Biographies of the 2020 Twin Cities Bicycling Club Board of Directors candidates:
Hello! My name is John Benda. I have been nominated to serve on the TCBC board of directors. I have been an active bike rider most of my life. One early bike adventure that I recall occurred when I rode my bike to a summer flute lesson 5 miles across my hometown of Dubuque, Iowa on my Schwinn Stingray when I was 13 years old. I don’t recall that the flute lesson went very well but I was pretty impressed with myself for riding my bike 10 miles up and down the hills of Dubuque on a hot summer day.
Jumping forward a few years, I have a medal from TCBC from 2004-2005 that says I rode 708 miles so I know I’ve been a club member at least 15 years. During that time, I’ve ridden lots of miles and I’ve had a chance to get to know many of you and learn about long distance cycling from you. As a fresh retiree from teaching high school math, I’m ready to turn my attention to some new challenges. So, when it was suggested that I might be a good candidate to fill a board position I agreed that it would allow me to learn more about the inner workings of TCBC and also allow me to give back to the club.
I have two areas of particular interest that I hope to have some influence:
I have been a TCBC member for 9 years, ever since a friend told me to join, arrived in the parking lot, saw all the spandex and abandoned me there! I enjoy a variety of road rides and love the outreach and overnight rides as well as mountain biking with the club. I am honored to be considered for a board member position in the organization that has made such a big difference in my life! I am grateful for all I have gained from TCBC and the lifelong friends I have met. I think it’s important and unique that our club caters to all levels of cycling and look forward to having the opportunity to continue to ensure that all ages, styles, and levels of biking are represented. I believe we need to be willing to look at new ways of attracting new members while respecting and celebrating what already works well for those that have been longtime members.
I am passionate about TCBC and am constantly bragging about our great club to colleagues, neighbors, friends, or to people in my other athletic clubs. I am also an avid Nordic skier (skate style) and have a love/hate relationship with running both on the road and on trails! TCBC usually comes up in conversation when I meet someone new….I just can’t help it! Thank you for this opportunity to give back to the club that has given me so much!
When I can’t be on my bike, my skis, or running, I have a day job as a Speech and Language Pathologist with the White Bear Schools.
I grew up on East Side of St. Paul. I now live in Oakdale with my wife and our two Westies.
I was born in Denver, Colorado. After moving around the southwest during my early years, we eventually settled in Forest City, IA, where I was introduced to bicycling. Some of my best friends lived in a small town, Fertile, that was about 12 miles away and I got in the habit of riding my bike out there from about middle school onwards. We’d sometimes ride over to Clear Lake and even Mason City. I rode RAGBRAI 3 times while in high school. After getting an MA in English and Library Science and spending 14 years teaching at a Junior College in Colorado, I returned to the Midwest for a librarian job at North Hennepin Community College. I married my wife, Tina, in 2008 (she’s a school librarian in Elk River, but not much of a biker). We live in Maple Grove. I joined TCBC in 2005, became active in 2006, and a ride leader in 2007. I’m primarily a B/C-level rider and my yearly goal is to ride at least 1000 miles. I’ve hit that every year but 1 (963 in 2011). In 2012, I actually had over 2000 miles. My volunteer work for TCBC includes the ridestats group that pre-dated our current system, entering mileages from ridesheets for several years, and I’ve been a Watermelon Ride volunteer the last 2 years. Besides bicycling, I like to read and watch movies, and I play 2 instruments in 3 different bands (trombone in the NHCC Jazz Ensemble and the BUMC Big Band, and baritone saxophone in the Brooklyn Community Band)
I’ve been a member of TCBC for 25 years and have served as a ride leader for more than 20 years. Over those many years and miles with the club, I’ve met a lot of wonderful people, seen a lot of wonderful things, and made many lasting friendships. I would like to continue to serve on the TCBC Board of Directors in order to help give back to an organization that has given so much to me. I am interested in continuing to work to help ensure the viability and vitality of our club in future decades by attracting and retaining new members of all ages and abilities. I am also interested in working to increase the skill of our riders (at all levels) by promoting safety, and by reducing the number of accidents. Off the bike, I am a runner, cross-country skier, licensed attorney, and a clinic administrator for a large local health care system.