Sam’s Farewell Message
This is the hardest email I’ve had to write since I founded BikeSD five years ago. I will be leaving BikeSD soon and John Anderson will be the interim ED while a search goes out for the next ED.
When I founded BikeSD five years ago with the help of many, many friends—all of whom I met on group rides, I had no idea what was ahead of me. I was planning on doing some minor amount of advocacy on the side, but BikeSD took off and soon I was running a proper little grassroots organization.
Leaving BikeSD has been an decision I knew was coming but it was, nevertheless, a hard decision to make. Ultimately, I had to do something that was best not just for myself, but also for the organization. I have been given an incredible opportunity that I am very grateful for. Good organizations thrive and grow when new leadership comes in at regular intervals to help sustain and grow the organization. BikeSD is at this new and exciting juncture of its lifecycle.
Running BikeSD has been full of hard climbs. And just like the views from atop Mount Soledad or B Street or even Pringle Street (my favorite), the climbs have resulted in the most rewarding experiences of my life. I’ve grown so much as a person and as a leader.
The primary reason BikeSD was founded was to create a strong voice for bicycling infrastructure. Bicycling alongside vehicles moving at 40, 50, or even 60 mph is not just unpleasant, stressful, and noisy, but it’s also dangerous. In my time with BikeSD, the city has gone from haphazardly implementing sharrows to activity striping buffered bike lanes alongside the city’s repaving efforts. And it is because of you, the BikeSD supporter. You are the backbone of this organization’s success and you are the reason I worked as hard as I did for the past five years.
Below are a few highlights on what we’ve accomplished together:
- Becoming a NACTO city—adopting progressive guidelines on implementing bike infrastructure in the city was the first step to being more bike friendly.
- Becoming a Vision Zero city—a city can only be bike friendly if its streets are safe. And by becoming a Vision Zero city, San Diego has shown it is serious about eliminating traffic deaths.
- A very slow changing SANDAG—this agency knows how to drag its feet when it comes to implementing everything including bike infrastructure. But now, with new incoming leadership, change is afoot.
- Internal sustainability—behind the scenes, we’ve grown the budget, we’ve grown our membership and donor base—from 0 to over 3,000! We have expanded our reach and our professionalism. This was hard work but with the help of countless volunteers we’ve gone really far.
- More rides— we did one ride in our first year, but slowly started to hold more community and fundraising rides over the years.
- Meeting you—it has been an incredible privilege to do this work and learn from you. We all want to make San Diego a better city and I thank you most sincerely for allowing me to do this work.
- BikeSD’s recognition as a leader—during my tenure, BikeSD has been recognized nationally and locally as a leader on a number of issues—community and civic engagement, particularly at the neighborhood level.
These are just a few of the things that have happened in a few short years (5!). The next chapter of BikeSD is going to be the best chapter yet. I can’t wait to see what’s next!
This experience has forever changed me and I want to thank each and every one of you who have supported me and pushed me to be better. For now, I’m still available if you want to reach out for a chat or have any questions.
P.S. Please consider renewing your membership with BikeSD—your membership is what makes our advocacy strong.
Stay tuned to the newsletter for updates on the ED search.