Breaking a Cycle of Inactivity
A Pay It Forward donation is helping a Fargo organization continue its efforts to improve the community’s physical, mental and financial health by encouraging safe bike riding and increasing ridership.
Non-profit organization Great Rides works to build healthy communities by encouraging bicycling for lifestyle, sport and recreation. The group operates the Great Rides Bike Share and pedicab rental, and hosts community events and programming like a group-ride series, a winter bike race and the StreetsAlive! festival. Great Rides also participates in outreach such as community planning, health fairs and bike rodeos.
“Currently, more than half of adults and one-third of adolescents in the metro area get no regular physical activity,” Dylan comments. “We’re working to change that, and our tool of choice is bikes. Our diverse community of riders in the Fargo-Moorhead area continues to grow.”
In 2017, nearly 400 people participated in the Great Riders Club, pedaling just over 50,000 miles collectively during the free group rides.
“We take play seriously,” Dylan says. “The more opportunities we have to expose people to different forms of physical activity through active play or active transportation, the more likely they are to find what they enjoy and do it for a lifetime. If that’s riding a bike, we’re even happier.”
Jon has been involved with Great Rides for the past 2 years, and he decided to donate his Pay It Forward funds to the organization so they can keep up the great work.
“They are fantastic,” he remarks. “Great Rides provides so many free biking opportunities in the community. They also have a Take a Kid Mountain Biking program that donates bikes and time to give kids who do not have mountain bikes a chance to ride. The organization depends on generous gifts in order to operate each year, so I’m proud to say Bell Bank provided me the opportunity to pay it forward to such a wonderful organization. Keep on rolling!”
While many of the organization’s programs are self-sustaining, Dylan says most of the community events and educational opportunities operate at a financial loss.
“Great Rides feels barrier-free entry to these programs is integral to their success,” he notes. “Donations like the one from Jon and Bell Bank allow for not only continued access to these programs, but growth in engagement and empowerment. We know the positive role bicycles play in any community and the many benefits they provide.”