Philly groups combine to create state’s largest bicycle nonprofit

bicycle lane
Credit: Rikard Larma / Metro.

The Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia and the Cadence Cycling Foundation announced a merger Tuesday.

The two organizations have, effective immediately, combined to create Pennsylvania’s largest bicycle nonprofit.

The combined organization’s urban youth programs will have the largest reach of any such organization in the country, according to a release.

“We are bringing together two highly effective organizations whose missions center around the transformative powers of the bicycle for communities and individuals,” Bicycle Coalition board chair Leslye Abrutyn said said in a statement.

“The gathering of vision, leadership from the business community, and financial stability found in this combination will strengthen both organizations’ work and benefit bicycling across the entire region.”

The Bicycle Coalition has for 41 years been the Philadelphia region’s primary bicycle advocacy organization, focusing on improving trails and pushing through legislation to benefit bicyclists.

The Coalition’s educational program, Safe Routes Philly, has since 2010 brought pedestrian and bicycle safety lessons to more than 60,000 Philadelphia elementary school students.

Founded in 2007, the Cadence Cycling Foundation uses cycling to help underserved youth gain the skills and education needed to break the cycle of poverty.

Cadence Foundation cycling teams are organized out of schools and housing projects in Philadelphia and Camden.

“These are two effective and stable organizations who opted to combine forces because we saw efficiencies and complimentary skillsets which will strengthen our work in a way and at a speed we couldn’t achieve separately,” Bicycle Coalition executive director Alex Doty said in a statement.

Doty will continue to serve as executive director of the combined organization.

The nonprofit will still operate under the Bicycle Coalition of Philadelphia name.

Nine Cadence Foundation board members and seven Bicycle Coalition board members will join the combined board, which will continue to be chaired by Abrutyn.

Cadence Foundation co-founder and executive director Ryan Oelkers will become the organization’s director of youth education, overseeing Cadence programs and Safe Routes Philly.

“The Bicycle Coalition’s nonprofit expertise, broad grassroots support, and rich institutional knowledge will help the Cadence program more effectively reach new athletes and students,” Oelkers said in a statement.

“Between Cadence’s deep and transformative work with hundreds of young athletes, and the 60,000 students who have been impacted by Safe Routes Philly’s extensive reach in Philadelphia public schools, we are creating the largest such organization, in terms of impact, in the country. That is really exciting.”

The combined organization will operate from the Bicycle Coalition’s current Center City offices and will maintain its current websites until a combined site is launched by the end of the year.


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