Bike Coalition chief takes a leave

Ted Stawser and Leah Shahum are headed for Amsterdam.

Leah Shahum, longtime director of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, will be taking an eight-month leave of absence to live with her partner, Ted Strawser, in Amsterdam, which is widely considered one of the world’s most bike-friendly cities.

“As committed to bicycle advocacy as I am, the idea of living in Amsterdam is like a dream come true, so there’s no way I couldn’t do it,” Shahum said of the opportunity created when Strawser, an accountant for Dolby Laboratories, was transferred to Amsterdam for a year.

Under Shahum, the Bike Coalition has grown to become San Francisco’s largest grassroots advocacy organization, boasting more than 11,000 members. Shahum leaves in May and will be temporarily replaced by Renee Rivera, who served for several years on the SFBC board.

Shahum said the current strength of SFBC should allow for a fairly seamless transition: “We have such a strong organization that they can afford to have me gone.”