would like to thank. Many of the MnDOT Office of Transit and Active Transportation staff have been extremely helpful over the years. The started out with our first contract which was to prepare Bicycle Friendly Community reports and recommendations for some communities along the Mississippi River. That was soon followed by Chris Kimber, now retired from the Minnesota Department of Health, helping establish the partnership between BikeMN and the Statewide Health Improvement Partnership (SHIP) more than a decade ago. That contract work is still ongoing. I also want to thank Jill Chamberlain of the BlueCross BlueShield Center for Prevention for leading and managing the initial contract with MnDOT to create the Walk! Bike! Fun! Curriculum. The SHIP partnership and Walk! Bike! Fun! truly transformed BikeMN into a statewide organization. That statewide reach and an advocacy partnership with the Minnesotans for Healthy Kids Coalition led at the time led by Rachel Callanan when she was with the American Heart Association, led to the creation of the state-level safe routes to school and active transportation grant programs that are positioned to be funded by the legislature at much higher levels in 2023.
Progress takes time. It has been my pleasure to be part of these critical advances in biking advocacy, infrastructure, and education that Minnesota has made in the past 15 years. But, none of it would have been possible without the dedication of the BikeMN staff, board, and supporters to the organization’s mission and vision. Again, too many people to list here, but it is to you all that I extend my most heartfelt thanks. I’ll see you at an active transportation planning meeting in your community, at a hearing at the Capitol, or on a bike ride.
Very truly yours,
Dorian will be the first to tell you that he’s not retiring, he’s simply shifting gears! And in celebration of his bike, walk, and rolling legacy and BikeMN’s bright future, we have a few fun things up our sleeves. Find out more and leave a retirement message for Dorian here.