Biographies of the 2022 Twin Cities Bicycling Club Board of Directors candidates:
Hello! My name is John Benda. I have served on the TCBC board of directors for two years and am hoping to continue to be on the board for a second term. I have been riding a bike most of my life. In 1989 my sister, Peggy, and I did RAGBRAI for the first time. Since we grew up in Iowa we had heard about it for many years and decided to take it on. After 3 or 4 training rides from St Paul to Lake Harriet we declared ourselves ready, joined the Dubuque (our hometown) Bike Club and made the trip. We quickly learned that a bit more training would have been a good idea but we made it anyway. That got me started on many years of cycling (and several more RAGBRAI’s).
I’ve been a TCBC club member now for 17 years (as near as I can figure) and have enjoyed riding with many of you and learning more about biking and making friends along the way. Having retired from teaching high school math in 2019, being on the board has been an engaging experience for me and an opportunity to try to contribute to the club.
During this time I have been particularly focused on trying to reach out to other races and cultures and welcoming them to TCBC, as I saw that we are not a particularly diverse group. This became particularly apparent after the killing of George Floyd. I noticed that other outdoor groups were looking inward at what they could do be more inclusive and realized that we, too, can make improvements. So, I, and the TCBC board committed to try to learn more about how we could make progress in this area.
Some of the work I’ve been involved in with the board in relation to this includes the following: Crafting a TCBC statement on Racism (which can be found on the TCBC homepage), forming the club’s Equity Committee, offering a Black History Solo Ride during the pandemic that takes riders to locations with historic significance for Black people in the Twin Cities, offering the E^3 (E cubed) rides for bike riders of all abilities this past summer, working with BikeMN to train a group of seven TCBC members to put on bike rodeos for kids, putting on a bike rodeo in NE Minneapolis, and hosting a table to promote TCBC and biking at Open Streets Minneapolis West Broadway a few weeks ago. These experiences have been enriching for me and my fellow volunteers. I hope you will support me in continuing to find ways to reach out to bike riders of all backgrounds and abilities.
Hello bikers ! I got turned onto biking when I moved from the Midwest to Eugene, Oregon in 1976 to start nursing school. Before I started my career I took a most memorable summer to tour Europe on bicycle and I’ve been hooked since on biking.
I’ve been a member of TCBC since 2000, biking only a few times a year with the club while I was helping raise a family. Since I started ride leading in 2008 and I have become a more active rider.
TCBC has brought me so much joy over the years, discovering new routes, connecting with wonderful people, and making new friendships.
Now that I’m retired I have plenty of time to give more back to the club I love and enjoy so much. I plan to spread the good energy and knowledge I have to keep this a great and safe club. I will represent my club members offering new ideas and working with the board however needed to make this an even better and safer group to be a part of, for hopefully, years to come.
I am so grateful to be a part of Twin Cities Bike Club and look forward to seeing you all on the road or trails.
I have been a TCBC member for 11 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 have been on the TCBC Board of Directors for 4 years, most recently serving as your vice president, and am honored to be considered for re-election. 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….oh wait, I am recently retired and can now do these things full time! After 34 years working as a Speech/Language Pathologist with kids, I look forward to the extra time to explore new adventures, meet new people in the club, and serve on the Board of Directors once again. Thank you for your consideration!
After moving around the southwest during my early years, we eventually settled in Forest City, IA, where I was introduced to bicycling. When I was a teen, some of my best friends lived in a small town, Fertile, that was about 12 miles away, and, without access to a car, I got in the habit of riding my bike out there to visit. We’d sometimes ride as far as Clear Lake and even Mason City. I rode RAGBRAI 3 times while in high school. After getting an MA in English and another in Library Science and spending 14 years teaching at a junior college in southern Colorado, I returned to the Midwest for a librarian job at North Hennepin Community College in 2004. 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 an active rider 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 goal almost every year (except for 2011 and 2020), and in 2012, I actually had over 2200 miles. My past volunteer work for TCBC includes being a member of the ridestats group that pre-dated our current system, entering mileages from ridesheets for several years, and I was a Watermelon Ride volunteer during its final 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 was a police officer for 28 years with the last 12 of that serving as a sergeant and patrol supervisor.
I have previously served on the board of my townhome association, every position including president.
I have an MBA from Bethel University and a BA in Computer Information Systems.
As a long-time member of the club I share an interest in working to keep TCBC a popular and successful organization.
As a teacher of thirty-seven years I have worked in many grade level teams including elementary, middle school and high school. I was department chair of the Reading Department at Coon Rapids middle school.
Odyssey of the Mind is a creative problem competition for students from first grade through college level. For ten years I was on the Minnesota State Odyssey of the Mind board. I was a State Problem Captain, organizing competitions for the ten Minnesota regions as well as the Minnesota State OM competition. During that time I was also a judge for the Odyssey of the Mind International competition held each year.
I started riding seriously in 1989, doing Ragbrai for 30 years. Since 2010 I have ridden 13,500 miles on cross country tours with WomanTours, and Colorado’s “Triple ByPass.” Since 2011 have ridden 13,917 TCBC miles.
Traveling to Europe, Mexico; Scuba diving; Colorado activities such as downhill skiing, bike rides, hiking fourteeners; cross country road trips; professional photography; frequent family gatherings with our seven children and their families.
As a board member my experience as a team member has shown I can be a “chief” or an “Indian.” I have always appreciated all the organization and volunteers it takes to coordinate TCBC rides and gatherings. After taking advantage of all this, I would like to be on the board to contribute any way I can.