U.S. bicycle industry trade association and advocacy nonproﬁt lead marketer started his career in the Latino community of Newark, New Jersey
BOULDER, Colorado (September 13, 2023) — PeopleForBikes, the U.S. bicycle industry’s trade association and a national advocacy nonproﬁt, announced Jose Maldonado as its ﬁrst chief marketing oﬃcer. Maldonado started with PeopleForBikes in October 2019 and recently returned to lead strategy and amplify campaigns aimed at making the U.S. the best place to ride a bike in the world. Those campaigns include The Great Bike Infrastructure Project, a comprehensive City Ratings program, and the first industrywide electric bicycle battery recycling program in the U.S.
“Jose is a genuine inspiration to anyone with a passion for cycling,” said PeopleForBikes President and CEO Jenn Dice. “He found his way to cycling from an unlikely background and turned his passion and totally unique point of view into a voice that is helping make riding a bike safer and more accessible for everyone across the entire United States.”
The road to Maldonado’s appointment as a CMO was as unlikely as it was challenging. He was born in Newark, New Jersey, into a proud Puerto Rican family. His father and mother were both hard-working, ﬁrst-generation immigrants who focused on ensuring their children had access to the best education possible at Seton Hall Prep in nearby West Orange, New Jersey.
Despite crippling dyslexia, Maldonado attended Middlesex College before launching a music career and being signed to a major record label, Lava/Atlantic, in the late 1990s. A song on his ﬁrst record called “Blunt Force Trauma” described the beating his father took at the hands of police oﬃcers who responded to the call of an intruder at the family’s home.
“Dyslexia was a huge obstacle in my early years that was compounded by my lack of awareness that my brain functioned diﬀerently than most other people’s,” said Maldonado. “Dyslexia forced me to operate and learn in unconventional ways throughout my early life and into my professional career. It challenged me to develop tactics to help cope with life’s demands and pushed me to process data with structured thinking.”
After picking up the cycling bug while living in Philadelphia, Maldonado rose through a series of cycling-related jobs, including time with Performance Bikes and Cadence Cycling in Philadelphia and Competitive Cyclist in Little Rock, Arkansas, and Park City, Utah.
“I decided to pursue a career in the cycling industry,” said Maldonado. “I knew nothing about bikes at the time but had a wealth of retail management and merchandising experience.”
In 2019, inspired by his mother’s work as a healthcare provider at a drug rehab clinic during the AIDS epidemic, Maldonado decided it was time to shift into work that would give back to his adopted community of cyclists.
“The bike has had a profound eﬀect on my life and it motivates me every day to make bicycling more accessible for everyone. I am fortunate to be working with some of the most intelligent, passionate, and results-driven people I’ve ever met who are united under the same goal. The team at PeopleForBikes is truly the best and getting to work alongside industry experts and influential leaders makes us great,” said Maldonado.
At PeopleForBikes, Maldonado and the rest of the team focus on three areas of inﬂuence —infrastructure, policy, and participation — to help accelerate the construction of safe, fun, and connected places to bike; advance pro-bike and pro-bike-business legislation; and reduce barriers to access and welcome more people to the joys of riding a bike.
“My journey to leading marketing at PeopleForBikes has been unconventional, but I hope I can prove to other minorities and those from historically disadvantaged groups that it’s not impossible,” said Maldonado. “I hope that I can inspire others like me to be who they want to be.”