NIH’s Bike Club Honors Velez with the 2023 Henn Award
NIH’s Bike to Work Day celebrates cycling’s benefits to health and the environment. The event also celebrated NIH’er Frank Velez, who was honored with the 2023 Carl Henn Bicycling Advocacy Award.
Velez—who had led the clinical research informatics program in NIDDK’s office of the clinical director and recently switched gears to become the biomedical informatics projects manager in NHLBI’s Scientific Solutions Delivery Branch—has been committed to NIH’s Bicycle Commuter Club (NIHBCC) for years. He recently led the charge in getting freshly designed cycling jerseys and bibs for the club and streamlined the procurement process.
When activities shut down during the Covid-19 pandemic, Velez upheld club rapport and engagement by creating fun riding challenges members could access through a mobile phone app. He also helped bring back the NIH pitstop in front of Bldg. 1 to the National Capital Region’s Bike to Work Day event after its pandemic hiatus.
“I’ve worked hard to foster collaboration between the Washington Area Bicycling Association, the NIH Division of Amenities and Transportation Services and the NIH Bike Club,” said Velez. “We still have work to do, but I am pleased that our goals align.”
This award honors the memory and legacy of longtime NIH employee and cycling advocate Henn, a co-founder and president of NIHBCC and dedicated environmentalist who passed away unexpectedly in 2010.
Honoree Velez rides both for pleasure and competition, and he most enjoys casual rides with his family in the Montgomery County Agricultural Reserve in Maryland. He also enjoys tending to his small fleet of bicycles, including a Dutch-style bakfiets (“box bike”) and a few boutique race frames. Velez plans to continue to advocate for riders across NIH and the county. —Katie Clark