Bicycle Coalition Youth Cycling, formerly known as Cadence Youth Cycling, was founded on paper in 2007 by Ryan Oelkers and Jay Snider. The duo first envisioned the program as a junior cycling team organized out of Jay’s Cadence Cycling & Multisport Center, in Manayunk, as a means to introduce more youth to the sport of cycling. Around this time, Ryan became exposed to the particular needs of urban students through his wife Erin’s job as a public school teacher in North Philadelphia. He also read Bill Strickland’s book, “Ten Points,” a story about how cycling saved the author from a life of abuse and neglect.
Learning more about the challenges underserved youth face on a daily basis, reading a story of how cycling empowered one young man to break his family’s cycle of addictions and abuse, and Ryan’s own experience with cycling, together shaped a new purpose for BCYC. Instead of creating simply a junior cycling program, Ryan shifted his focus to using cycling as a tool to help underserved youth gain the skills and education needed to break the cycle of poverty. Bicycle Coalition Youth Cycling as it is known today was born.
In 2013, the program became one of the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia’s educational programs; BCYC is no longer directly affiliated with the shop in Manayunk (although we’re all good friends!).