Earlier this year, Optum Pro Cycling teamed up with volunteers from healthcare company Optum, the San Francisco 49ers, and California-based non-profit Turning Wheels for Kids to build and distribute 50 bikes—with helmets and locks—to students of the 49ers Academy, which enrolls middle school students in unique educational programs. It was an interesting sight seeing 300-plus-pound lineman and 130-pound pro cyclists wrenching shoulder to shoulder on a Raleigh or Diamondback bike.
In February of 2015, two siblings donated a bike to a child whose bike had been stolen. The joy that this small act inspired led the siblings, Luke and Natalie Bartell (ages 16 and 18), to wonder how they could impact even more children, and make a difference in their community. Thus began Gearing Up, the brainchild of Lucas. Our goal is to provide bikes, skateboards, and scooters to children in foster care, group homes, and areas of low socio-economic growth. The mission is simple: to give children a tool that can help them start gearing up for a better tomorrow.