Ira David Levy is the creator, executive producer, and host of Pedal America. Born and raised in New York City, he’s been an avid cyclist for more than 30 years. In 2001 he created and organized the 9-11 NY Education Ride that he pedaled in 2002. The 70-day, 4486-mile bicycle trek across the United States raised college funds for children who lost parents in the September 11th terrorist attacks.
Before that, he spent seven years pedaling his bike for Breast Cancer, AIDS, and other charitable causes. In 1996, 1997, and 1998 he biked from Minneapolis to Chicago; in 2000 he pedaled 525 miles across Alaska; and in 2001 he rode 575 miles across Montana. In July 2008 he pedaled 530 miles from Missoula, Montana to Banff/Lake Louise, Canada. “I’ve always been a road cyclist,” he says. “Viewers should know that our Raystown Lake, Pennsylvania episode was genuinely my very first attempt at mountain biking, and I fell in love with the activity. I look ahead to improving and teaching our viewers along the way.”
In the mid-1980’s Ira worked in radio and television in Upstate NY, and at CNN, in Atlanta. He holds a masters degree from DePaul University and has published numerous local, regional and national articles on outdoor activity.
Between 1995 and 2011 Ira David worked as an assistant professor of journalism and media studies at Wright College, one of the City Colleges of Chicago, where he advised The Wright Times - the nationally recognized and award-winning student news organization. In 2003 College media Advisers awarded him “Adviser of the Year” at the National Collegiate Press convention, in Orlando, Fla. In 2005 College Media Advisers appointed him Secretary to the Board. He resigned in 2010 to dedicate his full attention to developing Pedal America and his building his production company, Out-Write Media, LLC.
Pedal America airs on public television and Create TV. In each episode Ira David lists one of his nieces’ cats, Gumball, in the closing credits. Gumball lives in the SoHo section of New York City and is a staunch supporter, regular viewer, and on-call Key Grip.
Ira subscribes to more of a Buddhist approach for success, living in the present so that each moment is experienced 100%. “It’s not always easy to do, but while many of us focus on the end result, myself included, it’s the journey that really gets you there. It’s pretty similar to pedaling your bicycle. Miss out on the ride, and you’ve missed out on much of your life and most of the fun.”