Local funding to both draw more bicyclists onto the road and train workers for the industry has been awarded to a San Diego-based nonprofit.
Rider Safety Visibility received a $200,000 grant to support workforce development training for young adults in the bicycle industry via its Pedal Ahead program. The community electric bicycle initiative launched this week in San Diego County’s District 4.
The sprawling area, represented by Supervisor Nathan Fletcher, stretches from La Jolla along the coast to Encanto in the east and Paradise Hills in the south.
The group will support workforce development in the eastern communities by providing opportunities for those between the ages of 18 and 26 to participate in internships, mentorships and education classes through a partnership with Uptown Bicycles.
Uptown Bicycles is a small business with shops in Bankers Hill and Normal Heights.
The San Diego Foundation awarded the grant from its COVID-19 Community Response Fund. San Diego Gas & Electric donated $2 million to the fund with plans to donate an additional $1 million in 2021.
The COVID-19 Community Response Fund awards grants to local nonprofits that support low-income workers, families, and vulnerable communities most affected by the coronavirus, while also supporting efforts to spur economic recovery.
To date, the fund has raised $27.6 million and distributed $26.5 million.
Ed Clancy, co-founder of Rider Safety Visibility, said growth has positioned the bicycle industry for a spot in pandemic recovery efforts.
“The bicycle industry, with an emphasis on e-bikes, is affording many opportunities for workers, and job seekers, in all aspects of our neighborhoods,” he said.
For instance, according to the NPD Group, sales of traditional bicycles at lower price points for neighborhood riding have shown unprecedented year-over-year gains. In addition, e-bike growth continues at historic levels, with sales up 84% in March, 92% in April and 137% in May.
If after the pandemic, e-bikes prove to be a viable and credible solution, Clancy said “the industry will need professionals who understand this growing category of bicycles.”
To that end, Rider Safety Visibility worked with leaders in the bicycle industry to develop a training program that includes small business entrepreneurship, marketing and sales and traditional and electric bicycle maintenance.
Through a network of partners in both the local and national bicycling industries, the program also will include group rides and participation in events that support the electric bicycle program.
– Staff reports