We’re friends for life and now bike rally team co-leaders too!


by Sam Brennan and Susan Tarshis

We’ve done it!

Not only did we agree to do the bike rally again, we’ve upped the commitment ante and we’re leading a team.

First, we had an interview.

Then we created our bios. Susan encouraged a cheeky tone:

Susan is a person of multiple descriptors, almost too many really but here are a few. . .recently converted but fairly passionate road cyclist, canoe camping enthusiast, Psychotherapist, middle aged queer mom, dog owner, still wants her own pony, partner, friend and ally. I am honoured to be a team lead this year and I can’t wait to make you all fall in love with this event the same way I did. This is my 2nd Rally but not my first Rodeo.

Sam Brennan is a bi cyclist (isn’t that cute?),  a women’s studies and philosophy professor, a parent, and a blogger. (Have a look at It’s her
third year on the bike rally and her first year as a team lead. She’s excited about working together with co-lead Susan and can’t wait to get out on the road in 2016.

The interview (our interviewers are here) was more of a confirmation thing than a trial to overcome. However, it highlighted some of the things that will be particularly challenging for us as team leads. Neither of us live in Toronto and we have just committed ourselves to about 10 mandatory Toronto things. Luckily, we both have lots of good reasons to go to Toronto anyway, so we just have to be efficient. It also highlighted some of the things that we are going to be really good at. I think it’s safe to say that we are “responsible adults” and by that I mean we understand the importance of following through. We are also good at the “core value” part of team building. We know how to create inclusive community. We know how to manage people issues.

It’s a different challenge this time. It isn’t just physical. Leadership creates all sorts of other anxieties, particularly for me (Susan), who secretly believes I can’t organize my way out of a paper bag (it isn’t true). I (Sam) am more worried about logistics and not letting people down. I need to make it all fit with work travel and academic summer conference commitments but  Stephanie Pearl McPhee manages it and she’s my role model in this. Have I mentioned that her blog raised more than $75,000 for the bike rally.

And we have a team!! Or at least, we have a core of fantastic people, most of whom are from our regular and guest blogger community.  So far it’s Sam, Tracy, Susan, Sarah, Jenn, Nat, Catherine plus a bunch who will join us for the 1 day version. The rest of the team will be assigned to us by the Team Lead Chairs. Their job is to make sure the team has diversity in experience and other things. It should be interesting. Last year, we were on a team of nearly exclusively young hot gay men. They were fun and welcoming. But we went to bed at 9 while they stayed up and partied. It worked. This year, the people who join us will be met by a core of leaning toward middle age feminist women and gender queer folks. It’s Susan’s dream come true (see this post ).We want to make sure we aren’t cliquey. That will be a leadership challenge.

So now it’s really ALL THE THINGS. Training goals, fundraising, keeping track of other people’s training goals and fundraising, being responsible for training rides, reporting in, organizing t-shirts, planning socials, herding cats…whew. We are going to have lots of help support so we should be solid, right?

Feeling like you can’t resist the fun? Can’t commit to the whole ride? There is a one day version! 110 km or so. Come with! Register here.

Wanna support one of us? Click here and pick a name from the above list. If you can’t now, don’t worry, there will be other opportunities.

In what will likely be a trend of dividing up bike rally responsibilities, Susan but not Sam will be attending the holiday party tonight!

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