#LongForTheRide May Winner
During the month of May some very inspiring entries crossed our desk. It never ceases to amaze us how committed the cycling community is creating incredible places to ride.
This month's winner is 13-year-old Nikolas from Lakewood, California. Born with bilateral clubfeet this determined junior cyclist's first word was "bike".
Read on for Nikolas' inspiring story:
"I was born in 2002 with bilateral club feet and the first 6 months of my life I spent wearing cast or braces on my legs. I had two surgeries to release the Achilles tendon on both my legs before the age of one. I was unable to walk until the age of two and when I turned three I learned to RIDE.
My dad raced road bikes and took me and my mom to all the races and many training rides. My first word was, "BIKE." So my parents knew cycling was going to be in my future. At the age of three I won my first bike race at the Manhattan Beach Grand Prix. After that race I always wanted to be on my bike. I watched television and ate on my bike. During the week my mom would go for runs and she would have me pace her while I rode alongside her. It drove her crazy when I would slam on my brakes to pick the dandelions on the side of the road.
It was always hard for me to walk and stand for a long period of time, but I could ride my bike all day and never be in pain. However, riding became difficult when my parents and I moved to Northern Colorado. It snowed most of the year and since walking and running was not a possibility I became a couch potato, and to make matters worse my clubfoot started to relapse. So when I turned five I had a full tendon transfer on both feet followed by three months of being in a cast from my thighs to my toes. Soon after learning how to walk again my family and I moved to sunny Arizona and I was back on my bike.
A couple of years later we moved back to California and I started riding on the velodrome in Carson, CA. Along the way I started to race as a junior. I've been in a couple of crashes breaking my arms, and staples on my head. However, nothing can keep my off my bike. The freedom and confidence it gives me is unexplainable. It's a feeling I hope other kids will one day be able to experience. For that reason I am a board member for Kinetic Loop Training System Junior cycling Foundation. I hope to inspire other kids with and without disabilities to discover that anything is possible.
I'm on my way to USA Cycling Amateur Road Nationals to compete with our nation's best junior cyclists. Wish me luck!"
Nikolas takes 3rd while teammate Erik takes 1st in a Juniors race this summer.
Nikolas selected the Kinetic Loop Training System Junior Cycling Foundation as the recipient of this months #LongForTheRide winnings. When we contacted the organization we caught up with their director, Michael Lovegren.
"My wife and I started this foundation to help pave the way for our children to get involved in the community. We see how a bike can build confidence and motivate a child to strive for greatness. The bike gives a sense of freedom to a child and the ability to challenge and breakthrough their own barriers. Our mission is to give children the knowledge and tools to get involved in the sport of cycling. We provide weekly training and skill building techniques to children of all levels of experience. This year with the help Saris Cycling Group we are sending 4 juniors to USA Cycling Junior Nationals in Lake Tahoe, Ca. Thank you Saris for supporting our mission."
We've still got $4,000 to give away. Let's help support a local bike advocacy group. All you need to do is send us your story today.