After 19 years leading the charge, Stefan Goslawski is stepping aside as the executive director of Community Bike Works in Allentown as of July 1.
The outreach program for inner-city youth that promoted good grades, good citizenship and learning the skills necessary to keep a bicycle in working order will continue under the guidance of Kimberly Schaffer of Emmaus, who was brought on board as associate director last July.
"I've been toying with the idea for about five years," the 66-year-old Goslawski said on Wednesday. "About two years ago, I decided it was time to give up the 24/7 thing."
Goslawski started CBW after an article appeared in Parade magazine about a similar program called Bicycle Action Program in Indianapolis. As a then-bike shop owner, he found the article interesting, but didn't think much about it again until two weeks later. An 81-year-old women sent a letter addressed to his bike shop — not him — stating that it would be nice if someone did something like that for the inner-city youth of Allentown. A few months later, thanks to funding from the Lehigh Conference of Churches, Community Bicycle Works was born.
Goslawski and other staff members tutored the youth and mentored them with homework programs and a bicycle mechanic program that helped them earn bicycles.
When asked for a particular highlight, Goslawski was quick to speak about Wilfredo Rivera, a Realtor with Patt, White Real Estate and a member of the CBW board of directors.
"Wil came to us in 1995 or 1996 when I did a lot more [bicycle mechanic] work downstairs with the kids," Goslawski said. "I remember sending him home many times explaining what was wrong with his behavior. But he kept coming back and ended up being one of our best volunteers and youth apprentices. He knew how to deal with problem kids because he was one of them. He was in trouble all the time back then and has come such a long way in life. Those kinds of stories are what make Community Bike Works worthwhile."
Those connections seem binding. Ed Seamon, a UCC minister who was the executive director of the Lehigh Conference of Churches when it first funded CBW, has since retired from that position, but is also on the CBW board.
Goslawski will still be involved with Community Bike Works as a senior program adviser while pursuing freelance work as a grant writer.
CBW started out with one worker, 12 volunteers and served 60 students back in 1994. Today, it employs nine people, has 90 volunteers and serves 300 children per year from the Allentown and Bethlehem School Districts, as well as the Orefield Campus of KidsPeace.
Get your bike on in T-town: The 2013 Spring VeloFest, a cycling and fitness gear flea market featuring more than 200 vendors, will take place 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at the Valley Preferred Cycling Center in Trexlertown.
VeloFest is a great place to pick up cycling, running and other fitness gear, both new and used, from vendors as big as top retailers to pro cyclists looking to get rid of last year's gear.
I picked up a mountain bike for less than $200 two years ago at VeloFest, and there is plenty of apparel, gear and training equipment like sports watches available for purchase.
The Breakaway Cafe, run by Rodale Inc.'s organic catering arm, will be open, and Clover Hill Winery and Victory Brewing will be on hand, as well as the Bud Light girls.
St. Luke's Half Marathon follow-up: Last Sunday's St. Luke's Half Marathon, 5K and Saturday's kids race proved a winner on many fronts.
Lehigh Valley Road Runners, the race organizer, awarded $500 to McKinley Elementary School in Allentown on Wednesday in recognition of having the most participants in the kids run.
Moore Elementary in the Northampton School District received $300 for having the second-most participants, and Luis Ramos Elementary in Allentown will receive $150 at a ceremony today for having the third-most.
A total of 525 children participated in the kids race.
Sunday's half marathon featured 3,340 finishers, with an additional 566 running the 5K. Runners came from a dozen states for the 5K, and from 21 states, Great Britain, Denmark and Brazil for the half marathon.
Get a jump on summer with a 5K Wednesday: The Lehigh Valley Road Runners kick off their Summer Series 5K 6 p.m. Wednesday from the LVRR house in the Little Lehigh Parkway.