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Focus on the Family: Philly Bike Expo honors human connections over its 12-year history

Published August 10, 2022

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Philadelphia, PA August 10th, 2022: The 2022 Philly Bike Expo returns to the Pennsylvania Convention Center on October 29 and 30. The show is open to the public, and tickets are for sale at

For 12 years, bicycle builders, craftspeople, industry representatives, advocacy experts, media, and fans of all ages have assembled in the City of Brotherly Love. The autumn show has become a ritual of sorts for the large but still tight-knit community of bicycle aficionados, who come to Philadelphia in late October like extended family members returning home for Thanksgiving.

It's been a trying two years for special events, and particularly for those in the bicycle industry, which has seen several venerable shows postpone indefinitely, or even permanently close their doors. Some have questioned the practicality and efficacy of live in-person events, believing the future to be the virtual show space. But the Philly Bike Expo has canceled only once - in 2020 during the height of the COVID19 pandemic and before the arrival of vaccines. Philly Bike Expo founder and director Bina Bilenky thinks the event's staying power is due to the fact that it's more than just a trade show with exhibitors.

"Our relevance really comes from the show's broad bicycle industry spectrum. It's a fertile combination of new and veteran frame builders, a wide range of accessory, clothing, and component manufacturers, materials suppliers, advocacy, and charity exhibitors with a diverse offering of seminars, attended by an enthusiastic crowd from the densely populated, demographically diverse Northeast corridor that can't be matched," says Bilenky.

Emphasizing its unique nature as a gathering as much as a trade show, Bilenky offered as evidence the curated rides on an extensive network of trails and forested single track, events for young children including a bicycle test track inside the show hall, parties, and special guests, accompanied by the history, culture, and cuisine that Philadelphia is famous for, all within a day's drive or easy train ride for more than 100 million people.

With less than three full months until the show, Bilenky said that ⅔ of the available exhibitor spots had been sold, which is a strong indication of a great Fall show. Among the exhibitors are component makers SRAM and Shimano, independent builders Breadwinner, Rivendell, No 22, and Dean, tubing manufacturers Columbus, Reynolds, and Titanium Joe, and Industry Nine, Wahoo, Merlin, Ritchey, and Rodeo Labs.

Returning to the show again for the third year is the SRAM Inclusivity scholarship which aims to highlight and support people of color, women, trans, and non-binary frame builders who have been historically underrepresented at bike shows and the bicycle industry at large: There are four recipients, including one from Canada and one from Mexico. The 2022 recipients are Wzrd Bikes, Studio Basica, Liberation Fabrication, and Hot Salad Bikes.

Attendees to the show include a growing number of bicycle retailers and staff and representatives from both cycling-specialty and mainstream media outlets. Many brands use the media attention the show garners as a platform for new product launches.

But as high-profile as the show has become, Bilenky hasn't forgotten its roots as a casual gathering among friends and colleagues of her father Stephen, a frame builder and bicycle restoration expert who has run Bilenky Cycle Works in North Philadelphia since 1983. It's truly a family affair for the Bilenkys, whose extended family all contribute in different ways to make the show an enduring success.

"The famous vibe of the show remains the ability to meet and greet with the people in the industry you love, to renew old friendships and create new ones," said Bina Bilenky.

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