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2018 Board Candidate Statements

The following individuals are running for the 2018 Oaks and Spokes Board of Directors.  Please take some time to review the following candidate statements prior to voting at the Annual Membership Party.

Molly McKinley (Advocacy Coordinator)

 

Tell us about yourself!

I moved to Raleigh in 2010 for school and I’ve been biking and running my way around town ever since! I am a grassroots organizer for an environmental organization and I am currently serving as the Oaks and Spokes advocacy coordinator. When I’m not riding bikes or talking about them you can find me on the trails at Umstead, baking, or geeking about local politics.

What are three ways that you would contribute to the Board of Directors?

If elected to a second term as advocacy coordinator I look forward to continuing to build the membership and community presence of the advocacy committee. In addition to expanding the work of the advocacy committee, I will also use my volunteer engagement experience to bring a more meaningful experience to folks who want to be involved with our organization. Lastly, I will continue to cultivate relationships, with businesses, elected officials, City of Raleigh representatives, and other community leaders to further the work of Oaks and Spokes.

Where do you see Oaks & Spokes in two years?

It’s been an incredible ride over the past two years that I’ve been involved with Oaks and Spokes – especially in 2017. If the organization continues to grow and mature like it did this past year, thanks to outstanding leadership and lots of hard work from lots of good people, I really think the possibilities are endless for Oaks and Spokes.

Is there anything else we should know about you?

I’ve been bike commuting for the past two years and I love attending local government meetings more than most other humans.

Mike Scott  (Financial Coordinator)

Tell us about yourself!

My wife and I moved to Raleigh in September 2016 to resume working with PwC US after working for PwC Italy in Milan Italy for 2 years. Living along the Crabtreek trail in the North Hills has been great for not only myself to use the trail for biking and running but also to get a feel for how lucky we are as cyclists in Raleigh to have the infrastructure we do have but also to see how things could be improved.

What are three ways that you would contribute to the Board of Directors?

After this last year, I think my primary contribution to the Board is, with my experience as a CPA and Senior Manager with PwC, guiding the group through various compliance issues as a 501c3 organization. If I were to win this term, I think we could do alot with the financial data we have, to better understand which events do the best to further the cause so we can focus on those efforts. I also have enjoyed helping out with events and getting a better understanding of the political environment in Raleigh.

Where do you see Oaks & Spokes in two years?

After previously living in Pittsburgh and being a member of BikePGH, I think Raleigh is a few years behind Pittsburgh, which is not a city particularly conducive to biking. I see the O&S membership continue to expand, the partnered events continue to grow, and the organization becoming an advisor / trusted partner to the city when planning for future growth.

Is there anything else we should know about you?

I really like biking, but I am also an avid runner. This past year I completed the Baltimore marathon and I try to do one every year.


Dawn Keyser (Marketing and Outreach Coordinator)

Tell us about yourself!

I moved to Raleigh from Moore County in 2005 to attend NC State, and liked it so much that I stayed after graduating. Not much of note happened in my life until I discovered the Raleigh biking community in 2012. Through weekly social rides and special events, I made an amazing group of friends and was eventually inspired to become more directly involved in the community with Oaks & Spokes. I joined the (then unofficial) interim board of directors and was part of the process of attaining our 501c3. The rest is history! I currently serve as the Marketing & Outreach Coordinator, primarily focusing on event planning, fostering partnerships with outside groups, and managing social media. I strive to live a life that is meaningful, and find purpose and fulfillment in being involved with my community and causes that are important to me.

What are three ways that you would contribute to the Board of Directors?

I want people to think of us when they have any bike-related concerns or interests in the Raleigh area! Building our brand and our presence both in the community and online is of great importance to me. Learning about Oaks & Spokes and deciding to get involved was a life-changing moment for me, and I’d like to make that happen for others as well!

Where do you see Oaks & Spokes in two years?

I see our membership expanding and a better system for engaging and maintaining volunteers. My goal is to create a marketing packet and increase our visibility in the community through events. I’d like to initiate an annual/biannual free Rider Workshop where adults can learn to ride, or if they already know how to become more comfortable on the road, in a group, and alone.

Is there anything else we should know about you?

I work part time at Boulted Bread as a baker’s assistant, and it’s like a second family. You’ll never find a nicer, more hard-working group of people! I’m also very passionate about environmental issues, and one of my favorite past-times is picking up trash. In 2017 I combined my love of litter clean-ups with my love of bikes and initiated our adoption of Mile 8-9 of the Walnut Creek Greenway. I also love yoga, cats, running, and just generally being active!


