At a very early age my parents purchased me a bicycle and I learned how to ride around the neighborhood. At the age of 6, I began competing in triathlons and my passion for bikes was ignited.
Now, at the age of 17, I am blessed to be able to compete at the national level of junior triathlon and I get to race my bike around the United States in the USA Triathlon Junior Elite Triathlon Series.
Throughout my childhood, I viewed my bike as a piece of equipment that was built to help me race in the sport I enjoy doing. As I have grown older, I began to realize that bikes provide youth a sense of independence and helps to improve their quality of life. Additionally, I began to notice that many youth in my community did not have the resources to purchase a bike.
As a result, I started Pedal Empowerment to provide new and gently used bikes to at-risk youth at the Boys and Girls Club of Dundee Township (BGCDT). Through a variety of marketing initiatives such as partnering with local events, local bike shops, social media, newspapers and word of mouth, I was able to jump start my bike drives. In the middle of September 2018, we held our first drop off at BGCDT and I was able to provide the youth of our community with over $10,000 of donated bikes. In that first drive, we encountered individuals who have never ridden a bike and we saw first-hand the need for bicycles in the community. Since that first drive, we have held two subsequent drives (2018 and 2019) that have resulted in approximately $20,000 of donated bikes to the community. Seeing the joy in the youth’s faces upon receiving their bikes, has spurred my desire to continue to collect bikes in the future and empower the youth of our community! We are already planning our 2020 bike drive so please consider donating!
Andrew Flynn - Founder of NorthShore Chapter of Pedal Empowerment
Andrew, a teammate of Justin’s on the MMTT Elite Triathlon Team, saw the impact of Pedal Empowerment was having in the community and knew there so many youth in the northern suburbs that could also benefit from this organization. Andrew contacted the Boys and Girls Club of Lake County and found a partner that welcomed him to provide bikes to those that were unable to afford them. Andrew also partnered with a local bike shop, The Pony Shop, to allow members in the community to drop off donated bikes more easily. Andrew is in the midst of collecting bikes for his first bike drive and is very thankful to all the members of the community that have donated to this worthy cause.