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"Bikes are a brilliant tool; they are affordable, ecologically friendly, and fun. Riding a bike is beneficial for both physical and mental health."

The Shenandoah Valley Bicycle Coalition is thrilled to announce that Ben Wyse will join The Coalition team full-time to lead our Bikes for Neighbors program. Ben has a long history of helping the program and community members experience the joy and freedom of bicycling for everyday trips. 

Sign a Welcome Card for Ben

Now for an introduction from Ben Wyse:

My connection to cycling started at a very young age. I learned to ride a bike on a Schwinn banana seat “girls” bike as a kid growing up on an Iowa farm. The bike was too big, necessitating starting from the porch steps and pedaling with my tippy toes.

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To get off, I would slow down and jump! No helmet and lots of crashes, but I was utterly hooked on the joy of racing around on the “Fair Lady” Stingray. Riding bikes was my favorite form of recreation throughout my childhood.

In college, the bike became my primary form of transportation. I did not have the economic resources to purchase a car, but the bike was a fun and reliable way to get around.
Bikes are a brilliant tool; they are affordable, ecologically friendly, and fun.

Riding a bike is beneficial for both physical and mental health. Walking and biking build community because when you are not encased in an automobile, you are much more likely to interact and chat with other folks on the street.

My commitment to the bike strengthened as I logged more commuter and recreational miles in my youth.

A year after graduating from college, I started my first bike shop job and have been working on bikes ever since. I have participated in advocacy work in various ways over the years. I also worked part-time for the Harrisonburg Department of Public Transportation, driving a bus for several years. My belief in “walking, biking, and public transportation” inspired me to get a CDL and learn about transit from the driver’s seat of a bus.

Honestly, I have mixed emotions as I write this post about joining Amanda and Kyle as part of the SVBC team. I am very excited to have the opportunity to grow the Bikes for Neighbors program for the Coalition. At the same time, I am sorry to be closing the doors of Wyse Cycles after 15 years. I want to thank all the customers who supported Wyse Cycles over the years, and I look forward to building new partnerships in my position with the Bicycle Coalition.

In 2015, when Ritchie Vaughan started the Bikes for Refugees program (as Bikes for Refugees), I enthusiastically joined her efforts. Over the subsequent years, I have helped with all the various iterations of the program and look forward to taking it to a new level.

In 2007, I was president of the Shenandoah Valley Bicycle Club, which merged with the Shenandoah Mountain Bike Club to become the Shenandoah Valley Bicycle Coalition. After the merger, I joined the Coalition as a lifelong member.

I will share a bit about myself for those who don’t know me. My wife, Anna, and I have three children. Sam and Martha are both 16-year-old 10th graders. Our 12-year-old son Desmond is about to finish his 5th-grade year. Anna works PRN at the JMU Health Center as an RN and volunteers at various places. We have lived in Harrisonburg for over 20 years.

These days, most of my cycling is day-to-day commuting. When I have time, I embark on an alternative triathlon to visit my favorite local crag in the Hone Quarry area of the GWNF. This involves biking to the Hidden Rocks trailhead (trail 511 in the GWNF), hiking to the crag and spending a few hours rope soloing. Over the past four years I have spent hundreds of hours bolting new sport climbs in the area. While I am not a mountain biker, I share a love for our beautiful local mountains with many different user groups and recreate there any chance I get!

Shenandoah Valley Bicycle Coalition Welcomes Ben Wyse to Expand Bikes for Neighbors Program

The innovative program is growing to serve more people and promote bicycles for transportation.

The Shenandoah Valley Bicycle Coalition is thrilled to announce that Ben Wyse, longtime owner of Wyse Cycles, will join The Coalition team full-time to lead our Bikes for Neighbors program. Ben has a long history of helping the program and community members experience the joy and freedom of bicycling for everyday trips. 

Coupled with an extensive history of working on bicycles as the owner of Wyse Cycles, Ben is uniquely qualified to help the Coalition build better communities in the Valley through biking and active transportation. In 2019, Ben was awarded Best Bike Mechanic of the Blue Ridge in Blue Ridge Outdoors magazine’s Best of the Blue Ridge Awards contest.

After many successful years operating Wyse Cycles as a mobile bicycle repair shop, Ben has decided to close the bike shop’s doors. His role with the Coalition will allow him to focus his efforts on helping more people in our community use bicycles as a primary mode of transportation.

In his new role, Ben will oversee all aspects of the Bikes for Neighbors program, which provides refurbished bicycles to underserved residents of the Shenandoah Valley. Ben’s extensive experience in the cycling industry and passion for making biking accessible to all will help take this innovative program to the next level.

Originally called Bikes for Refugees, the Bikes for Neighbor Program aims to partner with direct service providers to help connect people with bicycles for transportation and set them up for a fun and enjoyable experience. The program aims to provide not only a bicycle but also a helmet, lock, lights, pump, and, most importantly, a human connection to show people where and how to navigate our community while riding a bicycle safely. Bikes for Neighbors increases personal freedom with the help of bicycles.

“I couldn’t be more excited to join forces with The Coalition and pour my energy into Bikes for Neighbors,” said Ben Wyse. “Helping people discover the freedom, environmental benefits, and pure joy that comes with riding a bike has always been a driving force in my life. I look forward to working with The Coalition’s amazing team and volunteers to get more people biking and build a stronger community.”

Ben opened Wyse Cycles in 2009 and quickly earned a stellar reputation for customer service, expert repairs, and building a welcoming environment for people of all skill levels. While the shop will be greatly missed, Ben’s knowledge and community connections will be invaluable assets for growing Bikes for Neighbors. 

“Ben is the perfect person to lead Bikes for Neighbors into the future,” noted Kyle Lawrence, Director of The Coalition. “His bike shop has been a pillar of the bicycle scene here for years. Having him on board full-time to promote bicycling as transportation for those who need it most is a huge win for The Coalition and the region.”

Bikes for Neighbors is looking for donated bicycles! You can drop off bicycles at the Harrisonburg Gift and Thrift during their regular hours. All donated bikes should contain an attached note indicating they are specifically for the Bikes for Neighbors Program. 

 

Please join us in welcoming Ben to the Shenandoah Valley Bicycle Coalition! To learn more about Bikes for Neighbors and how you can get involved, visit svbcoalition.org/bikesforneighbors.

 

About Shenandoah Valley Bicycle Coalition:

Founded in 1982, The Coalition is a non-profit organization promoting bicycling as a healthy, sustainable and fun transportation and recreation choice in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley through infrastructure projects, education programs, events and advocacy. Learn more at svbcoalition.org.  

 

Contact:

  • Kyle Lawrence
  • Executive Director
  • Shenandoah Valley Bicycle Coalition
  • 571-277-8121

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