Cody Stokes  (At Large Coordinator)  

Tell us about yourself!

I’m a Raleigh transplant, lover of bikes, sustainability, and a supporting my community. I enjoy social rides and building new connections and friendships through biking. When I’m not working my job as a senior support engineer I engage in fulfilling activities  such as working out, traveling, spending time with friends and dedicating time to impactful organizations like Oaks and Spokes. I’ve been a member of Oaks and Spokes for a year where I primarily serve as a lead on our West St Cycletrack project. I also help promote, table and photograph events, connect O&S and leads for new potential partnerships, and manage our technology such as web and email platforms.

What are three ways that you would contribute to the Board of Directors?

Thanks to my job in managed cloud services, I have a strong understanding into how we can leverage technology (G Suite, MailChimp WordPress, etc) to improve the efficiency of O&S as well as be the point person for technology questions and issues. I will consolidate and simplify the management of IT assets for O&S in a way that makes it easy for anyone on the board to use and understand.

My social nature positions me to connect with diverse members of our community. This has helped O&S create partnerships with REI and RDU Forest to name a couple. I intend to continue looking for opportunities where O&S can connect with local members in ways that will benefit our organization and community.

I will continue to use my technical experience to help transform our current website into something shiny and new, consolidate IT assets and provide transparency into these assets so anyone can find what they need.

Where do you see Oaks & Spokes in two years?

Through O&S exceptional member base and leadership I expect to see the organization grow from less than a 10 member board to around 15 members. These additional resources will position O&S to do more and bigger within our community. An example of more and bigger could be working with COR to develop a program that supports LQC (lighter, quicker, cheaper) projects around the city. I am already engaging members of Sustain Charlotte to learn how they built their framework with their city so we can apply this knowledge into our approach with the City of Raleigh.

Is there anything else we should know about you?         

I love cooking for people. There’s something about the joy I see when people enjoy my food that makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. I truly believe food and music are primary components that foster and bind love. And of course bikes too! 🙂


Glenn Schell (At Large Coordinator)

Tell us about yourself!

I recently graduated from William Peace University and hope to become an elementary teacher in the coming months.  I am eager to be a bigger part of my community and I feel that I have a valuable skill set in order to promote bicycle safety, interest, and motivation to inspire the citizens of Raleigh to learn more about the benefits of bicycling in their city.  

What are three ways that you would contribute to the Board of Directors?

I am very boisterous and can speak to strangers, entrepreneurs, and politicians easily.   believe that my over all personality is one of engagement.  I love sharing my passion of bikes with others and I want to see more and more bike friendly infrastructure to help our city grow into a little Amsterdam.  

Where do you see Oaks & Spokes in two years?

I see myself in a elementary school teaching and engaging all students to not be afraid to make mistakes. I also hope to have some sort of writing career as a journalist or blogger.

Is there anything else we should know about you?

My passion for bikes stems directly from the fact that in 2013 I weighed 400 pounds.  I was able to bicycle all of that weight off of me and I continue to be an advocate for the healthy benefits of biking up that hill on the greenway to the museum.

Notes on the positions being filled:

Advocacy Coordinator.  Shall be responsible for organizing the engagement of the board and membership around priority issues, and for building relationships and developing partnerships with other organizations.

Finance Coordinator: Responsible for receiving all monies and issuing all payments of the Corporation, keeping an accurate record of the Corporation’s finances, preparation of financial reports and budgets and must exhibit the books and accounts to any Board Member, or board’s appointed designee at any reasonable time.  They shall also serve as Treasurer of the Corporation and shall file appropriate tax return for the organization or coordinate with outside party for annual submittal to IRS.  This officer may alternatively be referred to as Treasurer.

Marketing and Outreach Coordinator:  Maintains branding standards for all external communications. Responsible for editing and publishing the monthly newsletter as well as public facing accounts and social media presence.

At-large: Is actively involved in one or more of the committees; represents and promotes the organization; and commits time and resources to advancing the mission of the organization.

Denver Bike Share

The following was written by our Advocacy Coordinator, Molly McKinley. We were excited to hear all about her experience with Bike Share in Denver, Colorado, and we hope you are too!

