Hall of Fame Mountain Biker Brian Lopes Leads ALL STAR Roster of Celebrity Athletes Through Northwest Arkansas, the “Mountain Bike Capital of the World”
Nov. 19, 2020 – Bentonville, Ark. – 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 Nov. 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, with the Walton Family Foundation. “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, Nov. 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:
- Spatial awareness: Teaches the concept and understanding of “safe distancing” to a child.
- Limited touchpoints: Specifically-designated hand placement limits cross-class touchpoints.
- Fosters overall health: Core muscle development, cardio activity, and mental motivation.
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 waitlist 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:
- Brian Lopes: Named “the best all-around world-class cycling athlete” by USA Today, Lopes is a 19-time Mountain Bike Champion, including four Mountain Bike World Championships, six Mountain Bike World Cup Championships, and nine Mountain Bike National Championships. He is in the Mountain Bike and BMX Hall-of-Fame, and the author of the book, Mastering Mountain Bike Skills.
- Rahsaan Bahati: National Crit champion and with the Bahati Foundation
- Eliot Jackson: U.S. Downhill racer and with the Grow Cycling Foundation
- Colton Haaker: Multi-time enduro cross champion and X Games medalist
- Corey Martinez: Three-time NORA Cup Street Rider of the Year and X Games gold medalist
- Mike “Hucker” Clark: BMX dirt jumper, X Games silver medalist, and three-time NORA Cup Jumper of Year
- Nick Troutman: World champion freestyle kayaker
- Kialani Hines: Professional mountain biker and second overall in the hunt for ‘Queen of Crankworx’
- Austin “Bubba” Warren: Downhill, dual slalom, and enduro MTB rider
About All Kids Bike
All Kids Bike is a national movement led by the nonprofit Strider Education Foundation to place Kindergarten PE Learn-To-Ride Programs into public schools for free using donations from individuals, businesses, and organizations. One of the key goals of the organization is to make riding a bicycle the fourth “R” of elementary education along with reading, writing, and arithmetic. The ability to ride improves a life greatly while developing balance, mobility, safety, environmental awareness, and facilitating exercise. It instills confidence in the classroom, home, and community. As of Oct. 31, 2020, the All Kids Bike Kindergarten PE Program is running in 231 schools in 36 states, impacting 37,676 students this year.
About Walton Family Foundation, at the direction of Steuart Walton and Tom Walton
The Walton Family Foundation is, at its core, a family-led foundation. Three generations of the descendants of our founders, Sam and Helen Walton, and their spouses work together to lead the foundation and create access to opportunity for people and communities. We work in three areas: improving K-12 education, protecting rivers and oceans and the communities they support, and investing in our home region of Northwest Arkansas and the Arkansas-Mississippi Delta. In 2019, the foundation awarded more than $525 million in grants in support of these initiatives.
Bike Bentonville & Visit Bentonville
Bike Bentonville is part of Visit Bentonville, which is funded by the Bentonville Advertising and Promotion Commission which was established in 1996. The Commission is supported by a 2 percent tax on lodging and meeting space and a 1 percent tax on restaurant and dining establishments. The organization’s mission is to brand, promote, and sell Bentonville as a tourism destination, stimulating economic development. Visit Bentonville leads the planning of sports, meetings, and group tours while also marketing leisure experiences that include arts, cycling, culinary, film, music, and aviation. Visit Bentonville also collaborates with tourism offices throughout the state of Arkansas to create a positive economic impact while increasing tourism amenities for both visitors and residents.
Founded in 1999, BikeNWA is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit working to create a more active transportation friendly community by advocating for safe, connected bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure; supporting programs and events that foster a thriving, fun cycling culture; and ensuring that diverse constituencies have a voice in the development of new policies and infrastructure.