(photo courtesy of Jenn Dice)
Meet Jenn Dice. She is one of the most important people in the United States today. That’s because she was just named President and CEO (on the very day I spoke with her) of PeopleForBikes, where she holds the power in her hands to steer where we go at this crossroads of health, community, environment, and economic challenge during the biggest bike boom since the 1970s.
According to its website, PeopleForBikes includes both an industry coalition of bicycling suppliers and retailers, as well as a charitable foundation. It has spent more than $30 million to make bicycling better, including $2.1 million in community bicycling projects; more than $654 million in federal, state, and private funding; and millions to national groups and programs like the Safe Routes to School National Partnership, the League of American Bicyclists and the International Mountain Bicycling Association, ensuring safer places to ride for both children and adults.
For rubber-hits-the-road examples of PeopleForBikes’ work near you, check out The Green Lane Project and The Big Jump Project. Take a look at City Ratings to see how where you live rates. Fun fact: my metro-Atlanta “family-friendly” suburb city, where I recently survived a hit-and-run while Traveling the Speed of Bike, scores a 1.4 out of 5. My husband and I are searching these ratings, combined with other data, to determine where we are moving next.
Jenn told me:
“How devastating this world is right now, but I’m inherently optimistic. While people have been home they’ve been rethinking how they live and how they work, and are thinking about their health in a whole new way. Bikes bring back the joy. The hope. The optimism. And bike shops do such an incredible public service to keep people moving.”
Of all the people with whom I’ve spoken about the power and potential of bikes, and where there seems to be disconnects, I have never felt more heard, understood, or acted upon as a result of what I shared than when talking with Jenn and immediately afterwards when she and several others from PeopleForBikes followed up with connections and content directly related to our conversation.
A lot has happened in just a day or two since our conversation, and I feel hope again (which was my goal of doing this “You Go, Girl!” series, and towards which every single woman with whom I’ve had the immense pleasure of speaking these past two weeks has helped). If Jenn can reignite that feeling in me after I almost accepted I’d have to drive to ride anywhere from now on (even though I’m a transportation-focused bike rider), then I’m all in to not only see what happens next for bikes in our country but to continue to be a committed part of it in every way possible.
First, let’s talk about Jenn. She grew up in South Dakota riding dirt roads and eventually fell in love with mountain biking, where she became a competitive rider and worked at the International Mountain Biking Association. She was even inducted into the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame for her advocacy work in public lands protection, conservation efforts, and women’s initiatives.
Jenn joined People for Bikes in 2013, where she eventually became Chief Operating Officer before her move this week to the President and CEO positions. I’ll share a summary of her impact and future goals directly from the PeopleForBikes website:
Jenn created the PeopleForBikes Business Network — a federal, state and local policy program to increase funding and access for bikes nationwide. Later, she spearheaded the merger of PeopleForBikes and the Bicycle Product Suppliers Association to advocate for better bike business policy federally and in all 50 states leading to dozens of important biking initiatives at the state and local level. She also led our executive fly-ins to Washington, DC, designed the Congressional Bike Fest and created our DRAFT Meetups, a series of events giving bike entrepreneurs and enthusiasts a place to gather and talk about the power of bikes and the bike business.
Now at the helm of PeopleForBikes, Jenn is ready to lead the bike industry. From working to position bikes both federally and locally as an essential and prominent part of COVID recovery, to addressing racial injustice, and also working towards creating a positive change both within the bike industry and at large, Jenn is energized by the work ahead.
Wanna meet Jenn? You can, right from the comfort of your home, via this video:
Now, who wants to ride bikes with me? Join PeopleForBikes’ Ridespot and find (and share) the joy again. (Stay tuned for an announcement from me about this on August 31, the last day of the “You Go, Girl!” series.)
Tap in every day in August for my “You Go, Girl” series showcasing 31 Women in 31 Days who are making it more welcoming to ride bikes in the USA. If interested, you may enjoy my book, Traveling at the Speed of Bike. All proceeds from the sale of my book help more women and girls ride bikes.
The complete series:
10. Meet Irene Lutts
14. Meet Jenn Dice
28. Meet Megan Ramey
30. Meet Aly Nicklas