So, long story short – In August I went to Colorado for vacation and geeked out about the bike infrastructure in Denver almost as much as I did over the 14ers we went to. Below is a nerdy-in-depth-yet-lighthearted analysis of our Denver experience by bike and what we can strive for here in Raleigh.

First, you should know that my partner Ben and I both love multi-modal transit (and we wanted to save some money) so we decided to go without a rental car while we were in Denver. I knew we’d use the bus rapid transit for a day trip to Boulder and the light rail to get to and from the airport, and I figured we’d primarily use the bus system to get around town. Turns out, the local bus service never quite made sense for the trips we were making and our Airbnb was conveniently located two blocks from a Denver B-Cycle station, so we ended up taking most of our trips on two wheels.

I had only ever used a bikeshare system in Washington DC last winter when Ben and I went for a short visit. I’d say we had an overall positive experience, but we didn’t take too many rides so I can’t say I got a thorough feel for it. In Denver we used the bikeshare every day we were there and probably only took 3-4 Lyft rides (one before we started using the bikeshare and, well, Denver has good beer).

We spent three days in Denver, here’s the skinny on our biking adventures:

Saturday: We got in to town late on Friday night and our second order of business, after brunch, was to secure some eclipse glasses from the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. After picking up our snazzy eyewear we found the BCycle station on site, bought our 24 hour passes, and mapped out a route to Cheesman Park and the Denver Botanical Garden. We were pretty psyched about how easy it was to get around, how much open space there was, and the mountain views.

Sunday: Since our BCycle 24 hour passes were good until 11:00am or so, we took the Cherry Creek Trail from our AirBnB to Union Station to catch the bus to Boulder. I had heard a lot about the Cherry Creek Trail, but it exceeded expectations. As it is named, the trail runs beside the Cherry Creek and is 42 miles long and starts in Downtown Denver.

Monday: After our relatively short ride on the Cherry Creek Trail on Sunday we wanted to explore more. We took the trail out to the Cherry Creek Shopping Center and then rode to Washington Park. The trail was so easy to navigate and the BCycle stations were pretty easy to find on the app. Washington Park was bike/ped/duck heaven. Think big park with a lake and a loop around it with separate lanes for bikes and runners/walker.

After taking a short snooze at Washington Park, Ben and I rode to Great Divide Brewing Co. We said “woaaaahhhh” and “how cool is this?!” a lot while biking around Denver, but I think this ride had the highest count of exclamations. We started this trip right around 5:00pm from Washington Park. We took a few side streets to get to the Cherry Creek Trail. When we got on the trail, I’m not kidding, it was like a bike super highway! I’ve never seen so many people riding on a trail outside of an organized event. It was probably 80% commuters and 20% people riding for recreation. After about 10 minutes on the trail we exited downtown to take one of the main roads to the brewery. The on road infrastructure was out of this world. There were parking protected bike lanes, bike signals at intersections, and best of all, cars yielded at potential conflict points.

Anything I didn’t love
I have tried to think of something that I didn’t like or that I would improve about our experience, but I really can’t.

Why I think bikeshare in Denver worked so well for us
Convenient bikeshare stations: the Denver BCycle stations always seemed to be close to where we were going and conveniently located along our route. Denver has about 88 stations with about 700 bikes.
Wayfinding: I will say that we always looked up a route on our phones before hopping on our bikes, but the wayfinding signs around the city were tremendously helpful. We missed a few turns on our rides, but there were always signs for trail connections and points of interest – great for out of towners, like us.
Connected, protected on street infrastructure and trail systems: The connectivity of the trail system with lower traffic streets and streets with protected bike lanes brought us a lot of comfort, especially as people riding these bulky bikes with no idea where we were going. I’d love to see parking protected bike lanes in Raleigh.
Lots of other people on bikes: I know this sounds like an exaggeration, but there were several trips where we saw more people on bikes than we did cars. That obviously doesn’t hold true for the city as a whole, but still, the amount of people on bikes was so awesome. I get excited when I see one person riding a bike on my ride to work in Raleigh – I was losing my mind about how many people were riding in Denver.
24 hour BCycle membership: I don’t know how most other cities do their bikeshare passes, but I will say that the 24 hour pass was not only a great value for the amount of trips we took, but it kept us going back to the bikes! We knew we had already paid for the 24 hour period, so it would have been a waste of money to use any other form of transportation.

