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Founder's Story

CYCLE Kids was founded in 2004 by Julianne Idlet, a former marketing executive who worked for more than 20 years in the for-profit world of technology startups. As an avid cyclist who began riding at a very young age, Julie’s motivation to create CYCLE Kids came from two sources: a desire to share her personal passion for cycling, and a recognition that childhood obesity has become an escalating public health problem. She had a strong belief that tapping into children’s natural love of bikes could be an effective path to changing their behavior.

The CYCLE Kids program uses the bicycle as enticement for 4th and 5th grade students to exercise, learn about nutrition, get excited about reading and writing, and build positive social relationships. Today, 3,000 children each year take part in CYCLE Kids and the program is still growing. "My dream," says Julie, “is that communities and schools across the country will adopt CYCLE Kids, not only to give kids a way to have fun but to get them out there moving. There’s nothing quite like this program anywhere else." 

Julie’s resume prepared her well for the challenges of leading a new nonprofit. “I love being involved with things that are new and growing," says Julie. "That’s where the excitement is.” Her experience includes developing and implementing strategic business plans, leading organizational transformation, and cultivating and growing effective leadership and team networks. She has BS in Marketing from Boston College. Julie has been on the coaching staff of the Harvard University Cycling Team, focusing her efforts on new riders to encourage and motivate them to reach their highest levels of performance. She was known for her supportive and enthusiastic encouragement, which was integral to the team’s success. 

Julie holds a position at Boston University as a visiting scholar, is a frequent lecturer at Harvard College, was a 2013 recipient of the President's Council on Fitness Sports, and Nutrition Community Leadership award, and in 2015 was named one of the most influential women in cycling.