SFBC Director Leah Shahum to Write for Streetsblog from Amsterdam

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By now, you’ve probably heard that SFBC Executive Director Leah Shahum is taking an eight-month sabbatical to one of the world’s great cycling cities, Amsterdam. Shahum will be missed by many during her absence, but I’m excited to announce today that she’ll be chronicling her experiences and thoughts from Amsterdam for Streetsblog San Francisco.

"I’m excited to to have the chance to spend time and learn best practices in a city that has successfully prioritized smart transportation and livable streets, and I’m especially excited to be able to share what I learn with folks back in San Francisco by writing for Streetsblog," said Shahum, a former reporter for the Florida Times-Union and Mother Jones magazine.

"I think there are a lot of similarities between Amsterdam and San Francisco, and I’m eager to figure out how we can emulate the best of their successes back home."

Under her leadership, the 11,000-member San Francisco Bicycle Coalition has become the "loudest, most effective" advocacy group in the city, not to mention one of the largest bicycle advocacy organizations in the country. Shahum has been with the SFBC for 12 years, spending the last six as executive director.

"It’s an understatement to say that we are still nowhere near Amsterdam’s levels of bicycling greatness nor where San Francisco deserves to be. That’s why I’m so excited by this opportunity to step away from the day-to-day for a while to think deeply about where we take our movement next," she said in a statement.

Shahum will be temporarily replaced by the very able Renee Rivera, the
former chair of the SFBC Board of Directors, who lead the successful
campaign to install bike lanes on Polk Street.

Please join me in wishing Leah the best. We look forward to her dispatches from Amsterdam! 

  • Brian

    I’ve lived in Amsterdam before and I agree that there are many similarities between Ams and SF. And of course I’ve dreamed of having as many people ride bikes here as they do there.

    The one big bike-related difference between the two cities: Amsterdam is flat. I’d be curious to learn how we can deal with the hills here. Sure, we have the wiggle and all sorts of little ways to deal with riding as long as our “destination is not on a hill.” But more often than not, it seems like it is. And for me personally, getting sweaty the last 1/4mi to ride up a hill to my destination is often a show stopper.

  • Maureen

    Wow! Lucky you. Your smiling presence will be missed. Have a wonderful time and enjoy some chocolate sprinkles with breakfast. (You’ll learn what I’m talking about soon.)

  • Nick

    Let’s get a big part of the Bike Network built out as a welcome home gift to her upon her return. Good luck Leah!

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