In those early days of grief we knew we wanted to do something special and positive to help others with the donations we were receiving. The Axel Project was born out of Axel’s love for his balance bike and our families passion around cycling. Over the past year and a half we have been healing, rebuilding, and reconnecting. Through this, a new program has emerged that we’ll roll out in 2015 called RideTime.
No matter what the experts say there is no instruction manual for grief – you have to find your own path through it. For us that involves a lot of biking. Biking has been our form of therapy. It has kept us living in the present, brought us joy, kept us healthy and reconnected us to the world. I admired Kalden in those early days after Axel died. Kids are so resilient and even when they are sad they focus on what is happening now, not yesterday or next week. They do what brings them joy and brings joy to others. So Kalden rode his bike a lot and told us that Axel was riding right along with him. And when we started doing events for Axel Project watching the joy kids have by simply riding around on two wheels was both healing and inspiring. They don’t care about learning to bike or the bike itself it’s about the joy of exploring, the thrill of freedom, and being enthusiastic about life.
Every child needs the opportunity for some RideTime. Time in the day where they can have some thrills, gain confidence, and let their physical side go without a lot of rules or instructions on how to play. Biking is not just for athletic kids or city hipsters. Every child can connect to the world and their inner athlete when presented the opportunity to explore on two wheels. And when kids ride bikes it encourages their parents to get out as well by either running along side them or going on family bike rides.
Childhood use to be all about riding bikes but now kids are faced with organized sports at a younger age, more sitting time in school, homework, video games, TV, and roads that are too dangerous to use. One in three children are obese* before their fifth birthday RideTime introduces kids 2-5 to the bike early so that they have that positive connection as they grow. H.G Wells said, “Whenever I see an adult on a bicycle, I have hope for the human race.” True but there is even more hope when we see kids on bikes.
So what exactly is RideTime? We’ll work closely with preschools, day cares and after school programs to provide them both bikes and an atmosphere where they carve out time to ride. There’s Storytime, Naptime and now RideTime! We’ll leverage the great work Strider Bikes has done with Strider Camps, provide bikes, helmets, cones, instructor manuals and lots of ideas.
Thank you to all that have donated, attended our ride or purchased from our store. We need your continued support of the Axel Project and it’s mission so we can get RideTime going across the country and eventually the world. To date we have donated 150 bikes and introduced thousands of kids to two wheels at events across the country. Every child deserves to stride into the future with confidence, a healthy body, and joy!
We are starting to work with the first school next week. We’ll keep you updated with posts and pictures.