On any given day at a Nine13sports Kids Riding Bikes programming site, a spectator will see hundreds of eager youth engage on our bicycle simulators and fearlessly persevere to conquer each and every course. However, every now and then, we’ll see a student with a confused look on their face as they attempt to pedal backwards on our fixed gear SUN Bicycles. We always declare to them, “you can only pedal forward on our bikes, not backwards.”
While this statement literally is true when riding our bikes, it’s also figuratively became an unofficial motto of not only our programs, but our daily operations as well. Speaking in terms of program operations, our staff underlines this message to the kids who perhaps are struggling, or have never ridden a bicycle before, that you can only pedal forward to get to where you want to be. Obstacles will arise, and hurdles will get in your way; however, with some good old-fashioned perseverance, you will get to where you want to be. You will be able to pedal the bicycle all the way to the finish line and, simultaneously, recognize the virtues that are resiliency and determination.
This unified and lasting message applies not only to the kids during our programming, but over the course of Nine13’s albeit short, yet considerable history. There have been several roadblocks that we’ve had to knock down or try to maneuver over the pat five years; we had to hear the word, “no” more than we’d feel comfortable revealing; naysayers ran abundant as we’ve worked tirelessly to, “Keep Pedaling Forwards,” in the face of adversity and uncertainty.
As an organization, we feel 100% comfortable advocating this phrase because, quite frankly, that’s how we’ve grown to be at the position we’re at today. Serving 10,000 individual youth in 2016 alone after serving only 1,000 in 2012 . Going from a staff of 3 to a staff of 7 in less than 6 months. Working tirelessly to not only serve the youth we’re privileged to serve, but also to give back to our community and find new and innovative ways to highlight the impact our invaluable partners and supporters are having on our organization as a whole.
It hasn’t always been easy. However, as most of us know, nothing worth having in life usually is. We love highlighting this message to the kids to never stop moving forward no matter what they’re doing in life. And, if they ever need an example of how to apply this message outside of Kids Riding Bikes, well, our staff has a story or two that we’re sure will help them grasp the idea.