History

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!).

Founders

Ryan Oelkers

Ryan Oelkers bio photoRyan has been involved with all aspects of the sport of cycling for over 25 years. With more than 25 years of racing experience — 10 as a professional cyclist — Ryan has his share of praiseworthy results including capturing 12 medals at the National Cycling Championships and also winning the 2002 Moscow Six Day Race, where he won with Olympic Champion, Marty Nothstein. Nothstein and Oelkers became the first American team to win a European 6-Day in over 50 years. Ryan has raced with EDS, Sportsbook.com, Fuji and Snow Valley professional cycling teams.

In 2007, Ryan and Jay Snider co-founded Cadence Youth Cycling (now BCYC) as an innovative way to introduce underserved communities to a healthy lifestyle and use cycling as a youth development tool. Since its inception hundreds of young people, ages 9 – 18, have successfully come through this program.

Ryan, a graduate of Kutztown University, lives in Wynnewood with his wife, Erin, and their four children.

 

Jay Snider

Jay Snider is an entrepreneur and business executive with a wide range of experience. He is currently the CEO of Airsoft Megastore, a leading airsoft retailer, with a division specializing in military and law enforcement training weapons. He started his first company, SpectaGuard, at age 22. SpectaGuard was acquired by a private equity firm to be the foundation for a roll-up in the security guard industry and today, that company, Allied-Barton, is one of the largest firms in its industry.

Jay SniderJay served for 11 years as President of the Philadelphia Flyers and for 7 years as President of Spectacor. Now known as Comcast-Spectacor, the company has operated in the sports, facility management, ticketing, food service, and retail and media industries.

Jay serves on numerous philanthropic boards, with his greatest passions being two that he founded: Bicycle Coalition Youth Cycling in Philadelphia, and the Friends of the Cobbossee Watershed in Kennebec County, Maine.

A graduate of the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and the holder of an honorary Doctor of Science in Business Administration from Thomas College in Waterville, Maine, Jay is an avid cyclist and recreational athlete, collector of rare books and manuscripts and most importantly, husband to his beloved wife, Terry, and father of three boys: Jamie, Cody and Todd.

 

Victoria Hanks

Victoria HanksVictoria Hanks spent her undergrad and graduate school time at Drexel University, where she played softball for Drexel and the British National Softball teams. After shoulder surgery ended her softball career, Victoria started her search for a lifetime sport. She began running and riding, and found her passion in cycling and racing. While racing for Drexel University and earning a non-profit-focused degree in graduate school, Victoria met Ryan Oelkers who had recently founded Cadence Youth Cycling (now BCYC). It seems like fate brought Victoria to an organization to which she could bring both her non-profit and racing experience. Shortly after completing her Masters thesis, which was an evaluation of the CYC program, she joined forces with Oelkers to help launch the Cadence Cycling Foundation. Victoria worked as the Program Director for CYC until the merger with the Bicycle Coalition in the fall of 2013, and has seen first hand that cycling can be used as a tool to positively change the lives of youth in Philadelphia.

Stay Connected:
View Upcoming Events: