National Center for Safe Routes to School and Schwinn’s Helmets on Heads Mini-Grants Program

safe_routes_to_schools_logoThe National Center for Safe Routes to School and Schwinn’s Helmets on Heads program are teaming up to provide 25 $1,000 mini-grants to 25 schools across the country.  These mini-grants support a common goal of both organizations: to support educators, communities and families in encouraging children to safely bike to school.

“Communities across the country continue to be creative and successful in finding ways to make it safer for children to bicycle to school,” says Lauren Marchetti, Director of the National Center.  “We want to use these mini-grants to help support schools in their efforts to cultivate a culture of safe bicycling and helmet use for students.”

Applications are now being accepted for mini-grant activities planned for the second half of the 2014-2015 school year. These funds can be used to fund activities ranging from the nuts and bolts to help start or sustain bicycling programs, to new, inspiring ideas that explore the range of benefits of safe bicycling.  Selected mini-grant proposals will fit a school’s needs and interests around safe bicycling and helmet safety education, and will require that correct helmet use be a mandatory component of any program. Recipients are also asked to share the Helmets on Heads pledge with students or youth involved in their program.

Helmets-on-heads-blog“Schwinn, through the Helmets on Heads initiative, is excited to team up with the National Center to offer support to schools throughout the U.S.,” says Milissa Rick, Global Director of Consumer Activation, Pacific Cycle. “These grants will aid local communities in educating children and parents about the importance of wearing a helmet each and every time they ride a bicycle. And we think that this kind of local level education is one of the best ways to help instill good cycling habits.”

Mini-grant applications are due Wednesday, October 22, 2014, and award winners will be announced in December. The mini-grant activities should occur between January 1, 2015, and the end of the Spring 2015 semester.

Download the application or apply online.

For More Information Contact:

Colleen Vasu

Communications Manager, Safe Routes to School Programs

vasu@hsrc.unc.edu

(919) 962-7769

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A Safe Summer with John Wayne Cancer Foundation

Looking for something fun to do with the kids this summer? Schwinn and the John Wayne Cancer Foundation Block the Blaze skin cancer education program have teamed up to host an exciting video contest. The contest makes learning about skin cancer prevention and self screening simple, easy and fun!John Wayne

Entering is easy!

Anyone age 9 (as of June 1st) and older can submit a 15 second video with sun safe tips for preventing skin cancer and up to 10 winners will receive a Schwinn Cruiser bike! Plus the top 10 ranked video submissions will be posted on John Wayne Cancer Foundation’s social channels and website. Talk about 15 seconds of fame!

Videos can be submitted until August 24th so start brainstorming now! Entries will be accepted on YouTube, Instagram and can be submitted here: http://bit.ly/SunSafe4Schwinn

Both Schwinn through its nonprofit foundation Helmet on Heads and John Wayne Cancer Foundation are committed to educate the public about staying safe while having fun outdoors. Safe habits are best learned when young and can be contagious when the youth get behind it. After all who better to communicate the importance of a healthy lifestyle to kids than kids themselves!

Need a bit of inspiration to get started? Think of the 5 sun safe tips: sunscreen, hat, sunglasses, cover with clothing and seek shade. Check out this video below that several junior lifeguards put together to remind people to say #sunsafe4schwinn this summer and every summer!

Learn 2 Ride: A ‘Push’ in the Right Direction

8Since working for a bike company I have begun to feel like I have a responsibility to encourage more people to get on bikes and enjoy riding. I also like to volunteer when I can, so with these interests in mind I signed up to be a volunteer at the annual Madison Recreation Learn 2 Ride event. This year Schwinn’s Helmets on Heads was a sponsor of the event so it was a great chance for me to see how kids in such a great bike town like Madison can learn to ride.

As I rode my bike to the event I reflected on my experience learning to ride a bike. I remembered the hand-me-down Schwinn that rattled with noisy training wheels and the inner frustration of seeing friends and siblings pedaling off while I was still wobbling behind them. Eventually I was able to master what seemed then unachievable and the open bike ride became mine.

It was a huge relief when my son didn’t have to learn the same way I had. When he was 4 one of the neighborhood kids about the same age had already learned to ride without training wheels. My son was immediately interested and our neighbors let him borrow the special training bike that their child had learned on. It was a balance bike or sometimes called a “strider bike” it had a small wheel size and no pedals or crank arms. My son spent the next two weeks gliding up and down the sidewalk sitting on the bike and pushing with his feet. Soon he could steer and balance the bike without his feet touching the ground for long lengths and then he was ready for his own bike with pedals. Amazing! What took me years took him only a few days! It was fantastic that he easily learned without the frustration I had remembered as a child.

When I arrived at the event I donned my volunteer t-shirt and then got my instructions. Everyone that volunteered was sourced from various groups around the city that had bike, helmet fitting, or bike mechanic experience. Cristine, the leader, reminded us that we were not just there to work, but we were also there to be positive and give encouragement to the kids in the form of high fives. The bright green volunteers’ shirt even said “I like high fives and I cannot lie”.

2Soon students and parents arrived for the class. Each of the parents had been asked to prep the child’s bike for the class by removing the training wheels and pedals from the student’s bike and lowering the seat on the bike so the child could put their feet flat on the ground while sitting on the seat. After the bikes were ready to go the students were each asked to sign the Helmets on Heads pledge; that they would wear their helmets each time they road their bike. Then they were treated to a helmet fitting and free helmet courtesy of Helmets on Heads.

10Helmet fitting was my station, so for the first part of the class we were very busy. Each student was shown the proper way to wear a helmet, how to adjust it for the right, secure fit. Many parents were unaware that the front brim of the helmet should be no more than two fingers (the child’s fingers) above the brow line. Only in this position is the helmet ready to do its job. When most bike crashes happen the rider falls to the front or the side so without the helmet in the correct position the front part of the head is unprotected and the helmet can’t function as it was designed. With the helmets fitted and in place and their bikes ready, the students were ready to hit the bike courses.

After finishing with my station I went out to the courses to see how the students were doing. Just as Christina had said there were some children that were easily getting the feel for gliding and balancing and others that looks like they would struggle for a while. In some cases you could tell by looking at the faces and body language of the student and parent that the child had been trying to learn for a long time and that this was almost a one last-ditch effort. What was clear was that no matter what brought the students and parents to the class that day each was there to face the problem head on. There was a real sense of purpose in the air.

The idea of the balance bike approach to learning is really not that new. Later, when I had time for a Google search, I learned that the idea of a balance bike was first invented by Karl Drais, a German inventor, in 1817, and was the first form of the two wheel bike we know today. The proponents of this method claim that children learn to ride faster since they first learn to balance and counter steer and then worry about pedaling later. This was the case with my son, and I was growing more convinced that it could work for others too.

Little by little as the class progressed around the bike course the length of the glides got bigger and bigger. As each student went by we encouraged them to lift their feet up a little bit more; glide just a little bit more. Some students were taking to it right away, in fact one that initially struggled when their parent was running next to them was now having success gliding and was already back at the mechanics station to get their pedals back on. Still there were some others that needed to continue with the push, push, glide, push, push, glide, technique.

One of the staff members working with a student who was getting very frustrated suggested that maybe they needed to take a 10 minute break. Looking defeated, the student headed over to a nearby curb to rest under one of the trees for a while. This gave me an opportunity to chat with the student and parent.

The parent was very appreciative of the event and said they felt they already made some great progress that day. They mentioned what a positive learning environment and relief it was to see so many other children of similar age that needed to learn to ride too. A class like this was very encouraging especially to older children that didn’t learn to ride as fast as their friends. I thought about my learning story and could see what she meant. Sometimes struggling to learn something means you feel like you are alone, struggling by yourself, and just knowing that others share your plight can be very encouraging in itself. The parent also mentioned that having other adults be the learning coach instead of the parent was also a nice change of pace. I could see her point; there was less pressure here and lots of high-fiving friendly faces. After the short break her son started making amazing progress with his gliding.

1Little by little students were growing more confident in balancing with each rotation around the course. It became clear that the reasons that a student would struggle were as varied as the students themselves. The variations of the apparent mental barriers ran the gamut; boy, girl, short, tall, older, younger, parents, no parents, athleticism, shy, fear of falling, fear of pedaling; each symptom started to erode away with each glide. Whatever the past inhibitor was, today they started to crumble and disintegrate as frustrated grimaces gave way to wide grins.

