Nonprofits  January 10, 2022

Jenn Dice embodies the mission of PeopleForBikes

BOULDER — It’s fitting that the CEO of PeopleForBikes has 14 bikes between her and her husband. 

Jenn Dice, CEO and president of the Boulder nonprofit, rides cruiser, commuter, gravel and e-bikes, but her favorite is her mountain bike. She rides for recreation and a couple times a week to work, embodying PeopleForBikes’ vision to prioritize and position bikes as a viable transportation option in cities and towns across the nation.

“I love bikes, and I truly believe in the power of bikes to bring people together to create change to solve the world’s biggest problems,” Dice said. “They’re a power connector. They help people overcome barriers, and they’re a great equalizer.”

Dice, who lives in Boulder, joined PeopleForBikes nearly nine years ago as vice president of the business network and of government relations before becoming chief operating officer, then CEO in July 2020, where she helps lead advocacy. 

PeopleForBikes got its start in 1999 when 12 members of the bike industry came together to grow bicycling participation across the U.S., reduce barriers to riding, and increase and improve riding opportunities for transportation, mobility and recreation. The nonprofit finds that people won’t ride if they don’t see it as safe, so better bike infrastructure, including bike lanes, paths and trails, are needed, as well as policies, initiatives and programs that support riding, according to the nonprofit.

PeopleForBikes, which now has a staff of 35, lobbies for funding, biking access and pro-bike policies at all levels of government and positions bikes as a way to connect communities, protect the environment, improve health and boost local and state economies. 

“I understand the importance of having strong government affairs to help elected officials make pro-bike decisions and solve a lot of problems,” Dice said. “(Bikes) can help people have access to jobs, education and everyday services. They help people with mental and physical health. They help with congestion and the climate. They are a justice tool where everyone has freedom to move around the city.”

PeopleForBikes is a business and trade advocacy organization representing 300 national and global bike suppliers that uses “the voice of business to affect change,” Dice said.

“The bike industry has long needed an advocate that has a clear and dedicated vision and focus on the future of the industry. Jenn not only embodies that focus but has a very clear sense of how we need the industry to grow,” said Luis Benitez, vice president of government affairs and global impact for VF Corp. and former state director for the Outdoor Recreation Industry office under Gov. John Hickenlooper. “For instance, more so during the pandemic, people are riding, e-bike sales are off the charts, and PeopleForBikes and Jenn are meeting the moment to capitalize on all this change. … PeopleForBikes is a trade association that really punches above its weight. For a small nonprofit, it is doing innovative and entrepreneurial work and that is all due to Jenn’s leadership.”

Dice created the PeopleForBikes Business Network, a federal, state and local policy program that increases funding and access for bikes. She also spearheaded the merger of PeopleForBikes with the Bicycle Product Suppliers Association to advocate for better bike business policy at the state and federal levels that led to dozens of biking initiatives.

“I have known Jenn for a long time and am very impressed with her leadership and successes at PeopleForBikes. Membership is way up to 300 supplier members. Programs are effective, growing bicycling and the bike business and taking advantage of the fact that COVID has increased our interest in being outside and being healthy,” said Ken Gart, principal of The Gart Cos. in Denver. “E-bikes also have the potential to really impact our habits on commuting to work and play, and PFB is very focused on our national transportation landscape to capitalize on this opportunity.”

Lise Aangeenbrug, executive director of the Outdoor Industry Association in Boulder, noted that outdoor participation dramatically increased during the pandemic.

“Biking in particular is soaring across new geographies and demographics,” Aangeenbrug said. “PeopleForBikes under the leadership of Jenn Dice is helping build more bike infrastructure, ensuring policies make riding accessible and safe and keeping all these new and diverse riders on their bikes and riding.”

PeopleForBikes collaborates with all levels of government to help cities build connected bike networks. Most recently, the nonprofit worked with Congress on passing a 70% increase in federal funding to build more bike paths and lanes, as well as working with five cities, including Denver, over the past three years to build more than 400 miles of high-quality bike paths and protected bike lanes.

“We believe in bikes and what they can do for communities,” Dice said. “Ultimately, we believe bikes make communities great.”

PeopleForBikes rates more than 700 cities through its annual City Ratings program, a data-driven approach to evaluating and comparing cities for the quality of their bicycling networks and to help city leaders identify the actionable steps they can take to improve those networks. The Bicycle Network Analysis tool measures how well bike networks connect riders with the places they want to go using OpenStreetMap and national census statistics.

The nonprofit also launched the Keep Riding campaign to encourage the millions of new riders who discovered, or rediscovered, bicycling in 2020 during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic and to inspire them to keep riding in 2021 and beyond. In 2020, 10% of adults started riding for the first time in the past 12 months or for the first time ever.

“Biking is so much fun. It’s joy. It’s freedom,” Dice said. “In the past two years, with the widespread devastation brought on by COVID, it’s been great to get out to clear your head, get some exercise and be grateful for your health and being alive.”

In a good week, Dice rides four to five times for fun and two or more times to work, more often in the warmer months. She fell in love with biking after signing up for the Leadville Trail 100 race in 2000, which she’s done 14 times since. An enthusiastic rider, she’s also hiked up and biked down Mount Kilimanjaro twice. 

Dice earned a bachelor’s degree in English and mass communications from the University of South Dakota and a master’s of public administration from the University of Kansas, then spent her career in legislative work. She initially served as a lobbyist for Colorado Counties Inc. in Denver in the areas of transportation and general government issues. She then became director of government affairs for the International Mountain Bicycling Association in Boulder from 2001 to 2012, where she directed local, state and federal public policy programs. 

Dice’s positions covered the four primary things she cares about, that of county government, mountain biking, biking in general and the biking industry, she said.

“I was a lobbyist for CCI, mountain bikers and now all of bicycling,” Dice said. “I love lobbying because it’s really being persuasive about what you’re passionate about and helping activate a world you want to see.”

Lobbying is “a great combination of public policy, persuasion, relationships and coalition building,” Dice said. “I’ve always been lucky because I’ve been lobbying for what I believe in. It doesn’t feel like work because it’s something (I’m) passionate about.” 

BOULDER — It’s fitting that the CEO of PeopleForBikes has 14 bikes between her and her husband. 

Jenn Dice, CEO and president of the Boulder nonprofit, rides cruiser, commuter, gravel and e-bikes, but her favorite is her mountain bike. She rides for recreation and a couple times a week to work, embodying PeopleForBikes’ vision to prioritize and position bikes as a viable transportation option in cities and towns across the nation.

“I love bikes, and I truly believe in the power of bikes to bring people together to create change to solve the world’s biggest problems,” Dice said. “They’re a power…

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