Other things to note
Customer service by Denver B cycle folks: Ben and I checked out our bikes with one credit card so our passes were linked. I got a text from BCycle saying that we had been charged a $30 fee for returning a bike late. We knew that most of our trips were right around 30 minutes (the free period) so we called the customer service number to see what was going on. It seems like one of the bikes didn’t get locked back in the dock completely, but since we checked out our bikes together, we were refunded the $30 fee because they could see when the other bike was returned. This was probably one of the easiest customer services experiences we’ve ever had.

We should have brought our helmets: In the frenzy of packing for the trip we didn’t think about bringing our helmets with us. Because of the amount of riding we did, in hindsight, I really wish we had brought our helmets. Next time we travel to a city with a bikeshare, I’ll definitely be bringing mine along.

What Raleigh can learn from Denver
My bicycling experience in Denver left me feeling optimistic for the future of bicycling in Raleigh. From what I can tell, Denver’s bikeshare system began operating in 2010, putting them pretty far ahead of us on that front. The city’s on and off road bike infrastructure is also more mature than what we have so far here in Raleigh, leaving us lots of room to grow, especially with the City’s new bike plan.

I’m not sure which came first in Denver – the sophisticated bike infrastructure or the significant ridership, but they both seem to be feeding off of each other now. Since moving to Raleigh in 2010, I’ve watched better bike infrastructure go in and I’ve noticed more riders on the road, and as far as I can tell, we’ll keep moving in that direction.

I hope when the City of Raleigh’s bikeshare system is implemented that it is convenient and accessible for those curious riders, that stations are thoughtfully planned on roads with already existing bike facilities, and that a more substantial wayfinding program is implemented, especially in the area around the first 30 stations. I’d also like to see more truly protected on road bike facilities throughout the city.

I plan on using bikeshare on as many of my adventures in new cities as possible – it was such a fun way to explore a new city. Have you explored a new city by bike? Tell us more in the comments below!

Last Chance to give your two cents on I-440 Widening

So there’s a $440 Million dollar road widening project that will affect drivers, bicyclists, and pedestrians in the entire Raleigh metropolitan area (i.e. 1.2 Million people).  It’s on the books to break ground in 2018.

You already had your opportunity to go to the public hearing last week but fortunately there’s still time to comment until AUGUST 27.  We really encourage you to visit the project website to take a deeper dive but there are some pretty significant impacts to bicycling and walking that we see coming down the pipeline.  Take the interactive survey to give your input here: 

 https://ncdot.publicinput.com/1851

We don’t expect a lot of great things to happen for bicycling and walking when lanes are added to an interstate, but there are opportunities out there.  The public information given in 2014 showed that there would be an opportunity for bike/ped improvements at Western Blvd when the Diverging Diamond Interchange option was selected to move forward.  I’m not really seeing these come to life in 2017 where we see one sad, poorly articulated, sidepath along the west side of Western Blvd near the K-Mart where a poorly maintained sidepath already exists.

This DDI alternative still only gives you options for crossing Western on one side of the roadway

DDI’s are actually known for their ability to do more with less so I’m disappointed to see that with all of this planning and laneage savings, we can’t see that people can walk or bike down Western Blvd on BOTH SIDES of the road.  Basic, right?  Perhaps there could be a low stress connection to Garland Dr.  With the plan as is, if everyone is supposed to cross over at Blue Ridge Rd, what kind of improvements are being made so that people walking and biking across five lanes of traffic and then two double right turn lanes are safe?  What about adding a crosswalk on the other side of the intersection? Also, The project doesn’t extend through the Blue Ridge Rd Intersection.  That means the existing sidepath on the south (continuing to the intersection as a sidewalk) won’t be improved for people to get to the intersection to cross.  It also means the curb ramps on the south side of the intersection likely won’t get upgraded to be compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The Hillsborough Rd intersection shows us the sidepath to nowhere, although considering what is there now, I suppose this is an improvement.  There’s not much to say about this except that if it continued to Blue Ridge Rd, we’d actually be able to get somewhere.

