Archive Post from April 7th, 2020
During this time of uncertainty, I want to share how Trips for Kids Marin is responding, how we are still serving our students, and adapting to fulfill our mission.
Today, our “business as unusual” looks a little different…
This week we began sharing the transformative power of cycling with underserved Bay Area youth by leading virtual Earn-a-Bike classes (kids are still earning their bikes), producing ride and wrenching videos, and preparing to launch group rides as soon as the COVID-19 crisis passes.
Although few things seem “normal” these days…
I am thrilled to see thousands of kids and families doing at least one “normal” thing lately – pedaling on trails and through neighborhoods. Let’s celebrate that hundreds of Bay Area kids are riding bikes they earned from our Earn-a-Bike and Mobile Bike Workshops programs and hundreds more are riding bikes previously purchased from our Re-Cyclery Bike Shop.
But, we too are facing challenges...
Half of our revenue comes from our Recyclery Bike Shop. With only limited online sales, our revenue has been drastically reduced. We have weathered many storms over the past three decades and we endeavor to survive this one as well. However, it will not be easy and the future is uncertain. While we are pursuing federal loans to cover wages, we will fall short of covering our overall expenses.
Our team is working tirelessly through the pandemic to keep programs going, but we need your help.
If you are able, please consider a one-time or a recurring donation to Trips for Kids Marin. Your support is more important than ever before and will help ensure we can continue to engage with our most vulnerable populations now and into the future.
With your help, we will emerge stronger than before – and get more kids on bikes!
Trips for Kids Marin
Archive Post from January 8th, 2020
Dear Trips for Kids Marin Family,
Did you know that for 30 weeks during the school year our dedicated staff meets with the same Marin City kids to teach them how to ride bikes, get them moving outside, and introduce them to basic bicycle mechanics?
Did you know that among the hundreds of Bay Area kids from underserved communities we take on cycling trips along the coast every year there are dozens who are experiencing the ocean for the very first time?
Did you know that this year 70% of kids who completed our six-week Earn-A-Bike mechanics program chose to come back and participate in our advanced offerings?
For 32 years Trips for Kids Marin’s mission has never wavered: To connect kids to the natural world, help build self esteem, and introduce healthy lifestyle choices through a basic-yet-brilliant tool — the bicycle.
Three decades since Trips for Kids Marin’s founding our work is more important than ever. Kids are experiencing a growing disconnect from nature resulting in less outdoor playtime than ever before. Childhood obesity continues to be a challenge, particularly in low-income communities, while some young people lack resilience when life challenges arise.
There are many negative forces looming over kids today, especially those from underserved and/or disadvantaged communities. But as we have been since 1986, Trips for Kids Marin is committed to using the bicycle as a tool to improve the lives of Bay Area kids. We are believers in the power of the bicycle to get kids outside, moving and observing the natural world while also challenging them to master technical riding and mechanical skills.
And as much as we are on a mission, we are also grateful to be in a position to get kids on bikes. It is gratifying to introduce young people to the freedom and joy that cycling can bring. We are so fortunate to see kids smiling as they race down dirt tracks, to watch kids push themselves physically as they peddle up challenging hills, and observe kids with furrowed brows as they work through fixing chains and flat tires.
We get to experience how the simple bicycle opens up new worlds and realities for kids.
I am grateful for the opportunity this year to have joined Trips for Kids Marin as the Executive Director and to witness the value of our core offerings. With two decades of program management experience, I am committed to growing the reach and impact of Trips for Kids Marin for decades to come.
Like many of you, I understand the freedom, power, joy, and thrill biking brings.
I am so grateful to spend my days working towards providing those opportunities to kids in our community who might not otherwise have the chance to ride or have their own bikes.
MORE KIDS ON BIKES
As the year comes to a close I would ask your consideration in contributing generously so we can get more kids moving in nature, build healthy lifestyles and sow self-worth.
Your investment of $5, $500, $5,000 or more will allow us to bring more kids into our mechanics programs, will allow us to work with more kids at their schools, and will get more kids on trails in the Bay Area’s open spaces.
Each dollar makes a difference. Each dollar has an impact. Thank you for your investment, and thank you from the kids themselves who feel “strong,” “powerful,” “free,” and “adventurous” when they ride.
