Inspiring Kids to Ride Bicycles and Read Books

On day 2 of Interbike in Las Vegas, we were invited to share in the Ride for Reading Book Delivery.  Hundreds of books had been donated for this very special and heartwarming ride to Peterson Elementary School.  We were honored. The heart and soul of this magnificent non-profit Matthew Portell, along with the ladies of MAGIC 6 elite Jet Cycling Team, were on hand to welcome all the rides for the 9am start.

Pivot and BH Cycles were at our service, providing bicycles to those of us who did not have one. I was able to ride a BH Speedrom,  I’m always happy to hop on something new and welcomed the opportunity.

Portell, founder and director of Ride for Reading made a few announcements to the crowd, including safety notes, route information and a few words on what to expect when we arrived at the school.  Books were packed in bags and trailers and we were soon on our way.

I recognized some of the folks from Cross Vegas, so we were chatty, enjoying an unusually cool morning in Vegas.

The ride wasn’t far but we thoroughly enjoyed the police-escorted, 1 mile cruise to the school.  When we turned the last corner, we were greeted by happy kids cheering and high-fiving us as we entered the parking lot. The experience was so touching it gave me goosebumps.

After we dismounted our bikes, Mathew got on the mic again.  It was an inspiration to listen to him talk.  As a teacher he a very special way with the kids. He asked the kids, “how many of you ride bikes?” He proceeded to tell them to always wear their helmet when they ride.
Matthew also made a point with the kids to “never throw away books!”, but to always donate them, so someone else can enjoy them too!
We then went into the school to arrange all of the books so the kids were able to view and select a book that interested them. In my bag, I noticed I grabbed a Charles Schulz book… Snoopy: Flying Ace to the Rescue. I loved anything Snoopy growing up, I was touched that this book brought me back to my childhood.
The Jet Cycling Team was there assisting and inspiring the kids.  Excellent role models, the Jet Cycling Team not only trains and races bikes but keeps a straight A average in school.
I was honored to participate in this event, it made for an amazing way to start the day!
Please take the time to get to know Ride for Reading and get involved.  Participating in one bike delivery will win you over for eternity.  This is an amazing opportunity to make a great impact on a young person’s life right in your own neighborhood.
Ride for Reading has a very straightforward goal…
Ride For Reading’s mission is to promote literacy and healthy living through the distribution of books via bicycle to children from low-income neighborhoods. In low-income neighborhoods, the ratio of books per child is 1 age-appropriate book for every 300 children. *Reading is an integral part of education, and without books it is hard to build a strong academic base. Our children need materials to read at home and it is our goal to provide the means.
Special thanks to Swiftwick socks and everyone that shared this brilliant day with us!
Article and Pictures by Carrie Dittmer of Golden, Colorado