The original post appears on our blog.
Every day when I come into the office or head out to meetings, I look around and reflect on how far Cascade Bicycle Club has come over the years. I think about how our amazing staff, volunteers, members, partners and sponsors have built not just an organization but a real movement. And through this movement we are making our streets safer for our children — which means they are safer for everyone.
Truly, Cascade has never been as strong or in a better position in its history.
Our membership recently crested 15,000. Our events are posting healthy numbers and selling out earlier than ever. Our education programs are touching people of all ages, from preschoolers on balance bikes to seniors on step-through bikes. Because of our advocacy and planning work, elected leaders are recognizing that their constituents care about bicycling, and thus these leaders are asking us what they can do to be effective in responding to the ever-growing chorus they hear. Our ridership is diversifying, and the region is seeing more people bicycling than ever before. If my commutes are any indication, we’re going to need significantly more bicycle infrastructure to keep up with the demand often hidden from view on the Burke-Gilman Trail.
Because of this and the fact that there is a bright future ahead for Cascade and our community, it is with mixed feelings that I share the news with you that I have decided to step down as executive director of the Club. Truly, I look at the above successes, at our bustling office, at our committed volunteers and staff, and I ask myself, “Is this the right time?”
It is. And though this may be a surprise to you, I have been thinking about this transition for a while.
Knowing I wouldn’t be at Cascade forever — although there have been times it’s felt like I might, it is important to me to leave the organization in a position of strength. That time has come.
My kids, Jessica and Sam, are growing up and heading off to college. I see new and exciting challenges and opportunities ahead for them. Likewise, I want to believe that the same is true for me. While I am 100% committed to the success of Cascade and our mission, I feel I have given to Cascade what I can and that it is time for new leadership to carry on. It’s time for me to ride over the crest onto a new stretch of road and see what waits around the next turn. (And I do literally hope to ride many new stretches of roads and trails.)
At the same time, this presents the organization with an opportunity. While I don’t know who the next executive director will be, I do know that new leadership can bring energy, providing a catalyst for more growth. Taking the handlebars and guiding this big machine won’t be easy, but given what we have built together and the great shape the Club is in, it won’t be impossible either.
I want to thank all of you — especially the great staff and volunteers with whom I have gotten to work with — for sixteen years of Creating a Better Community Through Bicycling. I believe we have; and I believe we will continue to do so. Some of us, like me, will do so in different capacities but with no less energy for building that future and real hope that we will do so.
My last day will be April 12. Until then, I’ll be wrapping things up and helping the board set up interim leadership. I’m not leaving Seattle, so even if I’m not in the second office on the right, I’ll still be out there on my bike. Please look for me and say hello.
The following is from Daniel Weise, president of the board of directors:
On behalf of my colleagues on the board, please join me in wishing Chuck all the best in his next chapter. His departure is truly a loss for the organization. Chuck has tremendous institutional wisdom and deep community networks. We welcome his continued involvement with Cascade in some capacity in the future. The board is committed to the programs and activities in place, and to the strategic direction of the organization. Our job at this point is to celebrate Chuck’s achievements and to ensure organizational stability during the transition to a new executive director.
I want to personally thank Chuck for all that he has done for Cascade, and for building it into the powerhouse that it is today. I hold nothing but admiration for his legacy, and I’m proud to have served on the board during his tenure. The organization has tremendous, dedicated staff and is well-positioned to bring a new person on board and to achieve even greater success in pursuit of our mission.
A full search will be conducted to fill the ED role. We will announce a detailed transition plan on Tuesday, March 19.
In the meantime, consider honoring Chuck’s 16 years of serving our community with a gift to the Chuck Ayers Legacy Fund to benefit the Cascade Bicycle Club Education Foundation.
President, Board of Directors