Hillsborough and Wade Interchanges – one of the alternatives showing the sidepath along the east side of Hillsborough St and the realigned Reedy Creek Greenway segment through Meredith

 

At Wade Ave, the Reedy Creek Greenway gets bumped deeper into Meredith Campus.  The flyovers/rams and various alternate configuration gobble up the real estate.  Since all of the alternatives in 2014 gave us this insight, there isn’t much to say about this.  We are concerned about noise and pollution, however.  The current feel of the greenway doesn’t lend itself to realizing you are paralleling this roadway.  Options to abate noise pollution should be considered.  Also with the popularity of this section to the Art Museum, it is surprising that NCDOT is going with a 10′ trail width instead of Raleigh’s new 12′ standard or even a 15′ wide trail.  With the amount of pavement going into the overall project, this isn’t a lot to ask.

Reedy Creek Greenway under the Flyover – one of the Alternatives being considered at the Wade Interchange

There’s also the question of how much pavement is too much pavement, really.  The project videos give us  good insight into what this will actually look like from the I-440 Multi-use Overpass.  We’ve taken the liberty of cutting these screenshots for your viewing showing you the proposed increase in the amount of pavement here.

View from I-440 Multi-Use Overpass
View from I-440 Multi-Use Overpass after Widening (Two Flyover Alternative)

At Ligon Rd, the tunnel is generally used as a bicycling throughway is eliminated in alternatives that add a bridge structure for motor vehicles.  This alternative does not show any bicycling facilities and grades would make this a steep climb.  It does not appear that alternatives to create a through-road in this configuration would not be an improvement to non-motorized accessibility on Ligon Rd.

One of the Ligon Rd Bridge Alternatives which eliminate the existing tunnel

The project does improve some conditions for bicycling and walking.  There are two bridge replacements that add 5′ bicycle lanes and sidewalk on one side at Athens Dr and Melbourne Rd.  This is a considerable improvement over the existing conditions which lack pedestrian and bicycling facilities at present.

Athens Dr Proposed Cross Section (Similar to Melbourne Rd)

 

We’d love to see more detailed signal plans, pedestrian phasing, crosswalk locations, refuge islands at the crossings, and get a better sense of the Reedy Creek Trail realignment and how that will feel.  We’d also like to know more about any ADA accessibility improvements.  If anyone at NCDOT wants to send additional details on what is being proposed, we’ll take them at info@oaksandspokes.com

And there’s no doubt that this is a lot for a citizen to take in, but we do encourage you to not be discouraged and to send your Comments or fill out the Survey by August 22nd.  And get ready for the ground to break in 2018, hopefully with good details in the bicycle and pedestrian design that are not shown in these public documents.

Collect Festival Trophies with Ride Report!

Oaks & Spokes has teamed up with Ride Report to create some custom trophies/badges in their app for each of the 2017 Oaks & Spokes Festival events!

Download the app (available for iPhone and Android) and get setup in less than a minute. Then simply ride your bike to or during the Festival events and get special trophies and messages in the app.

The app automatically figures out when you are biking, so no need to push start/stop on the app or open it up. Think of it like Pokemon Go, but you need to bike in order to “catch ‘em”. Plus the route and rating data will be used by Bike Raleigh to support bicycle planning.

Download today and start collecting trophies! As always, thank you for riding your bike. 🙂

 

2017 Board Candidate Statements

The following individuals are running for the 2017 Oaks and Spokes Board of Directors.  Please take some time to review the following candidate statements prior to voting at the Annual Membership Party.

Ken Bowers (Administrative Coordinator)

Ken Bowers

Tell us about yourself!

My day job is helping the City of Raleigh plan for the future. I like to ride bikes for fun, health, and transportation, which involves both short and purposeful rides like running errands and commuting, and long and sporty rides where the ride’s the thing. I believe more active transportation would make our city a better place.

What are three ways that you would contribute to the Board of Directors?

I currently serve on two non-profit boards, so I have board experience. Second, as a professional city planner, I have a deep understanding of how to move the needle on public policy. Third, I have a large number of contacts both within and outside of local government.

Where do you see Oaks & Spokes in two years?

The harsh reality that any bicycling advocacy organization must face is that neither cycling nor cycling infrastructure are held in high esteem by a significant share of the public. To combat this, Oaks and Spokes must grow its membership to be more inclusive and diverse, do outreach to communities not typically part of the cycling culture, and organize events that attract people who don’t normally come to cycling get-togethers. The goal should be to show cycling as a normal and healthy part of day-to-day life for people of all ages and stages of life. Kid-friendly events, events that stress the practical use of bicycles, and advocacy that emphasizes the people who ride (similar to CAFT’s “Riders of Wake” campaign) should be part of this mix. Finally, while a focus on downtown makes sense because it is far more bike-friendly than most of the City, a broader geographic focus will be needed as we seek to connect other parts of Raleigh that are evolving in a more walkable, urban, and bike-friendly direction.

