Biking provides outlet for youth

David Suender aims to raise funds to start a new biking program.

David Suender, founder of the BMX Philly Program, meets children at a block party at 18th and York streets Sept. 7. | Margo Reed TTN
David Suender, founder of the BMX Philly Program, meets children at a block party at 18th and York streets Sept. 7. | Margo Reed TTN

David Suender always wanted to work with a youth program—so he’s creating one.

Suender is an avid BMX biker who frequently found himself in local low socioeconomic neighborhoods looking for places with rails and ramps where he could ride his bike. Kids would often approach Suender and his friends, he said, asking to hop on their bikes and learn a few tricks.

“Meshing that and my passion for BMX is a perfect pairing,” Suender, a Temple alumnus, said.

These moments inspired Suender, who graduated in 2014 with a degree in geography and urban studies, to create a BMX program as an outlet for kids.

Philadelphia Urban Youth BMX BikeLife Program that gets kids involved in athletics they may not have access to otherwise. Suender plans to use the proposed $10,000 to purchase bikes, ramps, helmets and other safety equipment to get the program up and running.

BikeLife was originally created for Suender’s social entrepreneurship class his senior year at Temple in 2013. After working as the assistant to the president at One Day At A Time, a North Philadelphia-based nonprofit servicing low-income and homeless people who suffer from HIV/AIDS, Suender began to tweak his model.

“My employment at One Day At A Time and the support of our organization’s president, Mel Wells, had made everything possible,” Suender said. “Without him, I could not have the resources and support to work on the project.”

Nick Bevan, who has ridden with Suender for about 11 years, said Suender finds some interest in BMX at ODAAT events.

“Tons of kids were there to take turns riding our bikes,” Bevan said after attending an event with Suender. “It was an awesome time and it was great to see how much interest it generated amongst everyone.”

One young boy Suender met is already working towards his first bike.

“He said he’s been saving up money,” Suender said. “His mom gave him a little bit, and now he’s calling me up to buy a bike.”

Though Suender is still building a financial base for the program, the level of enthusiasm from children and adults in the community has attracted the attention of Mayor Michael Nutter, who called Suender after hearing about the project. Now, Suender is planning to meet with Nutter and Commissioner Susan Slawson of the Parks and Recreation Department to further discuss his program’s goals.

Suender hopes to make BikeLife his long-term project with the help of funds from Indiegogo, one of his main sources of profit. As of press time, Suender has raised $1,606 of his $10,000 goal. The campaign ends Sept. 19.

“What I would love to see out of it is kids finding a great hobby to keep them out of trouble, away from drugs and violence,” Suender said.

Phylandra McFaddin can be reached at

Video shot and edited by Maggie Andresen.

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