With deep appreciation,
Bec Detrich, Executive Director, Trips for Kids Marin
Archive Post from November 15th, 2018
Bikes Change Lives
Have you ever wondered how many bikes it takes to keep our kid pedal-powered programs going? The answer: a lot.
Trips for Kids Marin maintains a fleet of 75 mountain bikes which get ridden by over 1,600 kids on an average of 160 rides per year! Bicycles are the vehicle we use to help kids explore and appreciate the natural world while developing positive self-esteem, learning safe cycling skills and experiencing the benefits of exercise. Many of our youth are exploring their local parks and open spaces for the very first time on our rides.
A Program for Companies to Give Back
Unlike our regular youth programs, Build-a-Bike is a corporate team building event just for adults. Accommodating up to 12 people, the Build-a-Bike program is a fun and challenging day of working together to accomplish a common goal for a great cause. After arriving in the morning to a team building icebreaker game, the group is guided step-by-step by our expert mechanics through the process of building a new bike straight out of the box. No previous mechanical experience is necessary, and with teamwork and some elbow grease, success is guaranteed.
A Unique Team Building Experience
Along with the fun the bikes provide, they endure a lot of wear and tear from our beginner riders which means a lot of time and resources spent on their maintenance. Eventually, the bikes reach the end of their useful life, so we replace them with 5-10 new bikes every year. This year we are excited to announce a new program to help us keep our fleet rolling with new bikes - the Build-a-Bike program.
After the bikes have been successfully built, it’s time for the team to get to experience the same thrill and joy our kids do with a beginner trail ride in China Camp State Park. Under the instruction and guidance of our master Ride Leaders, the team will practice the fundamental skills needed to complete the journey to the scenic and historic fishing village six gently meandering miles away. To celebrate the accomplishment of finishing the day’s ride, the team will relax by the bay with hors-d'oeuvres and refreshments. A final closing reflection will bring the experience full-circle on a job well done.
You Can Participate
With your help, our kids will soon be riding new bikes that will help us continue our mission of providing transformational cycling experiences for underserved youth.
Hear what one Build-a-Bike participant said of her experience:
“As a lover of cycling..and an adult with means, for me to experience such joy, closeness to nature, friends/coworkers on a mountain bike ride with your organization, imagine how the impact would be magnified in the kids the TFK Marin serves. I finally understood what is meant by your “transformational youth experiences” - Ashley Williams, Fremont Group
Archive Post from November 5th, 2018
30th Anniversary Gala Recap
On the evening of October 19, 2018, nearly 200 guests packed the Mill Valley Community Center for a festive gala in celebration of Trips for Kids Marin's 30th Anniversary. The evening featured a silent auction, presentation MC'd by Doug McConnell of Bay Area BackRoads and OpenRoad, live auction led by Greg Sherwood (a.k.a. The KQED Pledge Guy), and live music from Bred2Shred with dancing. Catering was provided by Graham Gathright, Chez Gautier Cooking School, as well as, chips and guacamole donated by Marinitas, wine donated by Rusted Lyre Vineyards, beer donated by Iron Springs, coffee from Equator and sparkling water from Purity Organic.
Your ImpactIn total, thanks to the generosity of our supporters, we successfully raised over $50,000 at the gala which will go to providing more biking programs to Bay Area youth in 2019. We are so grateful for everyone involved in hosting this fundraiser including staff, volunteers, board members, sponsors, donors, and partnering agencies. Thank you all for your contributions towards getting #morekidsonbikes! Cheers to 30 more wonderful years of transformation to come.
Special Thanks to Our Great Sponsors
Emerald Sponsor $30,000
In case you missed our gala, please check out the videos we prepared for the occasion.
A Glimpse Inside Trips for Kids Marin
Tools for Change: An Interview with Jim Gloystein
Here are some of our favorite photos from the evening.
Former Trail Rides participant, Veneé McGee shared her heartwarming story of the impact Trips for Kids Marin has had on her life.
An excerpt from Veneé McGee's gala speech:
“Trips for Kids Marin was how I formed my confidence and determined my identity!” Being invited back after 17 years since my last participation with Trips for Kids Marin to speak at the 30th Anniversary Gala has been another stone on my journey for me to lay as growth. Thanks to Trips for Kids Marin 10 year old Veneé felt seen and heard which at that age was something I struggled with immensely. “My buddy stands by my side, aiding me with her strength and determination.” It's so refreshing to see how Trips for Kids Marin continues to grow and adapt, remaining always adaptable, motivated and responsive. I look forward to a future of many more bike rides!!
