Welcome Doug Krikler, our new Chair of Trustees!
We’re thrilled to announce our new Chair Doug Krikler who will be taking over from Adam Ognall. Adam has come to the end of his term on our Board of trustees. But we’re honoured to be joined by Doug who brings with him a wealth of experience, having even followed our work from the side-lines for some time. We were lucky to have a sit-down with him and get to know him as he steps up into being the Chair of our Board.
Let’s start with the basics. Please tell us a bit more about your experience and career to date?
I’ve been fortunate to work in both the non-profit and private sectors for many years, which has meant I’ve accumulated a range of diverse and complementary experiences and skills. My charity career has largely centred around international development work, with a particular focus on the Middle East region. Most recently I’ve worked with teams driving economic development and inclusion as a means to supporting broader regional stability in that area of the world. Prior to that, I spent time working on educational programmes and managing investment in strengthening educational infrastructure, so people from marginalised backgrounds are enabled and empowered to fulfil their potential. After 20 years, I moved to a commercial role, heading up business development for an international specialist private bank, with an emphasis on supporting entrepreneurs to achieve their commercial and business goals.
What inspired you to apply to work with The Bike Project?
You might be surprised to know that I’ve actually been aware of The Bike Project for some time! A former colleague was involved in setting up the charity and as a keen observer from a distance, I have been so impressed with how the organisation has grown and expanded over the past seven years. And in fact, in 2019 my daughter did the 100 Mile Ride London cycle to raise funds for The Bike Project, which meant I saw the charity through her experience and her eyes.
That just cemented it for me; I love what the charity does, especially as I am so passionate about equality and human rights. And as is the case with most successful innovations, at its heart it’s a very simple solution to a complex need. But more than that, it required vision and determination and entrepreneurial spirit to turn an idea into an effective project. The organisation takes a commercial approach to a social need and achieves great results through that.
In short, I am thrilled to bring my background of both non-profit and commercial experience into this space.
Why do you think the work The Bike Project does is so important?
The Bike Project has identified the fact that transport and mobility is key to social integration, participation and inclusion in general, and access to services and employment opportunities in particular. This is really important, and recognising that the transport hurdle remains a key deterrent to autonomy for individuals. It’s wholly true that we can only participate once we have access to transport. And of course, it addresses another problem; the number of bikes lying around now being put to good use.
So this very simple idea opens up a whole world of possibilities once it starts to be implemented. Beyond the functional aspects, riding a bike can give refugees a sense of belonging in the community (either in one’s own community or becoming part of a community of cyclists), in addition to the emotional, mental and physical wellbeing one derives from exercising and cycling. These are all things that flow from the simple idea of taking bikes and giving them to people that need them.
Why do you think bikes can be so important to refugees?
Bikes are sustainable. Bike recipients don’t require or rely on on-going grants, or the generosity of government or donors. That access to transport – once a refugee receives a bike - is now permanent, aside from some limited upkeep. Bikes are also part of engaging in a broader movement; sustainable transport that is beneficial not only to people but to the environment. And it also involves individuals in supporting their own community, through donating their old bike and ensuring others can benefit from their generosity.
What do you hope to achieve in your time as the Chair of the Board?
Well, first it’s very early days, so for now I’m really looking forward to learning more about the work that The Bike Project does from the ‘inside’, so to speak. But certainly I would reiterate that there is a real need for bikes, for refugees. It’s a need which exists across the country, and we’re only touching a small number of communities in the UK. Clearly it would be wonderful to extend our reach and broaden our impact across the country.
Beyond that, it would be great to explore sustainable funding models so that we can build longevity into our work.
But really my role here is to learn and to do what I can to support the amazing team, both as professionals and volunteers.
Now for something a bit more personal. Tell us a bit about your own experience with cycling. What kind of bikes do you own?
I’m fortunate to own two bikes. I have a trusty hybrid which I use for my daily commute. I can load up the panniers, use it daily and it’s a good work horse that hasn’t let me down. And then I also own a road bike which I use for my longer recreational rides. But I haven’t been out as often as I’d like to recently, so I’m hoping to start riding more often soon!
Sounds like a good plan! And if you could cycle any route in the whole world, which would it?
If I was fit enough and had the time, I’d love to cycle Cairo to Cape Town, what an incredible journey that would be. That’s the dream. Otherwise from home to the office will do me for now!
And if you could have dinner with any sporting hero, which would you pick?
Oh, that’s a tough question! I’ve recently watched The Gold Rush documentary, charting the journey of the British Olympic team from Atlanta to London 2012. I was blown away by Chris Hoy and his achievements and I’d love to have a sit down with him. It would be great to hear his experiences.
We’d love to sit down with Chris Hoy as well! For now, we’ll say welcome again to our new chair! If you have any questions for Doug, please feel free to get in touch.
Written on: 30 Jul 2021 | Author: Muna Hussen