As successful gliding students got their pedals back they would come back to the course and do more laps as they got acquainted with pedaling, turning and braking. By the end of the day as students morphed into two wheeled riders the volunteers were ready to high five the world’s newest bike riders.

As an observer it was fantastic to see one of childhood’s most remembered moments and lifelong skills learned right before my eyes. It was an honor to help the students and parents conquer their learning demons. Witnessing the parents’ emotional responses felt a little like the magic of watching an infant taking their first steps.

6I would love to say that everyone that day left on two wheels, but there were still some that would need some more time and practice that the class time couldn’t allow. But those students were given a solid skill base that would have them riding when they were ready and an opportunity to come back to a future class if needed. For the many kids that did find success, they were given something priceless; the chance to feel the freedom of riding a bike. There is nothing else like it. I didn’t have to ask afterwards if the students enjoyed the class, the proud smiles on their faces said it all. I pedaled home feeling like I had done something good for the world.

Get Out and Ride!

-Katie

Check out the video from last year’s event below!

Biking for a Cause: Tour de Habitat (for Humanity)

Last weekend Aric and I headed over to Henry Villas Zoo in Madison, Wisconsin, to give a little Schwinn love to some local altruistic bicyclist and to one of my personal favorite non-profit organizations, Habitat for Humanity, University of Wisconsin-Madison Chapter.

This year marked the fourth year that Habitat for Humanity, UW-Madison held its annual Tour de Habitat, a friendly bicycle race that aids the student organization in their mission to help build safe, decent, affordable housing for all Dane County residents. A noble pursuit that undoubtedly helps to build character along with houses.

To learn more about the Habitat for Humanity-UW Madison Chapter (H4H-UW), we talked to three members of their board of directors; Vice President, Mike; Strategic Communication Director, Kelsey; Secretary, Nicola; and 2013 past President Sam.

Schwinn: Can you tell us a bit more about Habitat for Humanity UW-Madison Chapter? 

Sam: Our Chapter started in 1993 with two guys who wanted to make Habitat for Humanity a student organization, which would take time to help build homes with Dane County’s Chapter. However, soon the students created a goal to build their first home, and in 2000 they were able to do just that; since then we have been building one home each year with just student volunteers!

Habitat for HumanityKelsey: Currently we work as an affiliate of Dane County Habitat for Humanity. This year we were able to build our fourteenth house for a family in need around the Dane County area. We are working toward being able to build a house independently as a Chapter without the funds from Dane County. While they are wonderful affiliates who have helped us endlessly, it would be really rewarding to be able to say we built a house as a Chapter without any help.

Our board of directors is made up of all UW-Madison students. It’s a group of students who want to go above and beyond the opportunities provided to them in the academic setting at the UW. It really is wonderful to be surrounded by a group of people who want to help others and put a lot of their free time into doing so.

How many years has Habitat been doing Tour de Habitat? Can you explain more about the event?

edit1Kelsey: This is the fourth year we have done Tour de Habitat. We have two separate courses each year, a 12-mile ride and a 25-mile ride. It’s a great non-competitive bike course to take your family around on a nice Spring day! The courses go through the UW Arboretum, the UW campus and Lake Monona. There really isn’t a comparable view to what participants get when doing Tour de Habitat.

Schwinn: Mike, the T-shirt designs are really unique, and one reason I know a lot of students want to participate. Can you explain this year’s T-shirt design?

Mike: Last year the shirt was a play off of the Fat Bottom girls Queen album cover with a Badger in pink undies (see post cover image). This year my motivation for the design was to figure out a way to incorporate our goal, which is to build affordable housing with the means we received from the fundraiser, Tour de Habitat. The house is being carried in the water bottle holder of this bike, which is almost symbolic of what this fundraiser does.motobecaneSchwinn: Where does all the money raised at Tour go?

Nicola: The money raised for Tour goes towards our sponsorship of this year’s Habitat house. Every year we pledge a certain amount of money to Dane County in order for us to be able to sponsor a house and build at the site once a week.

Schwinn: How can people find out more information about this event and other events hosted by H4H-UW?

