Hall of Fame Mountain Biker Brian Lopes Leads ALL STAR Roster of Celebrity Athletes Through Northwest Arkansas, the “Mountain Bike Capital of the World”
All Kids Bike, a nationwide movement of the Strider Education Foundation, is on a mission to teach every child in America how to ride a bicycle in kindergarten PE class. Marking the program’s second anniversary, an ALL STAR roster of celebrity athletes delivered bikes to kindergarten students at Sugar Creek Elementary School in Bentonville, Arkansas, during a week of activities designed to highlight the growing momentum for this important national program.
“The pace for onboarding schools and delivering bikes is picking up exponentially,” said Ryan McFarland, All Kids Bike Founder, who was in attendance all week. “Riding bikes is a wonderful activity for kids, especially this year. It’s naturally distanced, great exercise, fun for the kids, and it gets them off their computer screens.”
As part of the weeklong celebration, Hall of Fame mountain biker Brian Lopes led an ALL STAR group through three days of rides to explore and showcase the extensive trail systems, bike parks, and other attractions around Bentonville. As an All Kids Bike ambassador, Lopes also helped arrange school visits to witness firsthand the program’s impact.
“We were stoked to be back in the land of OZ Trails in Northwest Arkansas for the second consecutive year,” said Brian Lopes. “The Walton Family Foundation, Bike Bentonville and BikeNWA have built a world class cycling destination. This trip was a highlight of the year, especially seeing the kids when we delivered those bikes to Sugar Creek Elementary. The All Kids Bike program is changing kids’ lives. It’s great to see the excitement and the confidence the kids get when they first learn how to ride their new bikes.”
Over the past two years, All Kids Bike has funded 231 schools in 36 states, impacting more than 37,000 students. The program celebrated its second anniversary on November 18 and continues to set up programs in more schools every week across the country. Thanks to donations from individuals, businesses and organizations like the Walton Family Foundation and BikeNWA, All Kids Bike places Kindergarten PE Learn-to-Ride programs into public schools for free.
“The myriad trails and cycling infrastructure that have been developed in recent years have propelled Bentonville and Northwest Arkansas into becoming the new ‘Mountain Bike Capital of the World’,” said Gary Vernon, of the Walton Personal Philanthropy Group. “It’s only natural that we would want to share this treasure with the next generation of local cyclists.”
Grants from the Walton Family Foundation, at the recommendation of Steuart Walton and Tom Walton, supported the ALL STAR week event and All Kids Bike donations to kindergarten students at Sugar Creek Elementary School.
Delivering Bikes to Schools:
Students attending the donation event on Thursday, November 19, were treated to a world class exhibition by professional cyclists Corey Martinez and Mike “Hucker” Clark. Martinez is a three-time NORA Cup Street Rider of the Year, and Clark is a BMX dirt jumper, X Games silver medalist and three-time NORA Cup Jumper of Year.
The donation from All Kids Bike included an eight-lesson Kindergarten PE Learn-To-Ride Curriculum, teacher training and certification, 22 Strider 14x Balance Bikes, helmets, pedal conversion kits and a five-year support plan.
Bike Riding Benefits for Kids:
Childhood development never stops. By continuing to expand the All Kids Bike program this year, more children across the country are learning life skills and getting much needed exercise while getting away from their computer screens and spending more time outdoors.
The Kindergarten PE Program supports critical health and safety needs, including:
Learning to ride a bike at a young age increases confidence while developing balance, mobility, safety, environmental awareness, and facilitating exercise. The bikes used in the All Kids Bike program allow children and teachers to progress through the riding process void of fear and full of encouragement. Kids develop their skills with each session, first learning to balance, then learning to pedal, all on the same bicycle.
“We have a lot of schools on our wait list for funding and for bikes,” McFarland said. “We’re always looking for funding, but what we can raise now – before the end of this year – gives us time to train teachers and order equipment, so programs can be in place for the Spring semester. We can have thousands more kids riding bikes next Summer if we can raise the necessary funds now.”
The All Kids Bike school funding and waiting lists are online at https://support.allkidsbike.org
The ALL STAR Roster of Celebrity Riders Included: