Ride for Reading in Fort Collins Again!

Fort Collins, Colorado – Fourteen local, national and international organizations are coming together to encourage children to read and value bicycling.

In celebration of National Bike to School Week, over 60 bicyclists IMG_7874will pedal more than 1,500 books to students at Harris Bilingual School and Laurel School of Arts and Technology. The bicyclists, New Belgium Brewing Employees, OtterBox Employee Volunteers, Bicycle Ambassadors, Bicycle Pedestrian Education Coalition, Safe Routes to Schools Representatives, and other bicycling advocates are supporting the work of Ride for Reading, a not-for-profit organization with a mission to promote literacy and healthy living through the distribution of books via bicycle to children in low-income neighborhoods.

Local thrift and used book stores – EcoThrift, Book Lovers, Brand Spanking Used – have all donated gently used books for distribution. Those books will be blended with books from the online book seller, Better World Books and books donated by Clothes Pony. In addition, New Belgium Brewing is hosting a Book Drive, offering a tasting room discount to any visitors who donate books. Books that are not given during this delivery will be held for a delivery in the fall.

Safe Routes to School coordinator, Nancy Nichols, has helped determine the safest routes for the delivery cyclists. With its mission to make school routes safe for children when walking and bicycling to school, Safe Routes to School will attend the deliveries and give an informational bookmark to each student.

Making sure all kids have an opportunity to own books.

Making sure all kids have an opportunity to own books.

Ridekick Co-owner, Dee Wanger, participated in Ride for Reading delivery rides in 2011, 2012, and 2013 at the national bicycle trade show, Interbike. A former elementary school teacher, she was inspired by the experience and offered to be the Northern Colorado program coordinator for Ride for Reading deliveries. A delivery of over 500 books was made to Putnam School in 2013.

“This is such an exciting collaborative effort!” Wanger said. “It’s bringing together people who like to bicycle and want it to be safe for everyone, people who like to read, people who are donating their books and their time…all for the purpose of instilling and enabling a love of bicycling and reading in children.”

And, as excellent teachers will do, special activities around reading and bicycling are planned throughout the day and week for students at these schools. What lucky kids!

For other inquiries, please contact Dee Wanger, Co-owner at info@ridekick.com or 877-974- 4440, ext 1.

Website Address: www.ridekick.com

Special thanks to these organizations:

  1. Ride for Reading
  2. Better World Books
  3. New Belgium Brewing
  4. OtterBox
  5. Ridekick International
  6. Harris Bilingual
  7. Laurel School of Arts and Technology
  8. Safe Routes to Schools
  9. Bicycle Ambassadors
  10. Clothes Pony
  11. EcoThrift
  12. Book Lovers Books
  13. Brand Spanking Used
  14. Bicycle Pedestrian Education Coalition
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Harrowing Experience

We want to thank Mark for letting us know that he’s alive, safe and well, and that the Ridekick survived, too! What a tale…

On Sunday morning July 7th at 10:00 AM I was coasting to a stop sign at an intersection in rural Wisconsin. It was a perfect morning for a ride – sunny and quiet with little traffic. I had just completed 19 miles of a 22 mile ride and was excited because my Ridekick battery still had a ½ charge left.

My Ridekick is attached to a long frame recumbent bicycle. This combination really works for me as I use the trailer to help push the bike up steep grade roads that lead up and out of Mississippi river valleys and coulees in the area. It is fun to see how far you can ride using your Ridekick as an able assist for hills and to pick up pedal momentum on the flats.

And so it comes…straight at me… a pickup trunk turns fully into my oncoming lane. There was no time to think or yell or do anything to get the attention of the driver. He simply was not looking being more interested in his cell phone I suspect. I stood and jumped as hard as I could up and to the right. The pickup hit my still upright bike head-on lifting it with my left leg still clearing the top tube. It spun me around in the air and I dropped horizontally onto my upper back and shoulders. I realized the truck itself had not hit me and my helmet protected my head. So I stood up immediately. The recumbent was still hopping around down road and the trailer lid was in the air dropping down from some height. Both batteries were tumbling down the road too [I bought a spare battery when ordering my Ridekick].

What follows is an ambulance, the police, ER and a broken shoulder. The 21-year-old driver was driving without a license, in his father’s truck, on probation with 23 previous arrests.

After three weeks of recovery it was time to inspect my gear. The recumbent was bent, broken and totaled. The trailer appeared to have initially flipped over, been pushed down the road, righted again whereupon it exploded. The battery tie down strap had actually pulled apart. The frame was dented, body work was scraped down and the lid hinges and lid fastener were broken.

After more weeks of recovery I wondered if anything in the trailer was operable. I plugged in the spare battery. The controller turned on! So I put that battery on the charger and it took a charge. The other battery appeared dead. I opened the fabric battery case and found one lead pulled off a connector. Once repaired it, too, took a charge. I put the trailer on top of a shop stool with the wheels off the floor. After connecting the throttle wire the power wheel turned perfectly and was still in align. The other wheel tracked straight too!

The Ridekick is now powering one of my other bicycles. I have yet to fashion a new lid that will fit the dented trailer frame but that won’t be hard to do. It just won’t look as good as the original. As it is, this event really gave me confidence in the reliability of a “Long Haul” Ridekick which, incidentally, is now connected to my Surly Long Haul Trucker.

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