news April Kushner: Enjoying Trails, Inspiring Riders
If you have worked as an MCBC volunteer during any event in the last few years, chances are you’ve met Volunteer and Membership Coordinator April Kushner. Among her many duties with the organization, she’s wrangled volunteers, organized groups and kept everyone focused during the MCBC Signature Events and other cycling celebrations. She’s also been the point of contact at the MCBC office, coordinating vendors and resources throughout the year.
After more than five years with MCBC, April will be moving on to new position outside of cycling advocacy. Before we bid farewell, we wanted to sit down with her for a quick conversation.
Name: April Kushner
Occupation (this week): MCBC Membership and Volunteer Coordinator
Occupation (soon): Advertising Production Manager for Wines & Vines
Years Riding: 5+
Favorite Riding: You are most likely to find April commuting from Novato to San Rafael/Fairfax or on mountain biking trails.
When April arrived in Marin over five years ago, she had recently discovered cycling and was very excited to dive in deeper. She had started riding in Florida, though she had two bikes stolen on two separate occasions. When she moved to California, her then-boyfriend/now-husband Jordan had been a strong believer in using a bicycle for transportation, and she joined him doing small rides for basic transportation between Terra Linda and San Rafael.
These extended into longer rides for enjoyment – around China Camp Point and up Lucas Valley on the roads. But, once she borrowed a friend’s mountain bike and encountered the trails of China Camp State Park, she never went back to road riding.
“After riding for fun for a couple of years, we went up to the Ashland Enduro” she said. “I finished 2nd in my first ever race and was hooked!”
That was a bit after she’d applied to become the MCBC “Dirt Director.” “At the time, I was woefully unprepared for that!” April remembers. “But I’d wanted to keep working around bikes.”
She ended up taking a position as Volunteer Coordinator, at a time when needs were expanding and communications evolving.
“It was before the days of cloud drives and easily accessed information.” She ended up helping to evolve the position from simple volunteer phone lists, wrangling the transfer to databases and creating better coordination of member efforts. These days, there are 300+ MCBC core volunteers, covering more than 30 events in a calendar year.
“At the time, just posting volunteer needs onto the website was a big step!” she recalls.
More recently, she’s been working as a Little Bellas mentor – helping girls have fun on bikes.
“Historically, it’s been tough to find other women to ride with,” April said. “This will create a new crop of women cyclists.” The first year, the Marin Little Bellas camp sold out with 35 girls, with a waiting list of 25 more.
“It speaks to fact there’s a big void there. The need isn’t being met in Marin for young girls who want to ride. We’re celebrating the fact that riding your bike is fun – If we are out on a ride and not having fun, we stop and find way to make it fun or do something else that is fun!”
This year, at the encouragement of Carolyn Thompson from Bicycle Brustop in Novato, April became a Liv Ambassador. She now hosts an event each month, leading clinics, classes or other riding events for women 8 months out of the year. There are both road and mountain bike riders.
Though she’s now moving on from MCBC, April is looking forward to continuing to ride to work. “I haven’t yet told them my mountain bike will be a regular feature in office!”
The entire MCBC staff wishes April the best of luck and success – and we know we’ll see her on the trails.
To wrap up the interview, we asked April questions from our recent BTWD interview series.
What bicycle do you like the best?
A full suspension mountain bike
What part of your ride do you like the best?
Going downhill, it’s the reward for climbing
What do you like best about the benefits of riding your bike?
There are so many benefits to riding a bike! Fitness, fresh air, not sitting in traffic, enjoying nature, meeting new people. Though my work and meeting people on the trails, I’ve found a really great community around a shared passion.
What would you have liked someone to tell you when you started?
Take a skills class! I wish I had taken a skills class when I was first starting out. It would have saved me a lot of frustration early on and maybe prevented a few bruises too.
Where do you most like to ride your bike?
Any single track I can find.
Why would others like to ride in Marin?
The scenery is fantastic, the weather is perfect
What is your favorite ride/route?
Any ride that has me at the Gestalt Haus for post-ride beverages and story telling is always fun.
What part of riding would you most like to improve?
Technical descending and jumping!
What is your favorite vision of the bicycling in the future?
There is so much opportunity in Marin for expanded trail access and to make our communities more bike friendly. I’d love to see more people on a bike, period.
Finally, if there’s a further message you would like to share with the people who ride bikes in Marin County – whether simple, encouraging or aspirational – what would that be?