A Special Letter from René Rivera

Dear Bike East Bay community,

Seven years have passed since I took the helm as Executive Director of Bike East Bay. Now, with great pride in all we have achieved together, I am stepping back from my role as Executive Director at the end of April 2018.  I take this step with full faith and confidence that Bike East Bay is in great hands and has more than enough leadership to carry on the success of the past seven years.

This is a bittersweet decision because I have so much love for this organization and all the people who are a part of it. At the same time, I am excited to take some time off to discover my next leadership challenge. 

Starting May 1, Ginger Jui, currently our Communications Director, will step up as Interim Executive Director. Your Board of Directors and staff are evaluating our leadership needs to identify the key qualities for our next leader. We’ll keep you updated with a public announcement in the next step of our search. If you have questions or suggestions, please email me directly at Rene@BikeEastBay.org.

Today, I want to thank you for what we have achieved together. 

Seven years ago, I started as the first paid Executive Director for a scrappy band of bike advocates, then known as the East Bay Bicycle Coalition. In those days, it was just your Advocacy Director Dave Campbell and me working in a tiny back room of the Berkeley Bike Station. Seven years later, we have grown from two to nine staff and increased Bike East Bay’s annual budget by five times from $200K to just over $1 million this year.

Thanks to your support—the financial and political clout of 4,000+ members—we have secured amazing victories for a more bike-friendly region. We won full-time access for bikes on BART and opened the Bay Bridge People Path to Treasure Island. We have built protected bikeways in eight cities and added new segments to the Bay Trail, Iron Horse Trail, and East Bay Greenway. 

One of my proudest achievements has been to advance Bike East Bay’s commitment to equity and social justice. Last year, over 70% of our education classes were taught by women and people of color, creating an environment where women and people of color feel welcome and are visibly leading in the bike movement.

Looking forward, I am so excited for Bike East Bay’s next phase.

In my remaining time, Bike East Bay will be updating our Strategic Plan to align with our statement of values for equity and social justice. Transportation justice is an essential part of our work as bike advocates. This update will ensure we continue building a collective voice for a more just and equitable transportation system.

As I step back from Bike East Bay, I know that all the elements are in place for staff, board, and members like you to step up and rise to new heights of success. Now is the time to keep up the momentum for building bike-friendly cities. As Bike East Bay takes on the search for your next Executive Director, you can grow the movement by joining or renewing your membershipmaking a donation, or volunteering. Thank you for all you do to support better biking.


René Rivera

P.S. In true Bike East Bay style, we’ll be celebrating our transition to a new Executive Director with a big party this summer. I look forward to ringing the cowbell with you as a fellow member and supporter. Stay tuned for a party invite after Bike to Work Day.