Archive Post from October 10th, 2018
Check out Photos from the Big Day
Our second annual Take a Kid Mountain Biking Day festival took place on Saturday, October 6th at Miwok Meadows in China Camp State Park. It was a smash hit with record turn out, an abundance of smiles, and a boost of self-esteem for all those who participated. Trips for Kids Marin Ride Leaders and volunteers educated youth on bike safety and guided them through skill courses and on trail rides through the park. For some kids, it was their first-time mountain biking. All equipment was provided free of charge allowing every child an opportunity to try out a new hobby and gain confidence on a bike. The festival was part of a larger national movement created by IMBA with youth biking events across the country including fellow Trips for Kids chapters.
We can't wait for another opportunity to host a free community event such as this. Thank you to everyone who attended, volunteered, or worked the festival making it truly special! Here are some photos from the big day.
Archive Post from September 10th, 2018
Experiencing Trail Magic
By Adam Smith, Trail Rides Program Manager
There’s a thing called Trail Magic. Anyone who’s spent enough time on the trail knows about it or has experienced it themselves. It’s something that thru-hikers of the great, long distance trails of North America like the Appalachian, Pacific-Crest and Continental Divide Trail talk about and revere. It happens when you least expect it and often when you most need it. Perhaps you’re running out of food, and a stranger offers you a PB&J right when you couldn’t take a step further. Or maybe, you get a flat tire and find an extra tube accidentally dropped on the trail by a former passer-by. Perhaps you take a wrong turn and stumble on a new vista point that takes your breath away. Though it’s most often referenced in the thru-hiking community, it happens to mountain bikers, too. This phenomenon transpired on a recent trail ride with the Canal Welcome Center.
As we rounded the bend in the trail, there they were: GIANT. Dozens of branded bicycles lined in rows, waiting to be ridden by lucky trail patrons. The kids were instantly buzzing. We rode up, and the friendly staff quickly came over to greet us. “Hi, we’re Trips for Kids Marin,” we said. “Can we look around?” “Absolutely,” one of Giant Bicycles representative responded. “Let me go get John.” The kids dispersed and started ogling the brand new bikes on display at the Giant Bicycles demo days at China Camp State Park.
John Munhall is the Product Development Manager at Giant Bicycles and an enormous Trips for Kids supporter. It just so happened that we were about to reach out to him to place an order for bikes to replenish our fleet, and here he was, smack in the middle of our ride in the woods. We introduced ourselves and talked about Trips for Kids a bit before John said, “Hey, hold on a minute, I want the kids to meet someone…”
Now, it isn’t every day that you take a group of young men on their first mountain bike ride and come across a small bike festival in the woods being thrown by one of your biggest industry supporters AND get to meet a professional, Olympic mountain bike racer. But it happened, and it was an experience the young men will never forget.
Adam Craig is a professional cyclist sponsored by Giant who’s raced just about everything on two wheels and dirt imaginable, including competing in the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing in Cross Country representing team USA. He’s also a five-time National Champion. (He’s good. Really good…) But what was most impressive about Adam was how much he loved getting to meet and talk with the young men on our ride. They, in turn, were equally impressed watching him bunny hop a bike around in a circle, ride a wheelie and getting to talk with him in person.
John emerged from the Giant trailer with brand new water bottles and handed them to each youth. Adam eagerly signed them while he talked to each of them individually. In how many other sports do you get the chance to casually hang out with Olympic athletes while they put on their own little private exhibition for you and give you autographed gear? Not many. But that’s mountain biking. Mountain biking is like that. It’s a sport where you might see an Olympian out riding the same trail you’re on or see them at a bike festival. And if you happen to have a group of underserved youth with you, who happen to be on their very first mountain bike ride, well, that’s what we would call trail magic.
Archive Post from August 13th, 2018
As a Bay Area youth cycling organization, we are truly lucky to offer our programs in Marin County’s many open spaces. One area that remains a mainstay for our program participants is Stafford Lake Bike Park in Novato (the North Bay’s first public bike park). We took several trips there this year with our Earn-a-Bike youth and got the usual rave reviews.