Nicola: If you are interested in learning more about what the Habitat for Humanity –UW Madison Chapter does, and the events/fundraisers that we host you can subscribe to our email list, join-uwh4hminutes@lists.wisc.edu. Emails are sent out once a week during the academic school year. You can also visit our website. Finally, if you “like” our Facebook page, we will keep you up to date about upcoming events; you can like our page at https://www.facebook.com/HabitatUW?ref=hl!

Schwinn: Can you tell us more about the family Habitat for Humanity UW-Madison Chapter supported this year?

Mike: Last year a student made this PSA about our chapter and about the family we worked with this year. It does a great job describing that relationship and how all our work accumulates into this one goal.

Schwin: Many people get confused about how Habitat works; can you describe how a family obtains their home? Who pays for it, builds it, etc?

Nicola: Habitat homes are built by volunteer labor and donations. In order to become a homeowner there is a lengthy application process. Homeowners invest hundreds of hours of their own labor into building their Habitat house and houses of others. Houses are sold to families at no profit and financed with affordable loans. The homeowner’s monthly mortgage payments are used to build more Habitat houses.

Sam: A lot of people think that Habitat for Humanity just hands out homes, but really the home owners do so much. We call their labor sweat equity, plus in the end they have to pay their mortgage. So really Habitat for Humanity is providing that stepping stone and a chance for a family to own a home when in many cases that seemed impossible! It’s a hand up; not a hand out.

Schwinn: How can people of Madison and other communities get involved with Habitat?

1229962_10151919759745159_801291330_nKelsey: There are so many ways for people to get involved with Habitat. Students can join our organization or others similar to it at campuses across the country. Many communities have a group called Habitat Young Professionals, which is for people who are in their first few years out of college. Then, of course, there are affiliates all around the country similar to Dane County. People can join these groups or they can simply volunteer their time at an event. We are always looking for more volunteers!

Sam: Dane County has already helped over 200 families since they were founded in 1987. To be able to say you were a part of that in college or in any other time of your life is truly a rewarding experience!

Thank you to Habitat for Humanity-UW Madison Chapter for letting us be a part of Tour de Habitat this year! We can’t wait to see how this event grows in years to come.

Get out and Ride,

Samantha

National Bike to School Day, 2014

Many people are aware of May Bike Month and Bike to Work Day, but you may be less familiar with National Bike to School Day, which happens a week earlier.

Washington, D.C.

Washington, D.C.

National Bike to School Day, which is coordinated each year by the National Center for Safe Routes to School, provides an opportunity for schools, communities, children, and parents to test out the idea of kids riding their bikes to school. It is a great way for everyone to experience the benefits that bicycling can bring while also providing an excellent opportunity to encourage bicycle safety.

This year Schwinn under our non-profit initiative, Helmets on Heads, was able to act both locally and nationally to help support National Bike to School Day.

Final Waunakee

Students at Waunakee

Locally, my colleague Steve and I attended the Bike to School event held at Waunakee Intermediate School. We came armed with stickers, a giant banner for the students to sign, and helmet education in order to spread the word about helmet safety. Over 200 students biked to school that day, and I am pretty sure they nearly ran out of places to put all those bikes. The PE teacher, Jason, said the kids could hardly contain their joy and that “the buzz all day was about how cool it was”. We had a lot of fun too! Too see all the pictures from the Waunakee event head over to the Helmets on Heads website: here.

Nationally, Helmets on Heads went straight to Capitol Hill, in Washington D.C. with the National Center for Safe Routes to School. Here, Safe Routes celebrated with a sendoff of more than 200 students from a dozen Washington, D.C. schools. At the event students were able to come together to celebrate biking by getting fitted for helmets, signing the Helmets on Heads pledge, collecting stickers, and biking together to school in organized bike trains.

DSC_0112

Victor Mendez, Acting Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation

“The number of communities and families coming together to promote safe bicycling to school is inspiring,” said Lauren Marchetti, Director of the National Center for Safe Routes to School, which coordinates National Bike to School Day. “We are thrilled to see the support and excitement for this event continuing to grow.”

More than 2,100 schools have registered so far to host a Bike to School Day event this year, already surpassing last year’s event numbers by over 400.

But we didn’t stop there!

