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News & Press: Potomac Pedalers News

2014 ExCom Candidates

Monday, December 16, 2013   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Mark Alpert
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Below are biographies of Candidates for the 2014 Executive Committee.  In order to vote you must attend the Annual Meeting on January 11, 2014.

Chair Elect

Matthew Birnbaum

Matt is a lifelong bicycling advocate and enthusiast as part of deeper commitment to healthy and sustainable living.  He brings years of experience to working with public and non-profit organizations and welcomes the opportunity to give back to Potomac Padalers for the joys it has given to him as a member since arriving to Washington, DC in 2004.

Matt holds a PhD in urban and regional planning. He has applied his craft in many areas of public concern, including a stint with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation from 2004 to 2010 and his current position as senior evaluation officer for the Institute of Museum and Library Services.  While on faculty at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh from 1998 to 2003, Matt received several research grants funded by the U.S. Department of Transportation for studying the effectiveness of educational strategies involving bicycling health and safety. During that time, he also served as vice chair of the Bicycle Federation of Wisconsin where he led the creation of the organization's first long-range strategic plan.

Matt regularly participates in PP club rides, including proud camaraderie with the Downtown Breakaway crew and all B and BB riders.  He has three bicycles in DC -- his trusty Gunnar Hot Dog, beloved Specialized Roubaix and the everlasting Rans V-Rex.  He still has not ridden naked or in tweed.   As chair-elect, he is committed to facilitating a highly participatory, long-range compressive, strategic plan for Potomac Pedalers in repositioning the Club for enriching current and future generation of area riders.  Stay tuned for more details!

Member-At-Large - 2 positions available - 3 candidates running

Eric Lengel: Retired Teacher, Never Retired Cyclist!

One measure of a good cyclist is the degree to whichone gives back to the community. I'm an avid cyclist and longtime member of PPTC since the 1980's and have led dozens of rides in the area. I appreciate the importance of increasing accessibility to the sport, such as helping people with disabilities who want to experience the joy of cycling but need support. I am currently working with atandem group that includes blind cyclists - wonderful people who are often better cyclists then their sighted partners. I have also been involved in the organizational end of cycling and have run "Bike Rodeos" in northern Virginia, one of which was sponsored by PPTC. As a teacher, I've taught the importance of bike safety to hundreds of children over the years. I would enjoy the opportunity to contribute more of my time to PPTC!

Sue Gunter

I first began biking as a kid, biking all over the neighborhood with my best friend. Then in college, I used my bicycle to get from one end of the large campus to the other. But, when I got my first job, moved to D.C., and got my first really nice bike – a Trek touring bike that felt like it was part of me – I began biking on a whole new level. I first took my new bike on the area trails, and then around 1980, decided I would try commuting from Alexandria into D.C. on my bicycle. Even though the only place for me to shower was in a janitor’s locker room at the agency where I worked, I did it. Sometime around this period I first joined Potomac Pedalers, and in celebration of my 30th birthday, I did a century ride with the club.

After my two sons were born, I took a leave of absence from bike commuting and serious biking and mostly rode with my sons. When my younger son graduated from high school, I bought my next really nice bicycle, and started riding again – soon commuting again by bicycle – this time with access to a really nice locker room. I also started riding a lot on weekends with Potomac Pedalers and became a life-time member. Having lost my husband to leukemia, being able to bike with others through the club has been important to me. The past two years, I have volunteered during the Backroads Century, first as a ride leader and then as part of the food and supply team and as a ride leader. I am also a life-time member of the Washington Area Bicycle Association. The bottom line is that I love biking. If I didn’t need to work for a living, I would bike all day. I work as one of the too many attorneys in D.C., practicing labor and employment law.

As a member at large of Potomac Pedalers, I would be interested in working on promoting bicycle safety. Commuting by bicycle pretty much daily, I see a lot of need for improvement of bicycle safety - both on the part of bikers and drivers. I would also be interested in working on promoting membership in the club.

Susan Payne

Susan Payne feels that when it comes to bicycle riding she has a bit of a split personality. Half the time she can be found riding the Fairfax County Connector Trail in Fairfax, VA on her Specialized Hardrock Sport Disc 26 mountain bike. The other half of the time she is tooling around on her Cannondale Synapse Carbon 5 105 road bike with her Potomac Pedaler friends out of Wakefield Park (WKP) Annandale Training Works rides. She said that she and a small group of those riders ride year-round; bike lights and under-clothing galore. The group, she says, cheats Old Man Winter and Old Man Time with a one-two punch and have a blast doing it.

One of her fondest memories as a young girl was riding her bike to school each day. Some of the winters were particularly harsh in New Jersey, but it never deterred her from those moments of freedom from the house and the realization that you can go places on a bike, many places. As one of four children, she shared a Gitane 10-speed with her other siblings; and that was precious little time. Gitane, a French manufacturer of bicycles based in Machecoul, France, means "gypsy woman.” Ah, she thought, this was all starting to piece together well: freedom, long bike rides, and a free spirit equaled adventure.

Susan has volunteered for the past several years at the Fairview Church rest stop in the Back Roads Century. She admits that the home-baked sweets that the church ladies donate are one of the selling points to serving at that rest stop. She consistently learns best practices and other tricks of the trade from the riders, such as component performance, cycling shoes, climbing techniques, and new routes to try.

Potomac Pedalers is a very encouraging organization for riders of all levels. Some of Susan’s friendships have gone well beyond riding bikes into triathlon training, having Chinese soup after a winter’s ride, and even, more recently, being invited to take dips in a friend’s brand new Jacuzzi. Membership has its privileges, and being a Potomac Pedaler is no exception, it just means that it goes well beyond the trail.

more Ride Schedule

B * 23/27 (MH) * DC * 6:00 PM * Downtown Breakaway * Mitchell Park (MIT)

BB/A * 27 (MH) * DC * 6:00 PM * Downtown Breakaway * Mitchell Park (MIT)

Featured Members
Linda B. KolkoLinda is the C Ride Coordinator for MD & DC.
Matthew BirnbaumMatt was the Chair of the Club in 2015 and 2016.