Bina Bilenky is what you would call a real, deal bicycle industry lifer. She grew up sorting, organizing, and cleaning shop at Bilenky Cycle Works, her father’s (Stephen) bicycle company. As she grew up, she worked her way through the administrative side of the company, taking orders, keeping things organized and herding Bilenky’s famous shop cats, professionally. While traveling around the US promoting Bilenky Cycle Works, Bina and Stephen saw an opportunity for an east coast show, one that would be designed to be a public bicycle exhibition with a deliberately broad-reaching bent.
Thus, the Philadelphia Bike Expo was born – and since year two, the show has been in the very capable hands of show organizer, director, and current owner Bina Bilenky.
Under Bina’s reign, the Expo has been a quiet leader in progressive programming. At a time when most of the industry is dancing around inclusive language, Bina has been proactive about baking inclusivity into the show and its programming from inception. And for the show’s tenth anniversary this year, she’s really pulled out all the stops.
The seminar series features a slate of heavy hitters in cycling inclusivity.
Tenzin Namdol will be presenting the recent summit for WTF Bike Explorers, “A growing community of women, trans, femme, and gender non confirming/ gender-queer/non-binary cyclists are changing the imagination of what an adventure cyclist looks like.”
Ayesha McGowan of A Quick Brown Fox (also a recent guest on the Bikerumor Podcast) is rumored to be presenting on the topic of having difficult discussions around inclusivity.
Bike Design Superstar (and My Personal Hero), Georgena Terry, will be leading a seminar with Fitter Superstar, Anne Barnes of ABBikeFit on whether Women-Specific Design is necessary, which should be rich in depth of information and super interesting.
And last but not least, this year’s really exciting project is shaping up to be the Philadelphia Bike Expo and SRAM Diversity Scholarship. In its first year, the scholarship is facilitating four builders from underrepresented communities within artisan frame building to come to the show and really strut their stuff. As part of the program, these builders (who I’ll be speaking to in upcoming interviews – get stoked) will be holding a panel discussion to discuss diversifying the cycling industry at every scale.
In this interview, Bina and I discuss why she’s chosen this show format, why inclusivity and equity is important when building a show, and about growing up in the bike industry and how that has shaped the Expo to what it is today.
Stay tuned over the coming weeks for more conversations around the Philadelphia Bike Expo and SRAM Diversity Scholarship, including what should be some nerdy conversations with some incredibly talented builders. Get excited.
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