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Lilly at Toys R Us

Schwinn wanted every kid to have the chance to be part of something bigger, so we partnered with Toys “R” Us and created an awareness in-store event. A Helmets on Heads pledge banner was the center piece. A total of 596 participating Toys “R” Us stores across the US invited kids to sign the pledge to wear their helmets every time they ride.

Schwinn offers bikes for the whole family at Toys “R” Us and realizes how essential it is to educate all riders on the importance of biking safely, and the importance of wearing a helmet each and every time they get on a bike. These pledge banners were the same ones that were brought to D.C. and Waunakee; they really helped kids see and feel like they were a part of larger cause which their peers also support!

Have you signed the pledge yet? Help us reach our goal of reaching 15,000 pledges by signing online at http://www.helmetsonheads.org/pledge/

Get Out and Ride! (but wear your helmet!)

-Samantha

Schwinn Gets Collegiate With AATS

Schwinn’s Helmet on Heads initiative went to the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Lake Street Bash for the students’ All Campus Week. There was free food, music, games, and lots of students enjoying the great weather. We were there partnering with the Association of Athletic Training Students(AATS), a UW-Madison campus organization for students who are pursuing a career in athletic training and got to hand out helmets to student who correctly answered questions about helmet safety.

The following is an interview we had with the co-president of AATS, Kevin Biese, a graduating senior at UW-Madison who is majoring in athletic training.

Schwinn: Kevin, can you tell us what AATS is and what sort of things the organization does on campus?

IMG_20140425_183716_085Kevin: AATS is the Association of Athletic Training Students and we participate in many activities in the community and on campus. We are a student organization that focuses on educating students and the community on health topics like concussions. Last year, we were asked to give a concussion presentation to all of UW-Madison’s sports club presidents and board members. We have also participated in events like the Science Day held at the Wisconsin Institute of Discovery, Porchlight Donations, Alzheimer’s Prevention Research Day at the Wisconsin Institute of Discovery, high school sports medicine classes and blood drives at the Union South.

And of course, the past two semesters we have given away 125 helmets to UW-Madison students thanks to Schwinn at the RecSports Expo and Wisconsin Alumni Student Board’s (WASB) Lake Street Bash!

Schwinn: Why did AATS decide to include a Helmet Advocacy Program into their student organization objectives?

Kevin: Brain safety has been a main focus of AATS for the past two years. Concussions and other brain injuries are a hot topic in health care right now and it is especially a hot topic for athletic trainers. As student athletic trainers, we have the privilege of having clinical rotations with UW-Athletics and learning from their amazing head athletic trainers. The head athletic trainers  take care of every aspect of the student athlete’s health; this even includes moped and bicycle safety. There are many athletic trainers and coaches that require student athletes to wear helmets while riding mopeds and bicycles to keep them safe. Learning from these experiences, we as student athletic trainers thought it would be a great idea to promote helmet safety to the students of UW-Madison especially because there are many students that use bicycles every day for their mode of transportation.

Schwinn: Why is helmet safety personally important to you?

Kevin: My dad is a huge cyclist, he bikes to work all year round and he instilled his love for biking in me. I bike everywhere on campus, and I joined a national organization four years ago where we raise money by biking 1,000+ miles across the country (usually from the South like Louisiana to the North like Chicago).  I bike so much that I know I need to wear a helmet because it only takes one mistake to fall off my bike and hit my head.

Schwinn: What do you think prevents college students from wearing helmets and how can we change that?

Kevin: Unfortunately for most I think it is a mindset. Most students don’t bike very long or far to class so they don’t think they need to wear a helmet. Also, I know a lot of students don’t like bringing their helmet into the classroom or stuffing it in their backpack. Hint for that: lock it up with your bike by putting the lock through the ear section of the helmet, that’s what I do. Finally, I have heard students say that helmets are too expensive, and they don’t have the money or don’t want to spend the money for a helmet.  Honestly, that is one of the main reasons AATS started this helmet advocacy program. If you get a free helmet, money isn’t an issue!

Students Shruta and Annika

Schwinn: Any interesting stories from the event?

Kevin: As we were unpacking the helmets from my van, a student walked up and asked what all of the helmets were for. We told her we were giving them away at a booth at the Lake Street Bash. She got all excited and said she would visit our booth to try and win one. She was one of the first people at our booth and she ended up winning a helmet. She wasn’t the only one, we had a lot of students show up and take pictures of themselves wearing the helmets with their friends. It was really cool to see students get excited about bike helmets.

