2022 Squad Members
We are The Philly Bike Expo Squad. We are NOT just another racing team. We are a community of cyclists who are passionate about riding bikes, spreading our passion for cycling, and engaging with everyone and their mother to spread the PBE love far and wide. The Squad has done road, gravel, mountain bike, and triathlon races and events - so whatever you do, you'll fit right in. Randonneur? Mhmm. Cross junkie? Saddle up. Unicyclist? We want you. We really (really) want you. Born in 2018, we are looking for more riders who value community, just can't wait to get out on two wheels whenever possible, and want to be an ambassador for inclusivity in cycling. It doesn’t matter how fast you are, what you ride, how far you ride, even where you ride - the mission is the love of the ride and to spread that love to others.
Bina is the Owner and Director of Operations for the Philly Bike Expo. Bina was always surrounded by bikes growing up, but started cycling after her father, Stephen Bilenky made her an S&S coupled touring bike. Bina took a leap into bike touring as the assistant tour director of the 4 month Tour d’Afrique. She lives in Lewisburg PA and has a deep love for Central PA gravel roads.
Mark Yanagisawa rides out of Philly. At a young age, Mark could be found in his backyard, launching his bike off of anything that resembled a jump. After nearly two decades of swimming, Mark started cycling and racing triathlons to feed his competitiveness. Today, Mark can be found in his PBE kit, pink helmet and Goodr sunnies leading group rides, shredding trails, or racing gravel events.
Mark came on board in 2017 and is our fearless and inclusive Squad leader. Mark is a phenomenal athlete, hype man and go to guy for anything from graphics to marketing to logistics. Mark is also the co-founder of Paper Trail Gravel Travel; all-inclusive gravel trips.
“Hi, Alex here! In 2019 I joined the PBE squad with many cycling goals and specific plans. Like everyone else, 2020 and 2021 had other things in mind: canceled events, a new job, and a pandemic-mutt named Wesley . I am a road-cycling hobbyist and fitness nut. You can usually find me riding hills outside Philly at sunrise on my road bike, bouncing around the Belmont on my gravel-cross bike, or hiking with my partner and our crazy dog on the weekends. Always excited for the Philly Bike Expo, and can’t wait to meet the new squad members!”
“My name is Taylor and I use she/her pronouns. I LOVE ALL BIKES but more importantly the people bikes have brought me into relationship with. The Philly Bike Expo has been my team and family since the wee stages of my bike racing career and I am blessed and proud to have “grown up” here. I recently moved from Philadelphia down to Western North Carolina and I welcome any of my Squad mates to come join me for a ride and see what it is I love about this area so much. I hope to continue my cycling journey this year across all boundaries LOL Crits, Gravel, MTB, Road stage racing, and Cyclocross BRING IT ON!”
“My name is Kathleen Medley, but I prefer to be called “Taffy”. My athletic career began in 2014 as I was turning 50 yrs old. After medaling in my first ever 5k race, I’ve been hooked on competitive racing. Due to injury, in 2017 I started cycling and fell in love with the sport. Since then, I’ve become a duathlete, Spartan, entered into the vEveresting Hall of Fame, and earned the titles: 2021 Rapha Cycling Club – NYC Overall Distance Champion, and 2021 Major Taylor National Riding Challenge Winner for Total Elevation and Biggest Elevation Ride/Women. I’ve participated in 5k races and cycling events from NY to as far south as TX. I share my love of cycling with everyone I meet and encourage others; regardless of age, to get into the sport! I’m super excited to be selected as a member of the phenomenal PBESquad for the 3rd year and can’t wait to see what new experiences 2022 will bring! I am also a member of the USATF, USA Triathlon, South Jersey Bike Crew, KRT/QRT Cycling Club, Philly Major Taylor Cycling Club, Rapha Cycling Club of NYC and a proud member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. I enjoy spending time with my husband and adorable Shar Pei, “Pumpkin”; amazing adult children & grandchildren, singing in my church praise team, and Wowing clients with my exceptional event planning skills. Congrats to my fellow PBE Squadders! Let’s do this!!!”
“I am a middle school math teacher living in Southern Maryland. I started off in triathlons and met my husband while riding bikes. We have now evolved to riding primarily gravel. I met the PBE squad at @unpavedpennsylvania and knew that I wanted to be apart of their team. I am an advocate for mental health and have raised over $9,000 for St Jude. I am a co-host on the podcast Mid-Atlantic Gravel Travel and Dirt and preach the importance of mental and physical health. I am excited to ride this year with new friends!”
