Bike club meets tonight (Nov. 30) to deal with internal turmoil

The Cascade Bicycle Club is dealing with internal conflict and a new push by the Bike Club Rescue Squad, a splinter group that sent a letter today pursuing action against the club's board.

The Cascade Bicycle Club is dealing with internal conflict and a new push by the Bike Club Rescue Squad, a splinter group that sent a letter today pursuing action against the club's board.

The leadership of the Cascade Bicycle Club will hold an open meeting tonight (Nov. 30) at its offices, and likely will address the ongoing turmoil over the club’s leadership. The meeting was scheduled a few weeks ago by the club’s board of directors to “discuss recent developments and other topics of interest to members,” according to the club’s website.

Board president Chris Weiss is expected to announce tonight that he will step down at the end of the year, when his term ends, but will stand for re-election this spring when new board members are expected to be chosen, said club spokeswoman M.J. Kelly.

The meeting, and Weiss’ decision to step aside for the time being, are likely related to the actions of the Bike Club Rescue Squad, an upstart group formed in the wake of the firing and temporary re-hiring of club president Chuck Ayers.

He and the club’s advocacy director, David Hiller, have been at the center of the turmoil, which became public in October. Ayers said he was directed by the board to fire Hiller; Ayers refused and was then pushed out by the board. Resistance to the board’s decision by the club’s membership helped put Ayers back in charge on an interim basis while the search for Ayers’ replacement is conducted. The board advised Ayers to remove Hiller but denies it fired Ayers specifically over that issue.

Meanwhile, the Rescue Squad has taken the fight directly to the board. It issued a letter today charging the board with violating several of the club’s bylaws, specifically those related to how board members are put into place. The letter asserts that Weiss and two other board members, Don Volta and Joey Gray, are violating bylaws by continuing to serve on the board. After receiving the rescue squad letter, the board responded with one of its own.

The Rescue Squad is currently collecting signatures on a petition to recall the entire 11-person board. Although the Rescue Squad will not divulge how many signatures it has collected, club spokeswoman Kelli Currie said, “We are well on our way… We’re not stopping at 700 [the number required to trigger a recall vote].”

Currie also said her group is “formulating a strategy” to better involve the entire membership in the selection of a new board, and that it already has specific people in mind to serve on a new, larger board. The Rescue Squad wants the board to include 15 members.

“We’ve had a lot of people come on board recently,” Currie said, “who have increasingly seen the board’s lack of communication and lack of transparency.... The club is a membership organization. It’s not a corporation; it’s not a for-profit company. We’re not taking control over anything that is not ours.”

Tonight's meeting will take place from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at The Mountaineers facility in Magnuson Park, 7700 Sand Point Way N.E., Seattle.


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Hugo Kugiya

A former national correspondent for The Associated Press and Newsday, freelance writer Hugo Kugiya has written about the Northwest for the Puget Sound Business Journal, The Seattle Times, the Los Angeles Times, and The New York Times. His book, 58 Degrees North, about the sinking of the Arctic Rose fishing vessel, was a finalist for the 2006 Washington State Book Award. You can reach him at