“It is so cool! I definitely want to go back and bring my friends. The ramps are really fun.” - Santino, 2018 Earn-a-Bike program participant
The park serves as a perfect place for our youth to build confidence, challenge their riding abilities, and be surrounded by its beautiful landscape. The Rangers do an excellent job maintaining the trails and keeping the place looking great.
In fact, Nova Hairston, a Marin County Park Ranger, who previously ran our Earn-a-Bike program in years past, met us one day and instructed us on how to repair and maintain the pump track. Ranger Nova taught us how to properly mix the correct amounts of clay and water to make a perfect consistency needed to patch and repair worn out sections and ruts. These are the experiences that kids don’t get very much today, if at all. Getting their hands dirty working with the earth and riding a bike while challenging their skills, these things matter and we are very thankful to have Stafford Bike Park available to us to allow these experiences for our kids.
We frequently use the Rush Creek Preserve on our trail rides as well and exclusively with Muir Wood Adolescent Services, a rehab program for teenage boys struggling to overcome addiction. The impact this place has on them is palpable. One young man, who had not been on a bike in several years, made a big impact on us as well. In the beginning, he struggled and wasn’t sure he was going to make it. But he did not give up and by the end of our trip, he didn’t want to stop riding.
We later learned that this young man frequently stayed in his room at home all day and night playing video games without coming out of the house. The impact of one positive outdoor experience can’t be overestimated in today’s screen-obsessed reality, particularly with the young people we serve. While we haven’t been able to follow this young man personally since that time, we know that at least in those hours spent riding a bike through Marin’s beautiful open spaces, he was present, engaged and alive. These are the moments that make a lasting impact and we see it all the time with our youth.
Trips for Kids Marin (TFKM) is proud to be a grant recipient of the Marin County Parks and Open Space program supported by funding from Measure A Breathe/Respira! This wonderful program focuses on fostering partnerships with community organizations that connect underserved communities in Marin with parks, preserves, recreational facilities, staff and programming managed by Marin County Parks.
Archive Post from August 13th, 2018
Our Youth Swap Saddles
By Adam Smith, Trail Rides Program Manager
Contrary to the popular adage, sometimes it is the destination, not the journey that brings those special moments that make us feel alive. This is especially true when those moments arrive unexpectedly.
The kids from the Latina Center had no idea. It isn’t very often that you come across a carousel in the middle of the woods after all. Especially one that was built in 1912 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. So when we arrived at the Tilden Park Merry-Go-Round after our ride near Lake Anza they were ecstatic.
The Latina Center in Richmond, California, is one of our non-profit partners whose mission is to improve the quality of life and health of the Latino community by providing leadership and personal development opportunities for all Latinas. The kids from this program are all bilingual and love riding with us. They especially enjoyed this ride, though the mountain bike ride through the park might have not been what captured their attention the most on this special occasion.
The sheer excitement and joy were overwhelming when we told them they were going to get to ride the carousel. Screams of delight filled the air. It’s moments like that when you know you are making a positive difference. When you feel so much joy around you from the simple past-time of riding an amusement ride.
"You don't really understand human nature unless you know why a child on a merry-go-round will wave at his parents every time around--and why his parents will always wave back." - William D. Tammeus, Pulitzer Prize Journalist
With every revolution of the carousel, smiles abounded. It was joyous to witness the transformation as the youth got lost in the experience. Though you’re not really going anywhere on a carousel, the moments while you’re riding are filled with a timeless sense of happiness, free from the burdens of modern life and away from a glowing screen; much like riding a bike. They both make you smile for the simple act of riding and being present in the moment.
Archive Post from July 9th, 2018
Trips for Kids Marin has a team of highly skilled, passionate staff who enjoy sharing their enthusiasm for biking while giving back to the community in the best way they know how. Here’s what some of our Re-Cyclery Bike Shop staff shared about their biking history and why they love working here.
In this post, we will hear from four of our talented Re-Cyclery staff, they are:
Why did you decide to work for Trips for Kids Marin?
Mick: I was retired and decided it was time to “give back.”
Brian: It is a fun crew to work with, and I believe in the organization.
Myron: I sought an opportunity to help the community through bicycling.
Sherry: I love working on older bikes and seeing them finding new owners.
At what age did you learn to ride and why is bicycling still an important part of your life?