“Hello! My name is Shannan – the hill climber! I currently live in King of Prussia and the past four years I have been Vegan. Most mornings you can catch me chasing sunrises on my bike. I started mountain biking back in 2018 which led me into road and gravel riding. Over the past four years I have met so many incredible people and had the opportunity to join PaperTrail Gravel Travel team on their McClure, PA event. I am grateful for each experience, the friendships I’ve made and bringing people together in building a thriving community.”
“I’m pumped to be back for 2022 and for the opportunity to continue to spread the PBE stoke! I love my family, Philly, riding my bike, and representing an awesome group of people. I am looking forward to tackling all roads on my new @prattframeworks frame, and riding with the PBE family. This crew and kit represents love, good vibes and unity.
I believe that everyone should feel comfortable and safe on a bike, and will do my best to always be a welcome and smiling face on the road. I can’t wait for what 2022 has in store for us!”
“I’m 36 years old from Sarasota, Florida. Most of my time I spend riding for fun while occasionally slipping a race in to keep things fresh. Whether on or off a bike, I love helping people. One of my friends dubbed me the “Ride Dad” since I’m often the most prepared. I spent the first 20 years of riding on a BMX bike at skateparks & dirt jumps. As I transitioned into riding big kids bikes, I quickly realized endurance cycling was my passion. I didn’t start by riding for hundreds of miles for days on end. It started with a 8 mile ride that left me feeling like I was king of the world. Since then I’ve wanted to share that feeling with others. In 2021 I helped a non-profit organization train an athlete with autism to ride at Gravel Worlds in Nebraska. When I’m not riding I enjoy are meeting new people, spearfishing and spending time with my wife and dog.”
“Home for me is in Allentown Pennsylvania but I am a full-time mechanical engineering student at Colorado Mesa University. I mostly race track and road and sometimes dabble in a bit of cyclocross!”
“Hello, my name is Maia Paris. I live in Forked River, NJ with my boyfriend and cat. I’m an Army Veteran and spent 10 years as a helicopter pilot. Cycling has always been my outlet and my family. While I was in the Army moving every couple years, I was always able to find a home with the local group ride. I want to work to make my local bike community a place where people feel welcome to ride and have people to help them along the way. These days I’m enjoying a simpler life, working in a bike shop, getting people stoked on bikes, and riding as much as possible.”
“Hi y’all! I’m Rachel (or RayRay to some). I have been a part of the PBE crew for 4 years now! I live and work in Philly – a bike mechanic by day, a partner, bike racer, musician, and creative dabbler by night…I’m always working on some kind of tech noodlings and hella stoked for every adventure that is to come!”
“Hello everyone, my name is Trong. By day, I work logistics and supply chain for the government. By night, I usually like to try new restaurants in the city if I am not out riding my bike. I started riding bikes as a commuter through the city after college. My true cycling obsession actually began during the midst of pandemic in 2020. Ever since then, I have lost 35lbs and my health has never been better. I believe that cycling is a great tool for anyone who is looking to challenge themselves mentally and physically or to simply go on an adventure for fun. As I continue on my cycling journey, I hope to learn more and share what I have learned with everyone. I am excited to be part of the PBE Squad 2022 and hopefully get to ride along with you all!”
Rudesia wears many hats in the fitness world and beyond. She started her fitness journey eight years ago with running. Her love for physical activity increased along with her understanding of its positive impact on the body. Rudesia then studied and became a personal trainer, which serves as a great benefit to herself and the clients that she serves. Over time Rudesia started to become interested in adding activities to her fitness repertoire and during the pandemic she started cycling, initially to support her mental health. Although road cycling was a thrill, Rudesia wanted more and set a mental goal of participating in a multisport activity. As a recipient of a grant for “Black Women in Sports, and Coeur Sports,” Rudesia began her triathlon journey. Swimming became an added fitness activity, and where it all fused together. Rudesia developed a love for swimming and completed her first “open water swim” in a relay with two other minority women. In search of an additional thrill, Rudesia ventured into the world of cyclocross where she feels she has found an additional competitive home. Outside of her personal fitness activities, Rudesia serves as a youth cycling coach and stretch coach for Bicycle Coalition Youth Cycling. The BCYC youth are not the only children that Rudesia supports with increasing their physical fitness, as she is very intentional with including her children in her activities. Rudesia is a member of Fast Chix Triathlon Club and is actively working to support efforts to get more women of color engaged in multisport and triathlon.
