SALT LAKE CITY, UT (BRAIN)—Specialized Bicycle Components has partnered with Right To Play, a non-profit that promotes a healthy and safe world by introducing children to the power of sport and play.
The partnership is one piece of Specialized’s new program, First Gear, which envisions a world where every child rides a bike. Under the agreement, Specialized will invest €100,000 a year to fund a number of gran fondo style rides across the world, each a benefit for Right To Play. The two parties will at the same time explore ways to bring cycling to more kids worldwide through Right To Play programming.
Simon Dunne, manager of global advocacy at Specialized, is thrilled about this new partnership. “We couldn’t ask for a better partner than Right To Play—they see the power of cycling to change the world, and the ability of sport to improve the lives of some of the world’s most disadvantaged children,” he said. “We’re happy to have a platform in First Gear to be able to support this kind of organization and hope that together we can introduce many new kids to cycling. The big win for us would be to see many thousands of new kids across the developing world on bikes in five years.”
Three rides will take place in Europe in the spring of 2012—in the U.K., the Netherlands, and Germany, with a fourth ride being discussed for the Nordic countries—each with a goal of between 150-300 participants.
A smaller, private fundraising ride will also take place in Canada. Organizers hope that in the first year, the rides will raise a combined $250,000 for Right To Play, and will become even stronger fundraisers as awareness grows in coming years.
Assuming the success of the inaugural rides, the partnership will continue, with the intention of adding both single and multi-day rides throughout Europe, Canada, Australasia, and the U.S. in the next three years.
Martin Barnard, director of international business development for Right To Play, sees great potential in the arrangement: “For more than 10 years, Right To Play has shown that sport has the power to fundamentally transform the lives of children," he said. “Specialized shares this vision and has made a substantial commitment in this partnership to get more kids on bikes and teach them valuable life skills along the way. We’re extremely pleased to be working together with First Gear to make this happen.”