Challenge yourself — to put a deserving kid on a new bike

Picture this: You’re preparing for the MS 150, or Cycle North Carolina,  or the Blue Ridge Brutal.  It’s a Tuesday afternoon, about 4:30. You’re supposed to do a 6 p.m. training ride, a 30-miler at an 18-20 mph pace. It’s been a long day at work; You’re beat and what sounds like a much better plan is going out with some coworkers for a beer. Or two. Missing one little training ride won’t hurt, the little dude on your shoulder holding the pitchfork rationalizes. If only you had some added incentive to drag your lazy butt to the ride …

How about helping a kid get a bike?

It’s true: This afternoon’s 30-mile training ride could mean the difference between a local kid getting his or her first bike — or not.

Here’s the deal: Trips for Kids is one of three teams competing in the $100,000 Clif Bar 2 Mile Challenge. Each team automatically qualifies for $25,000 under the challenge; that last $25,000 will be given the team that rides the most miles between now and Oct. 31. Which is where you come in. Go to the Clif Bar 2 Mile Challenge — heretofore referred to as the CB2MC — Web site, click on “Red Team” and register. (It’s quick, easy, no salesman will call.) Then, every time you ride, log on and log your miles. If the Red Team winds up with the most miles, Trips for Kids gets $50,000.

How much of a difference could those 30 miles after work make?

“Every $325 buys a new bike/new opportunity for another kid to join us on a ride,” says Andrea Hundermark, who heads up Trips for Kids — Triangle.  In addition to hooking up kids with rides of their own, Trips for Kids takes kids on rides, often to places they wouldn’t otherwise get to explore.

“We hold a lot of one-day mountain biking excursions for the kids in my school district,” says Hundermark, who lives in Durham. “Without fail, each ride ends with some fantastic stories from these kids — they couldn’t believe that mountain biking was actually something that was done in the woods, they didn’t know that so many trees actually existed, especially in their own back yard of Durham.”

Miles logged under CB2MC will go to the national Trips for Kids program, which has more than 60 chapters nationwide, including ones in Charlotte and Boone. Hundermark says the money awarded must be used to buy new bikes. The “2 Mile Challenge” name comes from one of the contest’s goals: To wean people from their automobiles and on to bikes. (According to Clif, 40 percent of all urban travel in the U.S. occurs within two miles of the originating destination, and 90 percent of that is by car. Two miles is a perfectly reasonable distance to bike, hence the 2 Mile Challenge, although longer rides — including that 30-miler you’re contemplating blowing off in favor of a pale ale — count as well.)

Now, the good news early in the CB2MC is that the Red Team (a k a Trips for Kids) is currently in first place. But the Gold Team (the Alliance for Biking and Walking) is a close second and the Blues (the Alliance for Climate Education) are not far behind. Plus, it’s very early in the race. Think of this as Day 3 of the Tour de France: We may be wearing the maillot jaune today, but anything can happen between now and Paris. Or Oct. 31.

So, what will it be after work, a beer? Or a new bike for a deserving, underprivileged kid?

Guilt trip courtesy my parents.

Photo courtesy Trips For Kids — Triangle/Danielle Riley

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