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Dave Schlabowske riding in the fat bike birkie

Me “racing” in the Fat Bike Birkie.

I thought it appropriate for me to formally introduce myself as the new executive director for the Chequamegon Area Mountain Bike Association. As was announced last year, CAMBA Executive Director Ron Bergin decided to step down after 26 years of building and stewarding our amazing network of trails. While nobody can replace Ron, I will do my best to build on his legacy.

I have been visiting and riding the CAMBA trails and attending area mountain bike events for around 15 years. But I am now proud to say I am a permanent resident of the suburbs that surround the metropolis of downtown Seeley. My wife and I purchased a very unique property with neighborhood bike and ski trails that run right through our back yard. Both of us and our dog Cowboy could not be more pleased.

Dave Schlabowske and Matt Gissibl in front of a wall of bikes hanging on the side of the Chequamegon MTB Festival building.

Me and former Bike Fed coworker Matt Gissibl making a pilgrimage to visit Gary Crandall back in the day.

I have been working professionally in bicycle advocacy since 2001. In my previous job as executive director for the Wisconsin Bike Fed, I worked closely with Ron, members of the CAMBA board, and area event managers like Gary Crandall to promote the area races and unique backcountry mountain bike experiences the CAMBA trails offer. I also created the Tour de Chequamegon Bikepacking trip with Fyxation Bicycle Company and Cable area businesses to help introduce others to the endless gravel riding and backcountry camping opportunities the area has to offer.

people pose for a photo in front of the Brick House Cafe

Tim Redington from Fyxation photographs the Tour de Chequamegon riders before they head off on a three-day guided bikepacking trip.

Although I have never been very good at it, I raced road, cyclocross, and mountain bikes for about 10 years. These days I am more interested in recreational riding and bikepacking. In my previous very urban life, I commuted, shopped, and recreated by bike, rarely driving except when I pointed my truck north to head up here.

People dressed in Christmas costumes riding bicycles on a street in the Santa Cycle Rampage

The Santa Cycle Rampage is a fun, family-friendly ride I created in Milwaukee that typically attracts about 2,000 people.

If you have looked closely at the 2020-2025 Strategic Plan Ron and the CAMBA board created last year, you will see part of the reason I was hired was to build a small portfolio of high-quality CAMBA events. This will be a bit of a challenge given the area already has some amazing races in the Chequamegon MTB Festival, the Borah Epic and the Fat Bike Birkie. But I do have a history of creating unique events, such as the Santa Cycle Rampage, the Polish Moon Ride, the Wisconsin Spring Classic Series, the Ride Across Wisconsin and of course the Tour de Chequamegon I mentioned above.

man playing accordion on back of cargo bike

The Polish Moon Ride features accordion players on the back of cargo bikes and finishes with a polka party.

I will do my best to work with the community to create some similarly unique, fun, family-friendly events as well as a serious new race or two that fill some gaps we may have in the area and shoulder seasons.

Dave Schlabowske in blaze orange on a fat bike with a rifle

Yes, I typically ride a fat bike to my deer stand.

Before I dove into bicycle advocacy, my professional career was as an editorial photographer. I worked for magazines such as Time and Newseek, newswire services like the Associated Press and UPI, as well as a variety of newspapers, smaller magazines and advertising accounts. I became a bit obsessed with bicycling, quit photojournalism and even built frames for Richard Schwinn at Waterford Precision Cycles and worked as the first Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinator for the City of Milwaukee Dept. of Public Works.

If you see me on the trails, in the Sawmill Saloon, or at the Rivers Eatery, say hey. Until then, watch for more news posts and trail conditions video reports on Facebook from me soon. There is a lot to share about in CAMBAland, and as anybody who has gone for a ride with me knows, I have a lot to say.

If you have any suggestions for me, or just wanna say hey, please scroll to the bottom of the page and do so in the comment section.

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