It’s no secret that Minneapolis loves bikes. What you may not realize is that Minneapolis youth love their bikes just as much. For every suit-jacketed businessman you see barrelling down the Cedar Lake Trail to and from work, there is a kid biking to middle school, or hitting the singletrack with their friends after the last bell, or taking their bike to the local shop to figure out how to grease a chain. This is an experience unique to our city, and, at The Loppet Foundation, we work to spread this experience to as many kids as we can.
Each year, the Loppet Foundation rewards 21 exceptional middle school athletes through the Earn-a-Bike program. The bikes are rewarded after reviewing a points-based metric of attendance and effort given over the course of the year-long season. Any athlete is eligible, from 6th to 8th grade, but only those who understand the value of sweat and hard work can earn themselves a bike. Most of our athletes come from North Minneapolis, from households where a bike is no small investment, and when you ask them, “what does your bike mean to you,” you’ll come to understand that a bike is more than just a bike.
“For me, my bike means that I can practice mountain biking at home. I’m getting pretty good, I can do a wheelie.”
Henri Nguyen, 8th grade
“Everyday, I bike after school and go fishing with my friends. We go to Wirth, to the creek. It’s our creek.”
Timothy Vang, 7th grade
“When I got the bike, I was so happy. I had a hand-me-down bike from my brother but it was broken and it always made us mad. And when I got this really nice bike, I could go wherever I wanted.
Henry Munnich, 8th grade
Learning. Adventure. Independence. Happiness. When you invest in the Earn-a-Bike program, you invest in these qualities just as much as you invest in a pair of tires attached to a frame. Bikes represent a commitment to the out-of-doors and to an adventurous lifestyle. We at the Loppet Foundation know that it is important that we nurture this commitment in our youth, because they will inherit the trails, paved and otherwise, that we leave behind.
By donating, you not only make the Earn-a-Bike program possible, you also make possible all these wheelies, all these after-school fishing expeditions, all the simple joy of wind in your ears and the whole city opening up before you.