In the somewhat turbulent world of bicycle advocacy, there are only two high-profile advocates in Los Angeles that I’ve never heard a bad word spoken of: Cyclists Inciting Change thru Live Exchange’s Shay Sanchez and Liz Elliott. However, for a variety of reasons C.I.C.L.E.’s founder and executive director have decided to take a step back, not away, from their rolls to let new leaders step forward. A copy of the letter that the CICLEistas sent out is available after the jump.
The good news is that this means that a new position has opened for a new leader to step up. C.I.C.L.E. is hiring a new managing director to, take the lead in programming rides and other events, update the C.I.C.L.E. website, and basically handle the day-to-day maintenance of the non-profit. I have a copy of the job listing available here for anyone’s that’s interested in applying. Their hoping to have the new managing director on-board by the middle of next month.
Since the birth of C.I.C.L.E. roughly 8 years ago, it has been kindly nurtured and inspired with the heart and soul that only a founder, similar to a loving mother, can do. Shay Sanchez, founder of C.I.C.L.E. and long distance bicycle athlete didn’t turn into a bicycle commuter and advocate overnight. Instead, in 2001, she was abruptly diagnosed with Lupus, a chronic, inflammatory autoimmune disorder that affect the skin, joints, kidneys, and other organs, at the height of her athletic peak, and forced to find a new lifestyle. Shay found that she could increase her muscle strength and stamina by taking short trips by bicycle and it was these short commute that sparked a flame inside her. She began to notice that there were no prominent educational resources available to help initiate or support a bicycle commuter lifestyle, and it was this new lifestyle that was creating hope, despite her serious health concerns.
In 2002, Shay partnered with Liz Elliot, bicycle and business extraordinaire, to start a website resource page that developed into a blog page called C.I.C.L.E. Feedback began rolling in from across the world on how amazingly helpful this C.I.C.L.E. website was. Because Shay and Liz were in LA and LA Critical Mass riders, they began to outreach and develop a small group of followers, who also believed there was a need for a support system for bicycle commuters, and that bicycle commuting was and is a way to create healthy streets, bodies, and a planet. These visionaries became a support system for C.I.C.L.E.
Over the years, C.I.C.L.E. has seen some of its key players come and go, but the message has remained the same. Put your heart into the community and it will take care of you. C.I.C.L.E. has commenced many successful ventures such as the first ever "Life Can Be So Car-Free" campaign and kickoff event in Downtown LA. This event showed Los Angeles that it was ready for a Car-Free message. Shortly thereafter, C.I.C.L.E. launched ‘One Mile At A Time’, a campaign focused on encouraging short trips within your neighborhood. This program inspired one of our most successful programs, Urban Expeditions, which is a monthly ride series centered on a short, community bicycle trip highlighting some of the best and most interesting sites a neighborhood has to offer. Next up on the C.I.C.L.E. success timeline is the Bikes in the City workshop series. C.I.C.L.E. has a long-time commitment to bicycle education and Liz and Shay created some of the most progressive and influential workshop training methods around. From our ‘Learn to Ride’ class to ‘Advanced Bike Handling Skills’, C.I.C.L.E. has really taken bicycle education to the next level. During this period, we also began a strong partnership with the City of Pasadena and launched Bike Week Pasadena over 4 years ago. In more recent months, C.I.C.L.E. initiated the NELA campaign, working to improve bicycling facilities in Northeast LA. My apologies for leaving more milestones and important efforts out of this list, but this is a great glimpse of C.I.C.L.E. over the last 8 years.
We continue to change lives on a daily basis which is the motivation behind what we do. It is a sad day that we must look to replace these two heroic figures, but the time has come for Shay and Liz to take more of an advisory role in the organization. Shay has been undergoing a relapse in her health condition which has put her in the hospital on a regular basis and dropped her immune system to a very low point. Liz has concentrated her efforts on maintaining their quality of life and keeping spirits high. Their hearts still run C.I.C.L.E. orange and they are still vitally connected to the work C.I.C.L.E. is doing. We have Shay and Liz to thank for the creation and development of this great community experiment called C.I.C.L.E. This organization has a strong foundation, built on love and having fun, and we are set for a bright future ahead. They truly deserve a standing ovation for all that C.I.C.L.E. has done, continues to do, and will do for Los Angeles and beyond. Thanks, Ladies! Thank you so much!
If you would like to reach out to Shay for well wishes and gratitude, please email email@example.com.