“Hi, I’m Steph! I am a Cat 2 rider out of Brooklyn. I started riding as a way to get around my college campus, but I’d been a competitive swimmer my whole life, so I was naturally drawn towards racing. I love riding because of how cool it feels to go faster and further than I could on foot, but still powered only by myself. Off the bike, I love cooking and having people over for dinner. I used to cook and bake professionally, and I love sharing recipes, talking about ingredients, and answering questions about how to fuel creatively. I’m super stoked for the season, and can’t wait to see what we can accomplish as a squad.”
“Hey-o! The name is Rachael. I currently reside in western Michigan, spend most of my time here in the winter and THEN the remainder of the year is spent out on the road trying to see as many new roads by bike (and sto-n-go minivan) as possible! You can usually find me singing whatever song I’m keeping pace to in some rad gravel event – stashing extra snacks from aid stations in soggy jacket pockets, Bikepacking with everything under the sun attached to my bike, out on long summer rides in moody weather, embracing the “party pace”on muddy roads and not taking myself TOO seriously!”
“I’m a frame builder, cat lady, and love racing ‘cx and spending long days in the saddle. I’ve loved getting to know the welcoming community here in Philly, and want to help more people find their passion and place within cycling.
I started riding bikes as a kid – sometimes in my grandfather’s Wald basket, then later on his too-big-for-me coaster brake bike. Fast forward to today where I love riding bikes (that fit!) to commute, race, and go on silly long rides with friends.
I’ll bring the team spirit, positive encouragement and compassion for all cyclists, and a dash of bike nerdery. I also wear my heart on my sleeve, and try to spread awareness of struggles that are close to home for me, such as mental health and trans and queer liberation, as well as uplifting the struggles of other marginalized communities.”
“Bikes are fun. Bikes are art. Bikes are an extension of their rider. I’ve never competed but I enjoy rides that challenge my abilities and always look forward to the opportunities another ride presents. The community is one of a kind and I feel like I’ve found a place to celebrate my own growth as well as encourage, inspire and witness the growth of others. I’m a fan of gravel and loading the bike up for a nice bikepacking adventure from an overnight to a week long roll around. I’m an advocate for cycling professionally and it doesn’t stop when I’m off the clock. Being a black man who is recognized around this activity is also important to me as to inspire other POC to experience something I did not. Being a part of the squad would be an opportunity for me to expand my knowledge, my love and my involvement in the cycling community IN the community that I love.”
“My name is Dave Kerwood and I am an Occupational Safety Professional and Photographer, living in Havertown PA. I love bicycles, coffee, and the outdoors. Looking forward to being a part of the squad and spreading the word/love!”
“Hi, my name is Luly, I’m a High School Senior living in State College PA. I love mountain and gravel biking but really any day I get to be on a bike is a good day! I have had so many biking adventures in the forests of Pennsylvania and with my family I have also had the chance to live in and explore Spain by bike. Apart from cycling, some of my favorite things are reading(PBE book club?), backpacking, skiing, and science. I am also a part of the @nationalyouthbike. To me, the most rewarding thing is building and being apart of a diverse and welcoming cycling community.”
Ajoa is a “multisport mom,” from Philadelphia, Pa. She has been a lifelong athlete; however, about four years ago, Ajoa found herself re-visiting her love for running, and over the past two years, she has developed a love for cycling. After participating in several competitive cycling events this past Summer such as a triathlon relay with the D.I.S.K. Triathlon Organization, ToAD Crit Race Series as a recipient of the Abundance Mini Grant, and a few other individual and team multisport events, Ajoa immediately felt a connection to cycling and is in constant pursuit of both self-improvement and community impact. Moreover, Ajoa was featured in the “Gear of the Year” issue of Bicycling Magazine and had a documentary created about her life using cycling as a way to combat the mental challenges of the pandemic titled “From Quarantine to Q.R.T.” Produced by Love Now Media.
