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A Letter on Let's Ride

By: John Bucksbaum  September 29, 2021

USA Cycling Foundation Board Director John Bucksbaum shares thoughts on Let's Ride

Dear USA Cycling Board and Foundation Members:

I am writing to you today to express my excitement about the community minded initiatives that USAC is currently engaged in. I have been a long-time supporter of “all things cycling” over the years and recently I found a way to combine my love of cycling/bicycles with another passion of mine – assisting underserved communities.

Before going further, I want all of you to understand I love the competitive side of cycling. I remain involved on the race side of the sport through a number of different avenues and I will always support bike racing just as I have always supported ski racing. And just as I have found a community aspect to USAC, I have also found a community aspect in my winter sports support that is equally exciting to me. Competition and community can and should be a part of sport - We can do both!

I believe philanthropy is, and should always be a very personal act. We should never judge someone based on the amount of a gift or where a gift is directed. We don’t know, or we shouldn’t know what generally causes someone to give. But what I do know is giving can, and should, produce a feeling of satisfaction, joy and pleasure – this is what I have found with my recent involvement in USAC’s Let’s Ride program.

Let’s Ride, led by Olympic Silver Medalist and 2000 World Champion Mari Holden, is a nationwide bicycle safety and basic bike skills education curriculum, taught to elementary school-aged children through summer day camps, physical education classes and afterschool programs throughout the USA. In addition, Mari has teamed up with organizations such as Free Bikes 4 Kidz, Working Bikes Chicago, Tour of America’s Dairyland and the Intelligentsia Cup to expand the premise of Let’s Ride to include giving away bicycles, helmets and safety courses at these events as well. This is where I have had the pleasure to volunteer and it has been amazing.

I have signed up volunteers to help build Strider bikes for kids, found a location to store the bikes, assisted in packing up the bikes for venue delivery and participated in the actual bike giveaway and Let’s Ride programs. While these events require a lot of hard work, the satisfaction is immense. To see the smiles and tears that are generated by these acts of goodwill is something money can’t buy, but by supporting this USA Cycling community initiative my giving has brought unapparelled joy to me, the kids and the communities they live in. But the good does not end there….

It has been remarkable to witness the diversity, inclusion and equality that these programs bring, not to mention the free USA Cycling membership and exposure. The health benefits associated with bike riding and the dream that one of these kids will one day want to become a bike racer is exciting and this an important part of what USA Cycling should stand for in today’s world.

The ability to grow the donor base is tremendous – not a lot of people outside of “our circle” care about competitive cycling but millions of people care about some of things I have listed above. It has been a long time since I have been motivated to actually participate in the programmatic side of my giving, but Let’s Ride has caused me to get involved. I am not writing to you today to solicit on behalf of Let’s Ride, I am writing to share my experience. I have been lucky to not only be able to give to a program but to get involved in the program itself. I have gotten my hands dirty and it has been incredibly meaningful.

I hope I have been able to share with each of you what USA Cycling and Let’s Ride has not only given to the community but what it has given to me. To me this is a WIN/WIN - and aren’t we all in USA Cycling to win?

John Bucksbaum

USA Cycling Foundation Board Director and Champions Club member