Is there anything else we should know about you?

I am the Planning Director for the City of Raleigh. I have been a transportation cyclist off and on for over 30 years in both the Triangle and New York City. When my knees got creaky several years ago, I began also cycling for sport, and this transformed my view of bicycles from a purely utilitarian machine to a thing of beauty, source of community, and a fountain of youth. There are few things in life that aren’t better with bikes, and I believe our cities and ourselves would be better off with more active transportation. I will bring to the Board my technical knowledge of city planning, my experience on non-profit boards, and my enthusiasm for all things cycling. My emphasis will be on promoting an inclusive vision for everyday cycling that sees the bike as a tool for living rather than an annoying habit practiced by a few oddball “others”.

 Willamina O’Keeffe  (Administrative Coordinator)

Willamina OkeefeTell us about yourself!

I initially got involved with Oaks & Spokes a few years ago because of my passion for alternative commuting.  I liked that Oaks & Spokes was taking action to build bicycle culture in Raleigh and ensure that the cycling community was heard by the city.  I am currently active on the Advocacy Committee and am excited about what we will accomplish in 2017!

Outside of bicycles I am a fanatic knitter, voracious reader, and enjoy working on my web development skills.

What are three ways that you would contribute to the Board of Directors?

I am enthusiastic about the mission of Oaks & Spokes and will turn that enthusiasm into action, collaboratively brainstorming new ideas to grow the organization and seeing those ideas through completion.

I work as a user experience (UX) project manager.  Project management skills are valuable to the success of any organization or event; and the UXer in me looks at solutions from the perspective of those affected by the outcome and not just those working to solve the problem.

I enjoy going to local government meetings and speaking publicly about the need for increased bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure.  As member of the Board of Directors, I would be passionate about being a regular attendee of these meetings to represent Oaks & Spokes.

Where do you see Oaks & Spokes in two years?

I see Oaks & Spokes continuing to grow its role in Raleigh’s decision making around bicycle laws and infrastructure.  I also see Oaks & Spokes coordinating with other like-minded organizations to have an impact on the state level as well.  Additionally, I would like to see Oaks & Spokes expand to include junior members  (individuals in middle/high school) who are interested in promoting bicycling for transportation and recreation and learning how to work together to have an impact on their community.

Is there anything else we should know about you?

I am excited to see how Oaks & Spokes has grown over the past few years and look forward to how it will develop in the years to come. It is so important and wonderful that O&S provides a place for us all to work together to create change in Raleigh.


Hannah Rainey (Membership Coordinator)

Hannah Rainey

Tell us about yourself!

I have only lived in capital cities: Boise, Boston, Austin, and Raleigh. I inherited an intrinsic love of outdoor activities through my childhood in Idaho. I have a BA in Cinema and Media Studies from Wellesley College and a MS in Information Studies from UT Austin. Currently, I am a librarian at NCSU and ride my bike to and from work every day.

What are three ways that you would contribute to the Board of Directors?

I have a Master’s Degree in Information Sciences and have built a career around finding, arranging, and communicating information to diverse audiences. If selected as a member of the Board, I would contribute these skills to assist the flow of information within the Board, and outward to members and the wider community. I am also bi-racial and will bring diverse viewpoints and experience to the Board.

Where do you see Oaks & Spokes in two years?

In two years, I see Oaks & Spokes increasing membership, outreach, and advocacy as a cornerstone of the bike community in Raleigh. Membership in Oaks & Spokes will provide individuals with bike-related benefits and open doors to greater involvement and inclusion in bike culture. Oaks & Spokes will also be an advocate and facilitator for other groups that tackle issues related to biking infrastructure and community.

Is there anything else we should know about you?

I like to cook and bake.


Renee Foster  (At Large)  

Renee FosterTell us about yourself!

I have been more actively involved in Oaks and Spokes for the past year and a half or so. Presently, I live and work in the Raleigh downtown area and am very enthusiastic about the mission, the camaraderie and the community activism of this organization. I want to be more highly involved in bike advocacy and promote the awareness of the environmental and health benefits of bicycling for downtown Raleigh as it blossoms into a more bike-friendly city.

What are three ways that you would contribute to the Board of Directors?