Ajoa is not only representing the PBE Squad, but she also supports and is a member of LEVEL UP Cycling Movement out of Miami, Florida, Bank City Bike Club out of Charlotte, North Carolina, and Major Taylor Philadelphia. Holding true to her passion and the commitment she made after being featured by USA Cycling’s Women in Cycling Campaign, #LEADHERFORWARD, Ajoa is a youth cycling coach for Bicycling Coalition Youth Cycling, and is also launching a self-development health and wellness brand that focuses on women and girls. Her brand is focused on using the bike and other physical activities as tools to enhance overall wellbeing. Ajoa is a proud member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. and enjoys spending time with her three children, traveling, and making an impact wherever she goes. @trevorraab
Product Review / Travelogue by PBE Squad member, Rachael Sage
A few weeks ago, I drove down to Stillwater, OK from Michigan for another shot at Midsouth Gravel since 2020. The year of rain, miles of peanut butter MUD, broken hearts over busted derailleurs, and early rumblings of COVID. The specific event marked the beginning of my affection and appreciation of hardship in the elements along with many friendships that inspired miles I rode solo through the past couple of years. For those unfamiliar with Midsouth, it’s an early spring Midwest challenge with distances ranging from 12-100 miles and a 50k run, you prepare for whatever weather decides to cross the area that day and it’s more often not, unfavorable conditions. Unexpected twists and turns of a path ahead are intriguing to me so I was stoked to get back with different tools for the experience this time around!
This year, I brought along my single speed Mars Cycles outfitted with some cotton candy Industry Nine UL250 TRA’s – 700c tubeless paired with WTB Venture 40C, switched to a 42T/18T for the ultimate head boppin’, party pace through the climbs, which can be illustrated through sound by listening to The Ill Communication album from the Beastie Boys. When I travel for events, I want to fully experience the space I am in both light and dark. The goal this year was to finish under the night sky… and THAT I DID!
My day was filled with 100 miles of orange, tan and gray surfaces. Plenty of fresh grated road with chunky, loose gravel, a little mud and sandpaper all littered with ruts, SO MUCH washboard and descents on hills boasting questionable paths through rocky mess. That mess could grab your wheel and send you wherever it directed, at anytime. All of this was mostly into headwinds with plenty of climbing! Temps ranged from 20-55 degrees and then back down to chilly again as I rode into the dark roads under the blanket of stars overhead.
In the mud, while some walked, I joined those who rode through two tracks, finding myself floating over potholes and long grass with ease. Every pedal stroke was met in quick response to move forward – regardless of the path. Through sand, rocks, mud, pavement, unpaved chunky mess, up and down countless hills, I felt strong, confident and able. Under the stars, riding along with limited light and very few riders around – I was grounded, stable, prepared for anything that might come across my path.
Cycling is a source of self expression for me. A space for me to celebrate my love of color, texture, design and function. I care as much about the aesthetics of my machine as I do its abilities to take on any road or path set before it. Custom ano dials in the personality to my bike as much as the frame and accessories. Being able to choose down to each spoke on the wheel is a really cool way to celebrate color partnered with design and a sense of ownership to MY own bike. The profile of the rim is sleek. The decals, modern, timeless and minimal. Being able to customize color through spokes to integrate MORE color to accent with is super LEGIT. But even more, these wheels brought an openness to the folks surrounding me. Where we could take a moment to get to know one another and cheer each other on, perhaps in our darker moments on the path.
A rainbow spinning from afar can start a conversation pretty quickly with folks out in the middle of roads like these. And if anything, the greatest lesson I’ve learned from cycling is just how much my community becomes family. And my family is constantly inspiring me to become a better person and cyclist each day in passing.
Anyhow, this is the face of a person who felt at one with their bike. From the first mile, to the very last… the sound of the hubs to every compliment at SAG stops and new friends made through conversation while eating snacks and talking bikes, my heart is so full. THANK YOU to the folks at Industry Nine for general badassery. Engagement is key. Sound is key. Color is key. All of the things that are DIALED on these wheels! And even better, they were gracious through every poor line choice I may or may not have taken.
The lands we rode and ran were on the land of those of the Otoe-Missouria Tribe and Osage, Kiowa, Kickapoo, Wichita, Quapaw, Pawnee and Seminole Nations. I am grateful to have ridden these roads in thought of those here before me, thank you for the opportunity to grow my mind, spirit and heart.
This is Rachael Sage from the PBE Squad signing out!!!
HOPE TO SEE YOU ALL OUT THERE SOMEWHERE SOON!
Sunday Oct. 30th, 7:15 AM
Meet at the Art Museum Steps
20 miles ish end at the expo
Gravel with Mark and the PBE Squad on Sunday morning! Road, dirt, gravel… we’ll do a bit of everything around the city! We’ll roll into Belmont Plateau for singletrack and smooth trails, before going to the SRT and connecting to the Wissahickon Trails, on Forbidden Drive and back into the heart of the city to the Philly Bike Expo finish! Recommended bikes with tires over 32mm. Don’t forget the time change -you’ll get an extra hour of zzz’s, but don’t sleep in too much! You don’t want to miss this!