Bikes for the World

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Le-makesusproudtobeamerican-Decky

Katie with Team USA from Instagram
Oh Now you've heard of Katie Ledecky? And you've likely now heard us mention she volunteered at Bikes for the World for two years with Stone Ridge's Social Action Program. So what's she really like?

Exactly what you see. Katie brought to Bikes for the World exactly what she brought to the Olympics. She was dedicated, a hard worker, and a team player.

There are really three things we heard during the Olympics that stuck with us. #1 Katie told us all to enjoy the journey. This is something we saw in our warehouse every other week not just with Katie but the entire Stone Ridge crew.

Ken with Yvette
And it really started with this guy, advisor Ken Woodard. Ken brings his passion for bikes with him every time he steps into the warehouse. And that trickles down to his students. When we started working with Stone Ridge back in 2011 we had two volunteers from the school. As we excitedly await their return this September, that number has risen to 10, and many of them return from their junior to senior years.

Katie had this to say about working with Mr. Woodard: "He is a wonderful role model for all of us as his dedication and his willingness to help others is so evident. He demonstrates how important it is to help others, and how much fun can result from doing so."

Katie's first day at King Farm
#2 We heard throughout her 800 Free how Katie Ledecky was making that race cool again. Many moms were reporting that their little girls were watching Katie swim and wanted to be just like her. Long distance swimming was becoming popular thanks to Katie's success in the event. Her overall personality made her a much loved role model to, well, everyone!

And over the past three years this is exactly what Katie brought to our program. Honestly, all of Stone Ridge, each of these volunteers made an Impact. Stone Ridge took over our warehouse twice a month and spent most of their time working in the back with chain breakers, frame taps, bottom bracket tools, crank pullers...pulling parts off bikes many of us didn't even know came off!

Troop 1999
And our young volunteers were watching. During the last three years Bikes for the World partnered up with more Girl Scout Troops than ever before. They saw what these women of Stone Ridge were accomplishing and they wanted to be just like them. Putting tools in the hands of these capable young girls brought more confidence to many of them and we credit much of that to all our Stone Ridge volunteers.

Kaite with her Social Action Team
#3, finally, almost every interview with Katie Ledecky poolside ended with Katie saying into the camera, "Go USA!" Over and over sitting in our living rooms we sat watching Katie swim. Just Katie, because the camera couldn't capture the entire field, that's just how fast she is. Commentators said things like, "Katie is in the pool by herself" and "Katie is racing herself".

Katie Ledecky never once forgot Team USA. And she never once put herself ahead of anyone else in the Social Action program. Katie was just another student in our warehouse. When we met her she already had one Olympic Gold medal and she went on to break world records the entire time she was with us. But in our warehouse she joined her friends and teammates, pulling pedals off bikes and wheeling bikes on trailers.

Rolling bikes for the Philippines
During her last day with Bikes for the World she helped load the container of bikes that ended up in our Bikes for Education project in the Philippines. When Bikes for the Philippines found out, they were thrilled.  " Thank you Katie and Race on for the Gold. From us here in the Philippines. Mabuhay!" 

Likewise, Wheels of Africa in Kenya sent this message before the Olympics, "We look forward to watching Katie Ledecky as she competes in the Olympics. We wish her all the best." Katie not only brought together the USA, but the whole world took notice and cheered her on.

Congratulations Katie and thank you for your service. Welcome home. We can't help but think of everything Katie has brought to Bikes for the World and wonder how much of that Stone Ridge brought to her initially. Katie Ledecky, hands covered in grease, and a heart of gold.

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