I feel that my greatest contributions would come from my ability to advocate for riders who are above 30 years of age, my interest in promoting bicycling as a mode of transportation that is accessible to both experienced and novice riders and an awareness of the need to be inclusive of any rider, regardless of age or background.  I am especially interested in the decision making processes of the organization and the impact on the local biking community. I also have proficient editing and writing skills and would be interested in helping with any printed or written materials that are produced by Oaks and Spokes.  Additionally, I am a great team player and collaborate well with other members to publicize, organize and produce a variety of biking events.

Where do you see Oaks & Spokes in two years?

I feel that Oaks and Spokes will become a very visible and active organization that will continue to promote biking as an intrinsic part of the Raleigh community. As the organization grows and flourishes, I feel that we will become even more politically active in advocating for safe and accessible bike infrastructure throughout the state. In addition, I feel that one of the most important goals of Oaks and Spokes should be educating all riders about bike safety, bike maintenance and other crucial aspects of being a bike rider. I also feel that we will expand our charitable works to support newer causes, as well as continuing to promote our traditional charities.

Is there anything else we should know about you?         

As I stated before, I am an enthusiastic supporter of Oaks and Spokes. I feel that a hallmark of the organization is the spirit of tremendous positivity and inclusiveness in the group. This optimism has inspired me to become a more active participant in the Raleigh biking community. Another contribution that I have made to the organization is my participation and research for the history bike tour during bike week.  I would like to continue to highlight Raleigh history rides in the future.


John Kovalchik (At Large)

John KovalchikTell us about yourself!

I’m a 5 year resident of Raleigh looking to marry my loves of cruising on a bike, community building, and health research. Like many others I became interested in bikes and their power to transform individuals and communities after moving to an urban area for college and subsequently relying on the practical form of transportation.

What are three ways that you would contribute to the Board of Directors?

As a recent graduate pursuing a career in public health I believe my ties to campus and health-focused entities can provide a unique resource and perspective to O&S. While I have been able to grow my network within the Raleigh cycling community over the years, my time as general manager of WKNC 88.1 FM Raleigh at NC State allowed me to build relationships with various media organizations and local businesses that may not be as acutely aware of the O&S mission.

Where do you see Oaks & Spokes in two years?

Within 2 years I would like to see O&S increase outreach and involvement of younger members (high school and college) — foster partnerships with community health organizations and/or non-profits — and make steps toward establishing a brick and mortar space able to better execute the organization’s mission whether it be in the form of a bike kitchen like the Hub in MN, a cyclotourist stop like Spoke’n Hostel in OR, a multi use space like Circles in Japan or otherwise.

Is there anything else we should know about you?

I don’t have any other commitments outside of work, so I am very willing to devote my time and energy! I believe knowledge and enthusiasm are more important than gear and muscle mass when it comes to reaping the benefits of cycling.

In 2015 I led an effort to organize an alleycat benefit for WKNC 88.1 FM raising approximately $2,000 of cash and in kind donations.

Yes there was a time when I was the unsafe delivery cyclist at the Jimmy John’s on Hillsborough. And then the unsafe cyclist at the Jimmy John’s downtown. And then the unsafe cyclist at Happy & Hale. Since then my perspectives on transportation safety have shifted and I hope that by serving on the board I could help communicate those beliefs to others.


Athena Athena WollinWollin (At Large)

Tell us about yourself!

I grew up in Oregon and was absolutely spoiled by the cycling culture in Portland, so I want to take that experience and continue to evolve Raleigh’s biking scene. My bike is named PeBe; a heavy lady, but she has seen many good adventures. You’ll typically find me in my natural habitat, the illustration station of my home, or running amok with the squirrels. Other things I like: My cat, gardening, and Oxford commas.

What are three ways that you would contribute to the Board of Directors?

1.) Help create and unify marketing materials to advertise events with graphic design and illustration skills.

2.) Help lead efforts to educate safe riding habits and promote cycling in the Raleigh area to get more individuals feeling confident on their bikes.

3.) Work toward increasing visibility for Oaks and Spokes’ advocacy effort and successes to amplify positive change happening in the cycling community.”

Where do you see Oaks & Spokes in two years?

Personally, I want to see Oaks & Spokes working to reach out to cyclists just beyond our current scope — fundraising to gift low-income riders helmets they couldn’t previously afford, efforts toward light giveaways for cyclists who don’t have them, or perhaps work toward reaching the drivers of the downtown Raleigh area by promoting bike awareness through partnerships with businesses and schools. I want to see “Thank you for riding your bike” all over Raleigh.

