Kristin Gavin is the founder of Gearing Up, which she established in 2009 with the mission of providing women in transition from addiction, abuse, and incarceration with the guidance, skills, and equipment to safely ride a bicycle for exercise, transportation, and personal growth. Gavin moved to Philadelphia from Seattle in 2007 to complete a Master’s in Exercise and Sport Psychology at Temple University. Prior to entering graduate school, Gavin spent four seasons working as a bicycle tour guide, ran trips throughout the Pacific Northwest and Southwest, and completed self-supported bicycle tours across Cuba and Vietnam. Her experiences provided her a way to connect people to the joys of the bicycle and stay active herself; both of which would play a major role in the founding of Gearing Up and her dedication to utilizing the bicycle as a form of physical and emotion health.
While completing her graduate studies, Kristin started a fitness program at Interim House, a residential women’s recovery home in the Mt. Airy neighborhood of Philadelphia. She had an interest in the use of physical activity as a means of coping with stress, anxiety, and depression. Witnessing how exercise had made a difference in the lives of the women at Interim House, as well as in her own life, she felt compelled to introduce bike riding into the lives women in transition throughout Philadelphia. She was confident that it could make a positive impact on their physical and emotional health, supporting women during the often difficult time of recovery and re-entry. All of this culminated in the creation of Gearing Up. With a generous gift of five bicycles from Fuji Bikes, Kristin began the very first Gearing Up program at Interim House, a facility out of which Gearing Up still runs group bike rides multiple times a week. With an unshakable spirit, an undying love for bicycles, and dedication to empowering women in transition, Kristin has been working to provide access to the bicycle for all people ever since.
In 2015, Kristin moved on from her position as Director of Gearing Up as the organization grew in size, influence, and capacity, making way for new leadership and internal development to take the organization in new and exciting directions. She now continues her career in bicycle advocacy as the General Manager of Indego, Philadelphia’s bike share system where she oversees the operations of the program as it expands throughout the city. Presently, she serves in an advisory role to both the Board and staff of Gearing Up. Kristin continues to play a part in the organization as it grows and changes with time, still remaining true to the original intent of providing opportunities for women in transition to experience the positive effects of riding a bicycle.