“The thing I love the most about triathlons is that in the racecourse, most people see me as an athlete, not a threat. During these moments - when I am treated equally to other athletes - I feel validated and confident. I want to help recreate more spaces where people like me can feel validated and confident every day”
Founder, Executive Director
Elsa Caetano received a bachelor's degree in Elementary Education from the University of Wisconsin Madison.
Elsa has worked in her community for the past decade with families and their children in creating an equitable environment in her programs as the Youth Program Coordinator at Bridge Lake Point Waunona Neighborhood Center. Elsa has recently initiated a difficult and long overdue social justice discussion in her very diverse, segregated neighborhood.
Elsa volunteers with Clean Lakes Alliance as a Lake Monitor collecting data samples from Lake Monona to inform the community on the water quality of our lakes.
Elsa is deeply involved with the ROSE Community Fellows project with Edgewood College in Madison WI. A program that strives to engage marginalized community members in science education.
Elsa is fluent in English, Spanish and Portuguese.
Elsa is also very involved in her community garden by recruiting and promoting sustainable garden practices in the community.
Elsa lives on the south east side of Madison with her family.
Gail Jacob has worked for 40 years to create innovative community supports for people with developmental disabilities. She was the founding director of Options in Community Living in Madison, WI; the first model program in North America to support people with all levels of disability in their own homes and on their own terms.
Gail has been involved in projects aimed to support people with Autism and other sensory and movement differences, partnering with people with disabilities, families, nonprofits, school systems, local and state governments and universities to develop programs and policies that support self-determination and citizenship in community-based settings. Throughout her career, Gail has worked to support organizations and government agencies throughout North America to develop strategies for innovative, person centered supports that center community inclusion and real jobs.
Over the past decade, Gail has been a leader in bringing social technologies, such as Theory U and Art of Hosting, to Madison as tools for building inclusive communities and grass roots leadership. She is also a talented fiber artist.
Gail is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and received her Master’s and Bachelor’s degrees in social work from the University of Wisconsin – Madison.
Rebecca Paradiso de Sayu, PhD, MSW, BCC
When it comes to advocating for racial and socioeconomic justice, Rebecca is energized by collaborating with communities and organizations for change. With experience partnering across academic, nonprofit, private and government sectors, she believes in the power of a multisystem, community-led approach.
As President of Explore, Create, Evaluate Partners and The Purposeful PhD, as well as Co-Director of the Institute for Collective Wellbeing, Rebecca brings her passion for participatory action research and evaluation, along with a dedication to wellbeing for all, to everything she does. A member of the MIT Presencing Institute’s global research community, Rebecca is dedicated to co-creating a more equitable future for all.
Rebecca received her master’s and PhD in social welfare at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Sandra Rosenbaum School of Social Work. She is also a board-certified coach (BCC), specializing in purpose-driven career choices and organizational wellbeing. Rebecca lives in Madison, Wisconsin with her husband -- BikEquity’s President, Francisco -- and her children, Niko and Dessa Rose.
Francisco J Sayu
Francisco is an environmental engineer with a minor obsession with bikes. Growing up in a small village on the pacific coast of Colombia, Francisco was "that weird kid” trying to figure out how to assemble a bike, while everyone else was having fun playing soccer. Many things have changed since Francisco’s early years in Colombia. But bikes continue to be one of his passions. For Francisco, the bike is an engineering marvel, an art form, and an instrument for freedom.
Francisco is also the President and Founder of Sustainable Community Partners LLC, a sustainability consulting firm that helps design professionals and building owners meet their sustainability, energy efficiency, renewable energy, and community engagement goals for new buildings and infrastructure projects.
Before devoting his work to Sustainable Community Partners, Francisco served as the Program Manager for the Focus on Energy® New Construction Solution, a statewide energy efficiency program that provides technical assistance and financial incentives to help design professionals and building owners in Wisconsin installing cost-effective energy solutions that save energy and money.
Francisco is a husband, a parent, and a – two times – Ironman® finisher living in Madison, Wisconsin.
Alan retired from the Wisconsin DNR as a wildlife biologist in 2014 after 30 years of service. He began volunteering as a Wheels for Winners bike mechanic with his oldest son in September, 2011. At the time it was a way to develop his almost non-existent bike mechanic skills in advance of a cross-country bicycle trip with his wife in the summer of 2014 (5900 miles – Seattle, Washington to Bar Harbor, Maine). He has been wrenching ever since. He served on the board from 2014-2019 and remains a very active volunteer. He finds his greatest joys center around teaching adults how to ride a bike and doing free community-based bike repair.
He is an original member of the Just Bikes Coalition and has been a volunteer bike mechanic with Free Bikes 4 Kidz Madison and Dream Bikes. He and his wife continue to ride together, doing self-supported tours from Madison to New York City in 2019 and a circumnavigation of most of Lake Michigan in the fall of 2020.
When not working on bicycles or riding them, he is also an organic vegetable farm-hand, volunteering at Troy Farm on the northside of Madison, a couple of days per week, since the fall of 2014.
His greatest loves are his wife of 36 years, his three adult children (and their partners) and his grandson.
He is inspired by the mission of BikEquity and is honored to join the board.
I have been an athlete all of my life. I played football in high school, and college. I decided to leave college to join the United States Marine Corps. After the Marine Corps, I was hired by the Madison water utility, and I’ve been working there Since 1988. I currently inspect the pumping stations throughout the city and ensure that our water quality is always at an excellent standard.
I’ve been an avid cyclist since the early 90s and became interested in triathlons in the mid 90s. Eventually, I started doing Ironman Distance. I have completed 10 Ironmans to date. Cycling is my passion, and I enjoy turning others onto it.
I have built a number of bikes over time, and I do all of my bike repairs, as well as my wife’s. Since I’m not competing an Ironman competitions anymore, I have found that I have lots of time on my hands. I like working with bicycles, so I am extremely happy to volunteer some of that time helping BikeEquity with preparing bikes for the kids. I am looking forward to helping BikeEquity continue its journey.
My wife, Christine is also an avid cyclist. I also have one daughter, Hannah, who is a nurse at Meriter.
Kristofer “Tofer” Towe
Kristofer “Tofer” Towe is a middle school teacher at Cherokee Heights Middle School. Before relocating to Madison in 2017, Tofer had spent more than a decade working in non-profit music education in Portland, OR as a program director and instructor at Ethos Music Center.
Tofer has always loved the freedom and joy that comes from bicycling, and enjoys sharing this love with his young son. In 2019 Tofer joined the Madison West Composite Mountain team as a volunteer coach, and fell in love with the energy of young people discovering the lifelong joy of being able to ride a bike safely on trails, while also setting personal goals, and making lasting friendships. In 2020 Tofer helped to write a grant to have a bike repair stand installed at Cherokee Heights Middle School, and hopes to develop more opportunities for students to learn the joy of cycling, safety skills, and basic bicycle maintenance.
Tofer was introduced to BikEquity through a coworker and immediately connected with the vision of expanding access to cycling opportunities for BIPOC communities through events, education and advocacy in the community