Schwinn: What does AATS have planned for the future of their Helmet Advocacy Program?

Kevin: The sky is the limit! We have a very dedicated group of students and I am very excited about our up and coming leaders that will take over after I graduate. Personally, I would love to have an event to start the school year in Fall and to end the school year in Spring. We have been very fortunate enough to be able to do that so far. I would not only like to give away free helmets but to also give away coupons to as many students as possible for discounted helmets. My vision is to put a helmet on every UW-Madison student who bikes around campus!

Schwinn: Thank you to Kevin, Claire, and all the AATS members who let us hang out with them at the Lake Street Bash this year!

Get out and Ride!

Samantha

Biking for a Cause: Sundance Schwinn Auctioned for MS

929036_620498514652251_1898292257_nAt this year’s Sundance Festival Schwinn partnered to host an interview suite with Beyond Cinema Magazine at the magazine’s interview studio. While there, Schwinn collected celebrity autographs on a 2014 Schwinn Hollywood Cruiser from stars of the silver screen, including Elijah Wood, Maggie Gyllenhaal, and 38 other celebrities. (To see a complete list click  here).  This bike is now being auctioned on eBay which runs until Saturday, May 10. The minimum bid starts at $800 and the Buy It Now price is $4,000; all proceeds will go to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a potentially debilitating disease in which nerve cells in the brain and spinal cords are damaged, disrupting the flow of information between the brain and body. This damage can cause a wide array of physical, mental, and psychiatric problems which lead to unpredictable and variable symptoms in those affected with this disease. More than 2.3 million people are affected by MS worldwide, but due to the unreported new cases and invisible symptoms, the National Multiple Sclerosis Society believes that this number can only serve as an estimate of the true amount of people affected. The cause of MS is still unknown and there currently is no cure. According to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society website, they are committed to mobilizing people and resources to drive research for a cure and to address the challenges of everyone affected by MS.

1526779_655180924541447_651072624_nTo learn more about MS and how you can help the National Multiple Sclerosis Society in their mission, visit their website here.

To check out and bid on the Schwinn Hollywood follow this link!

Get Out and Ride!

-Samantha

Go Hug a Tree: Earth Day 2014

Hug a Tree

Happy Earth Day!

This past week the website NerdWallet decided to examine 95 U.S. cities and rank them in order of how “green” they were based on environmental quality and transportation. Madison, WI, also the site of Schwinn’s Headquarters, pulled off the #1 position, and with more bikes than cars in the city, it is easy to see why!

green 3I personally own two bikes, do not have a car, and find Madison to be perfectly accessible. With over 200 miles of well labeled trails there are very few places you cannot reach by bike, and the getting there part is often just as beautiful as it is convenient. Madison has a large number of parks, lakes, and foliage that simply makes any trail or bike path uniquely lovely. One day you can be looping around Lake Monona and the next day you can ride through the shaded tree lined path of the Arboretum. Interconnected trails often mean that if you have the stamina you could even do both without ever leaving a designated bike path or trail.

The community in Madison is dedicated to continue to make there green city a continuing theme.  The City of Madison is constantly adding to and creating new trails and correcting and improving problems with existing infrastructure. The city is also working on finding ways in order to further bicycle safety and education for the community members. Many advocacy programs in the city, including the Schwinn initiative, Helmets on Heads dedicates time, helmets, bicycles, and other resources to further this cause and improve the biking experience for all local cyclist.

One thing is for sure, in Madison, WI, many people will be celebrating this Earth Day in true Sconnie fashion, with a bike ride.

For a list of scenic bicycle and hiking trail in the Madison Area; check out: http://www.visitmadison.com/things-to-do/sports/biking-hiking/

Get out and Ride,

Samantha

Biking for a Cause: FDNY Ride for the Trident House

1546378_573018652783829_1853533443_nIt has been almost thirteen years since the attack of 9/11 yet the memories of those who were lost are still vivid in our minds and hearts. It is hard to find someone who doesn’t know where they were or what they were doing when the news first broke and it’s even harder to try and find someone who wasn’t affected in some way, directly or indirectly, that Tuesday or in the days and years to follow.

