Teaming up with our sponsors and distributors globally, Pinkbike's Share The Ride raises money to bring disadvantaged children from all over the world the opportunity to share the joy of being on two wheels by providing them with bicycles, helmets and locks. Since its inception in 2013, the foundation has raised over $200,000 and brought smiles to hundreds of children around the world. Once again, our industry friends have come to the table with tons of incredible prizes for you to win this year, including a Cannondale Habit and a Norco Bicycles Range, with more being added all the time.
You wouldn’t believe how hard it is to give away free bikes until you take on a challenge like hosting a Pinkbike Share The Ride event. Sure, it's easy enough to find a place that will open their doors, take the bikes, say thank you, then promptly send you on your way. Finding a partner and working with a group whose members' lives will be positively impacted by these bikes is the hard part. For my third Share the Ride event, Kim Brennan at Pinkbike threw an additional curveball at me by asking my me to look outside Calgary – where I live – to host my 2018 event. Where to start? Youth groups, tribal councils, charity organizations? I decided to start with what I know and called the bike shops in the area! My first call was to Bike Bros in Cochrane, and the manager there was able to pass on several contacts at local schools that have Principals or Assistant Principals who mountain bike themselves. Hosting an event like this means the staff, teachers and Principals need to put even more on their plate and not all of them have the time or want to take on the responsibility of partnering with an event like this. Enter Shannon Fox; the physical education teacher at the Exshaw Elementary School just outside Canmore, Alberta and the Morley First Nations Reserve. I told Shannon who I was and want I wanted to do – she was IN!
I went out to meet with Shannon and her Principal and meet some of the students at the Exshaw elementary school and I was hooked. This is was the place and these kids deserved this huge leg up from the users at Pinkbike – but with several hundred kids and only fifteen bikes from GT Bicycles, how could I best help them? After a few calls – folks stepped up! Bryce at Calgary Cycle added another five bikes from Devinci Cycles, then Paul from Outside Bike and Ski donated another five bikes from Norco bringing our total to twenty-five. Kali supported the event with twenty-five helmets and ABUS locks helped ensure the bikes stayed safe with a burly lock for every bike.
In the past I worked with the school and we donated the bikes to specific students. That wasn’t going to have the best impact here and it wasn’t going to have the effect I wanted. After discussions with Shannon we decided that this fleet of twenty-five brand new bikes would be donated directly to the school to be used to create the very first mountain bike program in the area. The town of Exshaw has a brand new pump track, great local trails like Prospector, and is close to the huge trail network at the Canmore Nordic Centre for the kids to take advantage of. This program will benefit students in grades five, six and seven and could last for years as the kids get a sense of freedom and independence that only riding a mountain bike can give.
With the help of a great volunteer crew we all met up on Friday morning, offloaded the bikes, took a few photos, then started building the bikes. The school brought in individual classes to help and I think this is when it really hit the students the scope of what was going down. These weren’t WalMart bikes or from a secondhand shop, these were top notch mountain bikes with disc brakes, name brand components and front suspension. The kids did not hesitate and were excited to help build up the bikes with close instruction from our bike builders.
Once all twenty-five bikes were built up, our bike builders got to see what they had done by not only building a bike but by lighting a fuse of excitement and freedom in these kids. One after another, students entered the gym grabbed a bike and did what every mountain biker I have ever known has done with a new bike – squeeze the brakes, push down the front suspension and give an approving look to their buddy.
Normally this is when the event is over, we break down the bike boxes, sort out the recycling, get rid of the garbage and leave. Not this time. With the help of Local Motion, Brave Communications, GT Cycles and SRAM, we still had more to give. Once all the classes were in the gym, a prayer was given and everyone got to see the gift of just over $10,000 in bikes, locks and helmets altogether – the building blocks of Exshaw Elementary’s Mountain Bike program. After a few speeches and thank yous the talent portion of the event started – Red Path Talent: two tribal hoop dancers that entertained the kids and adults alike, but also spoke of staying away from the bad demons and leading a lifestyle committed to living a life of adventure, respect, friendship, love, and empowerment. To say this was a good day is truly an understatement and really doesn’t take in the full impact of what the Pinkbike Share The Ride foundation accomplished at this school – not only for the day, but for the future – and every user that donated, built a bike, or helped out in any way should be proud.
Information on the Share The Ride foundation can be found here: www.pinkbike.com/sharetherideA very special thank-you to the following for working together to make this event a success:
Stephen Exley - SE Racing
Kim Brennan - Pinkbike
Outside Bikes and Ski
Exshaw Elementary School
Red Path Talent | www.redpathtalent.com
Plaid Goat Mountain Bike Fest | http://plaidgoat.ca/
Along with all the Pinkbike Users who donated to Share the Ride in 2017
Video: Steve Dunn
Photos: Peter Dyck
Interested in hosting a Share the Ride event in your community? We are always happy to hear from you - please let us know more about yourself HERE
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