Editor’s Note: The Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia’s Cadence Youth Cycling program has had so many success stories we’ve decided to begin profiling those graduating students and give you their success story. The first student we’re profiling is Fard McFadden. This column was written by Bicycle Coalition Board Member Ed Chang.
Fard McFadden is more than a success story, he is an inspiration. Not only has he earned an academic scholarship to attend Temple University next year, Fard has been a CYC All Star for the past 2 years as a member of CYC’s Race and Triathlon Teams.
Fard even took first place overall at CYC’s 2017 West River Time Trial on April 29.
Fard is someone his team members want to be around, and his athleticism is highly respected by his coaches. He is extremely dynamic and good spirited, with a sense of humor that keeps things fun and loose for all those near him. However, beneath his casual and likeable demeanor lies the heart of a fierce competitor.
Fard likes to win, and has the inner drive, determination, and dedication to train hard to achieve his goals and to be the best that he can be.
Fard first learned about CYC during his sophomore year from his friends who were members of the (former) Strawberry Mansion team site. He was not interested in riding at first, but with his friends’ encouragement he decided to give it a try.
When his friends sped by him during this first ride and left him out of breath, Fard was hooked and decided there and then that he would train his hardest to become a stronger cyclist so that he could beat them next time.
Nowadays, Fard’s [site] Coach, Jerry Jacobs, describes him as an incredible sprinter with great bike handling skills, and simply an amazing overall athlete. Since he is such a good sprinter, at practices, Fard’s coaches like to take the pace up to more than 25 mph well before the sprint in order to push him. Although he nonetheless typically beats his coaches in the final sprint, they try to make it more challenging for him in this manner. In addition to cycling and sprinting, Fard also enjoys the Tri Team and its Coaches, Jonathan Wilkerson and Bryan Berman, who have helped become a better swimmer.
Fard credits CYC with helping him grow as a person. Before joining CYC, Fard would stay in his room at home all day and night playing video games and never come out of the house. He also did not know his way around the neighborhood. Now, after riding with CYC for years, he is proud that he has explored and knows his way around the city. He has also learned through CYC that “teamwork makes the dream work.” Fard used to think that he was better off getting things done alone, but he now believes that he can achieve greater success through teamwork.
Fard’s favorite memory from CYC was actually his first bike crash, when one of the newer riders swerved and bumped into him. At the time, because Fard’s bike handling skills were still developing, he flopped over onto the ground after being bumped. He remembers getting up after the collision ready to hop back on his bike thinking he could ride through the cuts and bruises, only to be stopped by Coach Taevon Oliver who pointed out that Fard’s gearset was bent.
After seeing that, Fard was forced to walk back to the building and to give up on practice that day. However, all was not lost — it was on that day that Fard, ever the determined young man, decided he was going to work to improve his bike handling skills, never to flop over if bumped and never to give up.
Fard’s biggest takeaway from being part of CYC is that “there’s nowhere my legs can’t take me.”
CYC’s coaches and staff will all greatly miss Fard’s talent, dynamic spirit, and positive attitude, but we have total confidence that he has the persistency, dedication, and skills to be successful in whatever he puts his mind to.
Cadence Youth Cycling is now Bicycle Coalition Youth Cycling. Click here to learn more about the recent changes, and click here to donate.