Is there anything else we should know about you?

A few years ago, I was hit by a car while on my bike. It has definitely changed the way my mind functions and I’m still working on being fully confident on my own bike. This incident drives my desire to make cycling safer for all Raleigh cyclists.


Meg Bryson (At Large)

Meg BrysonTell us about yourself!

I am a Durham native and NCSU alum who used to regard cyclists with a mixture of fear, awe, and a twinge of longing. That changed earlier this year, when I got a neon green single speed–my first grown-up bike–from Oak City Cycling Project. With the encouragement of some other two-wheeled friends, I began expanding my biking radius and my confidence. I’m officially hooked, and I want everyone to have a chance to at least TRY biking–which means making biking safer and more accessible for riders of all experience levels. Knowing people who bike regularly around Raleigh was a huge help to me when I was starting out, which is why I want to join the gang at Oaks and Spokes and reach out to more “would-be” cyclists.

What are three ways that you would contribute to the Board of Directors?

Working in highway safety research and transportation planning, I bring a real-world perspective and knowledge about what projects are going on in and around Raleigh. I have transportation planners, engineers, and roadway safety professionals in NC and beyond as resources. Lastly, I have a marketing background and experience working with event promotion at both my current job, and while at NCSU where I was Music Director at WKNC for a year.

Where do you see Oaks & Spokes in two years?

I see Oaks and Spokes growing through nurturing community partnerships. In particular, I think building relationships with the City of Raleigh and local organizations that support active transportation (including walking and transit) will be key to getting closer to O&S’s vision of a healthier community. Expanding participation in education and outreach events/programs (like Evan’s presence at the panel discussion hosted by Greyson and Tina Currin) will also boost Oaks and Spokes reputation as knowledgeable advocates for our community.

Is there anything else we should know about you?

In the process of becoming a member.


Harry Rybacki (External Coordinator)

Harry RybackiTell us about yourself!

Born in Wisconsin and raised in Northern Minnesota, I fled the cold and hiked, biked, and worked in many places before finding myself at home in Raleigh. Throughout my travels I have always found a warm, welcoming community with the wonderful people who ride bikes. Although my day job may be as a software engineer, I choose to spend my off hours figuring out new ways to connect folks that want to foster positive bike culture in my local community.

What are three ways that you would contribute to the Board of Directors?

Having lived and interacted with many bike communities around the world I believe that I bring a unique world view to organization. Furthermore, I have many years experience facilitating and organizing groups with diverse backgrounds and objectives. Most importantly however, as a downtown resident and everyday bike/pedestrian commuter, I am personally invested in seeing as safe and comfortable a city as possible for all forms of transportation.

Where do you see Oaks & Spokes in two years?

Over the next two years I envision Oaks & Spokes continuing to mature and diversify our community impact, membership base, and educational outreach. Oaks & Spokes is in a prime position to do just this as a direct result of a larger community effort to make Raleigh an amazing, comfortable, and safe place to live as well as work.

Is there anything else we should know about you?

I spent close to a year volunteering at Community Bikes in Charlottesville, VA. This was an incredibly impactful and rewarding experience. After deciding to move back, seeing an equitable and sustainable bike cooperative develop in Raleigh became a personal goal. Additionally, over the past year I have served on the Oaks & Spokes board as both the Advocacy Coordinator and as an At Large Coordinator. During this time I have had the pleasure of working with many amazing, dedicated folks both within Oaks & Spokes as well as related communities at large.


Notes on the positions being filled:

External Coordinator.  Serves as the spokesperson of Oaks and Spokes, is responsible for setting and facilitating board meetings, for raising funds, upkeep of social media accounts, and promoting the organization.  This officer may alternatively be referred to as President.

Administrative Coordinator: Responsible for keeping the records for Oaks and Spokes, taking minutes and attendance at all meetings, organizing and sending notice of Board meetings, and arranging for meeting space.  This officer may alternatively be referred to as Secretary.

Membership Coordinator: Maintains and communicates with membership; organizes general membership meetings; and assumes the President’s responsibilities for Board meetings if the President is absent.

At-large: Is actively involved in one or more of the committees; represents and promotes the organization; and commits time and resources to advancing the mission of the organization.