by Emily Furia
Whether they’re donating proceeds, product or time, members of the bicycle industry are making the world better, on and off the bike. Here are just a few of the ways bike businesses can transform their communities.
Go to School
Santa Cruz, California-based Project Bike Tech also brings bike know-how into the classroom. With the help of sponsors including Bell, Giant, Park Tool, Quality Bicycle Products, Shimano, Santa Cruz and Fox Racing Shox, the program uses the bicycle to teach math, geometry, physics, history and city planning, while giving students the skills to pursue a career as a bicycle mechanic (a field that is expected to grow 29.3 percent by 2026, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics).
In 2012, Specialized Bicycles partnered with RTSG Neuroscience Consultants to find out whether riding bikes could be an effective therapy for kids with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). They found that kids who rode 30 minutes before school, five days a week, experienced improved moods, longer attention spans and increased fitness — and the benefits kicked in after just one ride. Today, Specialized Foundation Riding for Focus grants help schools integrate bike riding into their phys-ed classes by providing program curriculum, a fleet of bikes, a starter maintenance kit and helmets. The program supports 20,000 students, across 77 schools, in 30 states, and the foundation continues to sponsor research on cycling and its ability to reduce symptoms of ADHD.
The National Interscholastic Cycling Association turns 10 in 2019, and longtime supporter Trek Bicycles recently announced that it will donate $10 from the sale of each full-suspension mountain bike to the program; it was already donating $1 per mountain bike tire sold. Many retailers are matching the donations.
As the Official Bike Tech Sponsor of the AIDS Lifecycle ride, Cannondale provides mechanical support at rest stops and in camp to 2,000 riders making the seven-day, 545-mile journey from San Francisco to Los Angeles.
Quality Bicycle Products pays employees for up to 12 hours of volunteer work each year and donates $10 to non-profit organizations for each hour employees volunteer on their own time.
As part of its sponsorship of the 2018 Battlefield Bike Ride, which raises money for mental health programs and services for veterans, first responders, and their families across Canada, Cervélo donated 10 C5 framesets with a special Wounded Warriors Canada paint job.
Cannondale raised $11,050.00 for the Alkek Velodrome in Houston by auctioning a 2018 SuperSix EVO ridden by 2018 Tour de France lanterne rouge Lawson Craddock. The EF Education First–Drapac rider finished the race despite suffering a broken scapula in Stage 1.
Twenty percent of the proceeds from Timbuk2’s Limited Edition Pride Messenger Bag will go to the San Francisco LGBT Center.
Bike companies were quick to step up to help areas affected by the 2017 California wildfires.
Giant donated 300 bicycles to residents of Sonoma and Napa counties who’d lost their bikes in the fires. Performance Bicycle staffers in Santa Rosa, California, volunteered their time to build 310 Fuji and SE Racing kids’ bikes donated by Guy Fieri and Rachael Ray. Faraday vowed to replace 100 trees for every bike sold, and ran a crowdfunding campaign for the nonprofit OneTreePlanted that raised $2,330.
Commit to Sustainability
In March, GU Energy Labs announced that its Berkeley, California, headquarters is now 95 percent solar powered. A few months later, cycling shoe and apparel maker Pearl Izumi revealed that it plans for 30 percent of its product line to be made from recycled, renewable, or organic materials by 2020—and 90 percent by 2022.
Other companies, such as Alchemy Goods in Seattle, built their businesses around repurposed materials; Alchemy’s bags and accessories give new life to discarded bicycle inner tubes and advertising banners. (You can send your old tubes to Alchemy by dropping them off at your local REI store.