Bike Dojo unveils new program that links kids in need with bikes—and exercise
In 2010 the Outdoor Foundation reported that cycling is the second most popular activity. But while that may not be “news” to the many avid cyclists here in Santa Cruz, another factoid may raise eyebrows and force people to take action: More than 50 percent of children don’t have a bicycle or don’t even know how to ride. The statistics also note that more kids know how to play video and computer games than those who know how to ride a bike.
But not for long.
Rob and Kim Mylls, owners of Bike Dojo in Santa Cruz, a premiere cycling hub that offers spin classes and other cycle-related activities and events, are the masterminds behind a new charity dubbed Project B.I.K.E. (Believe In Kids’ Exercise), which aims to create a grassroots movement to give children without a bicycle, one of their own.
“We really wanted to be able to give back and Rob has a passion for teaching kids to ride bikes, with an emphasis on safety,” says Kim Mylls of the impetus for the idea. “We wanted to see more kids ride bikes and exercise instead of playing just video games, and we also thought it was something that the community could get behind.”
Project B.I.K.E. unfolds in two parts. Locals are encouraged to drop off/donate used bikes that they may have outgrown or no longer use.
“So many people have bikes just sitting there in their garages, so we’re encouraging people to donate those unused bikes to Dojo and we’ll clean them up and make them safe to use. And then we’ll donate them.”
As an added incentive, Bike Dojo will be offering a free month membership as a thank you. Additionally, new members who join the Dojo’s cycling hub will have an opportunity to sponsor a local child with the idea that the Dojo will donate a bike in their name to a child in need.
The official launch of Project B.I.K.E. is Friday Feb. 3 (First Friday) at the Dojo’s first anniversary gathering. But they’ve already been collecting and storing bikes, working closely with its non-profit partner Beach Flats Community Center, a program of Community Bridges, as well as other sponsors: New Leaf Community Markets, Ow Properties, Spokesman Bicycles, Woodstock’s Pizza, By Marisa Catering, and Good Times.
The idea is very “pay it forward” and downright timely, considering the rising obesity rate among kids in America. But it’s just another creative spoke in Dojo’s overall vision, which is: “anyone and everyone can have fun riding and no one is ever left behind.”
Bike Dojo burst onto the local fitness scene a year ago, and has been steadily building up a core group of avid “spinners” and outdoor cyclists. Each week, it offers nearly 30 indoor spin classes. (Thursday nights are a kick—’80s night with trivia and songs from the decade with big hair.) The portal also boasts a Healthy Living Event from 7-8 p.m. every third Wednesday. Additionally, there are outdoor rides led by various instructors and virtual reality bikes/rides and more.
The idea to create a place where cyclists could convene came from Rob Mylls. An avid cyclist and BMX racing champion, Mylls felt that “cycling is a life enhancer and can help build self esteem.” For Project B.I.K.E, he notes that “learning to ride a bike is a rite-of-passage.”
And a healthy one at that.
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