Most likely, if you are reading the words posted on this site, you would consider yourself a cyclist. As a cyclist, regardless of the discipline of riding you have chosen you have no doubt come to appreciate or even crave the solace and cognitive sanctuary that a bike ride can provide. Although personal satisfaction is not the only benefit of riding, as it also has an extremely powerful ability to create bonding and forge friendships out of the most unlikely of circumstances.
It only takes a moment of thinking about the power cycling really has over people, that you realize “CoolAssMike” is on to something big. Micheal Bowers, who is an avid cyclist and a New York native, is no stranger to the foster care system, growing up in various Foster homes as a child. Mike started his first organized ride in April 2010, which he dubbed the “CoolAssRide,” due to his nick name in the local cycling circles as “CoolAssMike.” His first ride was fairly successful with over 100 youth and Families, many of which sported “CoolAssRide” T-shirts. It wasn’t until after the ride as Mike was looking for a charity to donate the proceeds of the ride to, that he decided there simply weren’t any current foundations that met his desires, and the 1000 Bikes foundation was born.
The 1000 Bikes Foundation seeks to donate 1000 bikes per year to foster youth and their families, to facilitate bonding, healthy lifestyles, and community service and leadership. The foundation looks to donate more than just bikes though, as each donation will include a helmet, lock, light, car bike rack, and opportunity for organized family ride events.
More after the break.
So you’re in a foster home, and you want a bike. Where do you sign up?
Well, not so fast. Eligibility requires a little more than just being a ward of the State and that’s not a bad thing. Mike has really tailored the program to reach out to kids who are truly in need, and are willing to volunteer their time and effort to prove so.
- Participants The 1000 Bikes Foundation must be:
- Be a current or recent ward of the court
- Between the ages of 4 to 18
- Participate in four 1000 Bikes foundation events during the first year (1 per quarter)
- Volunteer at two non-riding events
*Program eligibility will be considered on case by case basis
To be considered for The 1000 Bikes Foundation bike individuals must:
- Fill out and return an application
- Write a 250 word essay on how the bike will impact their life
- Proof of current foster status
- Copy of most recent report card (not to determine eligibility)
- Sign a parent/child commitment letter
Clearly, eligible children must demonstrate a clear desire for the bikes, and have an idea that the bicycle is capable of changing their life. Really, that what Mike has set out to do, in bringing families closer together by providing an opportunity to kids in need. Check out the full story at Mikes site, 1000bikes.org.