As members of KÜHL's Cycling team, we strive to build positive cycling culture within our communities. We support local shops and clubs, and we promote active, healthy lifestyles on and off the bike. Earlier this year, several members of the team noticed an alarming trend. We saw more and more people - especially children - riding bikes through our neighborhoods and local trails, without helmets. Our team is devoted to helmet wearing, so we wanted to do something to protect those precious little heads. That's how the idea for Protectin' Little Noggins was born.
We reached out to KÜHL founder and CEO, Kevin Boyle, to pitch our idea. The cycling team would raise funds to purchase kids' bike helmets, and then partner with local fire stations to fit and distribute the helmets. With a personal donation from Kevin, KÜHL's backing, an amazing discount from Bell Helmets, and support from The Bike Shoppe in Ogden, our funds purchased 110 helmets for local kids.
We distributed most of the helmets in Utah, but our Midwest riders in Minnesota and Wisconsin were excited to get involved, too. The Minnesota riders partnered with Little Bellas, a program dedicated to mentoring young girls through mountain biking. At a time when many activities were canceled or unavailable, Little Bellas implemented a COVID-friendly protocol to keep girls pedaling throughout the pandemic.
In Wisconsin, the team partnered with Wisconsin Bike Fed to donate helmets for use in their Safe Routes for School program. This federally funded program aims to increase the number and safety of kids walking and biking to school; so far, the Bike Fed has educated more than 30,000 students in communities across Wisconsin.
The entire team enjoyed giving back during this crazy year. At a time when many of our races and events were canceled, we were able to make a difference through the sport we love. We can't wait to continue this program next year!
Linda Lawless LaStayo is the team leader of KÜHL's Cycling team, based out of Salt Lake City, Utah.