LeBron James – NBA superstar and a hero cyclist to many

Hey, folks, Steve Stone pointed me to this article from About.com about a fella not usually associated with cycling but he is really making a difference in the lives of children because of his love of his bike. I hope you will enjoy this…find it inspirational… and contact Jessie Schwer to help her in her amazing effort to Re-Cycle Tullahoma by fixing up bikes and mentoring to children in our area. Enjoy the read…then call Jessie!

The following article is from About.com:


With apologies to true pro basketball fans, I can say I’ve never understood the NBA. It always seemed to me like a lot of posturing and one-man plays, grandstanding and not a whole lot of teamwork.

However what I’ve learned lately about superstar LeBron James has made me appreciate things in a whole new way. LeBron was selected by Sports Illustrated as its 2012 Sportsman of the Year, which is an award for his play on the basketball court and his brilliance in analyzing the game, obviously, but also (and more importantly in my opinion) for his numerous equally generous and thoughtful contributions to the community. And this especially rang true to to me in his work with disadvantaged youth, in which LeBron uses his love of bikes and bike culture as a good way to reach and motivate kids.

LeBron himself loves bikes. It’s not uncommon for him to ride his bike to home games, morning practices or other events at the stadium where his Miami Heat plays. Some credit that time on the bike with helping him build the endurance to survive the NBA’s grinding season, where he averaged over 37 minutes per game in 2011. And get this: he’s even got an ownership share in Cannondale. LeBron even participates in Miami’s Critical Mass ride, even recruiting teammates Dwyane Wade and Mario Chalmers to join him.

But as an example of the way he’s expanded his own passion for the bike to helping kids through his foundation, while playing for Cleveland Caviliers, each year from 2006-2010 in his nearby hometown of Akron, Ohio, LeBron hosted an event called “Bikeathon”. As a part of this, he’d pass out 300 bikes to underprivileged kids, then rode with them through the streets. He even set up a place where kids could go for free repairs.

All this was noble enough, but in 2011 LeBron expanded the program dramatically, creating a year-round, specially focused program emphasizing reading scores and academic achievement. Now called “Wheels for Education” it targets third-graders, which research shows is a critical point in school, a fork in the road where kids either generally are positioned for long-term success (i.e. graduation) or else eventually failing or dropping out. With that in mind, LeBron’s program enrolled 290 kids from 30 elementary schools in the city in the first group; just over 200 are participating this year. Kids in the program start out by taking part in a two-week technology-focused “fall camp” where they receive a bike at the end of the week. But that’s just a start. During the school year, the students are tracked by LeBron’s foundation and they receive any one of six voice mail messages from him tailored to specific situations, such as when they do well on a test or maybe miss a couple days of class. As part of the program, students repeatedly recite “The Pledge” where they promise to go to school, do their homework, listen to parents and teachers, to strive to be healthy and make good choices and above all, to finish school. LeBron sends letters to the kids once a month or so, including a recommended reading list with selections from his boys and fiancee. And he returns to Akron each year for graduation.

And this is what I find most impressive. While many athletic superstars have foundations, often their own participation is limited to a few “photo-op” appearances each year. LeBron James is personally involved with Wheels for Education and committed to it. This is not a recent start-up foundation to get some positive publicity. The program will track kids through high-school, nine years from when they enter the program. If LeBron has given away 300 bikes each year for the first five years, and now is supporting another 200 or more kids per year, it is conceivable that within a decade he will have touched over 3,000 kids with both a love of biking and the even more important academic support and motivation to do things now that will lay the foundation for future success.

Sportsman of the Year? Sounds more like a Humanitarian of the Year to me.

Ride For Reading Donation Box Locations

Please donate nice, new or used books for our Ride for Reading event in Tullahoma at the following locations:

In Tullahoma:
  • Celtic Cup
  • Dr. Emadian’s Office
  • Janie’s Sewing Center
  • Dr. Petty’s Office
  • Dr. McBride-Tullahoma Vision Center
  • Southern Community Bank
  • Highland Hills Church of Christ
  • US Bank
  • Death Before Dishonor Tattoo Company
In Manchester:
  • Coffee Cafe in Manchester
  • US Banks

We will be delivering books to all 4 Tullahoma Elementary Schools during May. We hope you can join us for this wonderful opportunity to enhance literacy and cycling in our community.

Please let me, Julia,  know if you can help or if you have any questions

Ride For Reading Comes to Tullahoma

rfrgraphicMay is Bike Month and new this year to Highland Rim Bicycle Club will be Ride For Reading (RfR).

In partnership with the awesome folks at RfR in Nashville, we are bringing this event to Tullahoma during the Ride for Reading week (May 5-11) This project is to benefit area children who may not have books in their home and to promote cycling as a good way to stay healthy.

Around town you will start to see collection boxes for nice, new and used children’s books, appropriate for Kindergarten through 5th grade. The first box was set up at Celtic Cup last week, others will be listed on our website and Facebook page when they are up and running.

During the RfR week, we will meet at the old West Middle School (behind the Civic Center) with our bikes equipped with backpacks, bike trailers, panniers’ or other ways to carry books on your bike. We will load up with books and take them on our bikes to elementary schools. The dates/times/schools are being determined and will be listed here as plans come together.

We hope you will want to be involved. Please read more about this great opportunity on the RfR website www.rideforreading.com.

Special thanks to Maxine Capezza, Jessie Schwer and Julia Harrison, the Highland Rim Bicycle Club RfR committee. And special thanks to RfR and Better World Books for providing the bulk of the books for the first delivery in our area.

Please let Julia Harrison secretary@hrbike.org know if you would like to help deliver books or help in any way.