Mick: When you get to be as old as I am, I can’t really remember when I started.
Brian: Four years old.
Myron: I first rode a bike at five years old.
Sherry: Around five years old I think.
What is your favorite aspect of riding?
Mick: My favorite aspect of riding is the feeling of freedom and getting away from the humdrum of life. As Robin Williams once said, “Cycling is the closest thing to flying.”
Brian: The thrill and the need for speed.
Myron: My favorite aspect of riding is learning new skills. I still love to bike commute and trail ride.
Sherry: Biking gives me time to think, allows me to be accessible (e.g., make eye contact with other road/path users), keeps me fit, saves me money, moves me at a pace that allows me to see what flowers are in bloom. It is the most elegant solution I know of to heal so much that ails us at every scale of human organization from personal to community to global.
What is your favorite part of your job?
Mick: Interacting with our customers and the enjoyment of restoring a cast-off bicycle to 100% functionality. In addition, knowing that the work we do in the shop and our customers’ support goes to a good cause that makes people happy!
Brian: Constantly being challenged.
Myron: Educating the public on bike riding.
Sherry: Learning new things.
What do you wish you knew about bikes as a kid that you learned later in life?
Mick: Just how to bring such a fun object (a bicycle) back to life.
Brian: How to change a tire.
Myron: The importance of regular maintenance.
Sherry: Even if it looks like an insurmountable mountain, go at it one pedal stroke at a time, and it is possible to get to the top.
We want to hear from you!
Why are bikes important to you? What do you wish you knew about bikes as a kid? Join the conversation and share your answers in the comments below.
Archive Post from May 31st, 2018
An Interview with a Rising Young Athlete and Role Model
At age 10, could you have imagined competing in a triathlon alongside adults? That is just what this incredible young man did. Not only that, Massimo "Mo" has decided to use his competitions to fundraise for causes he believes in. At Mo's recent Wildflower Sprint, he raised over $1000 for Trips for Kids Marin. Mo also finds time to volunteer with his father, Jenno, at Trips for Kids Marin, exposing kids to the joys of bicycling while inspiring our youth. We interviewed Mo to learn more about what motivates him and why he gives back.
When did you first become interested in bicycles?
When my dad bought me a Strider scoot bike at 1-½ years old, then on my 2-year-old birthday I got a 12” Specialized bike. I started to have more fun when I learned to pedal.
What is your favorite part about riding?
I enjoy the outdoors, nature and downhill single track.
What first motivated you to train for a triathlon?
I wanted to try something new and challenging, and since I ride and swim, it came naturally to me. My swim coach from Marlins Team, San Rafael also encouraged me to try a triathlon.
What was your first triathlon like and how old were you at the time?
My first triathlon was the 2016 Wildflower when I was eight.
Tell us a little about the Wildflower triathlon and why you decided to participate?
I enjoy the Wildflower because I love the experience. First, camping, and meeting new people is very fun. Second, I love the Cal Poly University volunteers for their awesome attitudes and for cheering on the athletes. Lastly, I enjoy competing with people from all over the globe. Whether its an athlete from California or as far as Belgium, they all come together to compete and have fun.
What helps you complete and motivates you to keep going during a difficult competition?
I try being the best I can be; when I start to get tired, I say positive things to myself. For example, I say almost there or so close.
How did you learn about Trips for Kids Marin?
I went to the Re-Cyclery Bike Shop in San Rafael to donate my 20in specialized bike and saw a TFKM poster outside.
How have you been involved with Trips for Kids Marin?
I have volunteered with my dad on trail rides.
Why did you decide to fundraise for Trips for Kids Marin?
I wanted to share my passion for biking with other kids in a positive way.
When I read TFKM’s mission about providing bike rides for underserved youths, I immediately got excited.
What advice would you share with kids in our programs?
Keep on working hard for what you believe in.
What’s next for you regarding training, school, and the future?
My next races are the Nevada City Classic and The California District Road Race Championships. The Nevada City is very challenging, over 1000 ft of climbing. This Fall I am looking forward to attending San Domenico as a 6th grader.
Anything else you would like to share with our supporters?
Overall it's been an incredible experience volunteering for TFKM. I've learned a lot from Adam, the TFKM Rides Program Manager. During my first trail ride, I was very nervous but Adam made it fun, and I was able to connect with the kids as we started talking and showing skills.