Cadence Cycling Foundation: giving North Philadelphia kids the bicycle dream

As submitted last week, unedited, to the Philadelphia Business Journal for today’s edition.

For Jack Simes, it’s all about the smiles.

The executive director of the Cadence Cycling Foundation, housed at the Cadence Cycling & Multisport Center in Manayunk, is helping to introduce youth from Philadelphia’s underserved neighborhoods to the cycling world.

“There was a huge amount of enthusiasm,” said Simes, of the program’s first 30 young participants. “Cycling is a huge world sport, so it can take these kids around the world if they want it to.”

With a $10,000 retail donation from Fuji, a bicycle retailer with headquarters in Northeast Philadelphia, the foundation started its indoor training session with 22 modified single speed bicycles. Inside the Cadence Cycling Center, the bikes are on stationary trainers and linked through a computer system that allows riders to race each other, without moving. In April, the young riders, mostly between the ages of 11 and 16, will hit the streets with their instructors leading the way.

The kids have plenty of support, from Jay Snider, co-founder of the Cadence Cycling Centers in Philadelphia and New York, who is an avid rider to Simes, who was on all three U.S. Olympic cycling teams in the 1960s and won a world championship in 1968.

“We’re introducting competitive cycling to kids who might not get a chance to ride,” Simes said.

See other examples of my reporting here.