On March 19th, 2014 six of New York City Fire Department’s Bravest will take part in The FDNY Ride for the Trident House. The bike route will begin at the World Trade Center Memorial in New York and end 1,200 miles away at the National Navy UDT SEAL museum in Florida. This bike ride was organized in an effort to raise awareness for the Navy SEAL Trident House and also to recognize the SEAL and military members who have been lost. The soldiers have sacrificed so much since September 11th in order to protect our way of life here in the United States. The firefighters of New York have a very real first-hand knowledge of the pain that comes from losing a fellow firefighter, and the resulting grief and hardships that the families of those men and women have to face.

FiremenThe Trident house offers a support system and a place for families of lost SEALs to go to help them cope with their loss. The house, which is a fully equipped residence with an outdoor swimming pool, covered patio, and dock also serves as a respite for Navy SEALs and their families who are injured or battle-fatigued. The Trident House is a house dedicated to the families of those soldiers who make the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty and offers those families a place to stay free of charge while they visit the nearby SEAL memorial to honor their loved one.

The firefighters’ journey will take 18 days to complete. They will be riding a set of 6 Schwinn Fastbacks that Schwinn has donated to the cause. Along the way they will stop at the Pentagon in order to pay their respects to all those who were lost on September 11. They also will make several stops at firehouses and towns along the East Coast in order to raise awareness for the Trident House and raise money through the sales of Ride for the Trident House t-shirts.

FDNY-Logo-300x244Perhaps, it is even more impressive that the firefighters will be delivering a 14ft steel “I-Beam” which was recovered from the rubble at Ground Zero. The steel beam will be presented at Fort Pierce, Florida, at the National Navy UDT SEAL for inclusion in their Memorial in honor and remembrance of Navy SEALs and Frogmen who have died in the line of duty.

SchwinnRed will be following these men and sharing insights and information with you as they make their cycling journey from New York to Florida.

To find out more about the Ride for the Trident House visit their Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/fdnytridentride

Get out and ride!

Samantha

Getting RAK’ed with Schwinn: Winter 2014

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This past Sunday was the last day of the National Random Acts of Kindness Week and to celebrate, Schwinn decided to do a few random acts of kindness ourselves.

Equipped with a backpack completely stuffed with water bottles and white Schwinn bicycle bells, which I cleverly hid in superhero party bags with a note saying “You’ve been RAK’ed” (Random Acts of Kindness…ed),” I set out to add a little Schwinn Schwag to Schwinn bicycles in my Madison neighborhood.

IMG_20140216_104122_348 (1)To be honest, at first I felt a bit weird about my enormous turtle shell of a backpack and my intensive staring at clusters of bikes to find a Schwinn that was in need of a bell or bottle. People passed me on the street, and while I am sure they nodded a greeting, I was much too occupied staring at the bicycles that were behind them to realize. However, soon with the recruitment of a friend, it became like a game where we could compete at being the first to find the hidden Schwinn bikes. I think I may have seen almost every type of Schwinn bike. Schwinn’s in every color, with brightly taped handle bars or beads in their tires: Jaguars, Travelers, Continental Tours, Sidewinders and more. We got excited with each find, recalling ones that looked the same or marveling in the uniqueness of others. It was great to see all the Schwinn lovers in Madison.

IMG_20140216_120601_846We also got to experience what I compare to the role of the Easter Bunny, hiding Schwinn styled ‘Acts of Kindness’ gifts for the bicycle owners to find right before their next ride. I imagined that finding something like that would be similar to finding forgotten money that you had left in your Spring coat. An unexpected happy surprise!

Soon we ran out of bottles and bells and on my walk back home I realized what a great mood I was in. I thought of the owners of the bikes discovering the bottles and bells that we had left and hoped that it may brighten their day and lead them to pass on that Act of Kindness to someone else. But I also realized that the gift of kindness is perpetual in more than one way, because the gifter, in this case myself, also receives the same feeling of positivity and joy to pass on to others.

IMG_20140218_083140They say that little things can change everything and after this Sunday I am beginning to think that they may be right. If we were all to show each other little Acts of Kindness each day I think we really might just change everything!

Pass it on,

Samantha

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