Some may say that it is redundant to have two posts in a row about Ride for Reading but I think it is fantastic. I really can’t get enough of this stuff. If you catch me at the pub after a few pints and ask me about these book deliveries, I will probably ramble on for an hour about how powerful it is. It is just that cool.
May 5th – 11th was National Ride for Reading Week and the goal was to do as many book deliveries as possible all across the country. I really wanted to have a delivery in my town but I realized I was already stretched too thin this spring to pull it off. I was emailing back and forth with Mathew, the founder of Ride for Reading, and I explained how I would probably have to wait until next school year before I could get something going in my community. At this point it was already March and it looked like time had run out. Mathew just told me “I bet if you keep talking about it, all the right people will raise their hands to help”.
So I kept babbling about these bike rides that deliver books to kids. Sure enough, a core team of about a half dozen super motivated people came together and we set the ball in motion. Within the first 10 minutes of this meeting it was very clear that this was going to happen.
Fast forward three weeks to 9am on a Friday morning at the Pivot Cycles headquarters here in Tempe, AZ. Where 50 volunteers were stuffing over 1000 books into trailers, paniers, baskets, and backpacks. Everyone was so excited that we were all packed and ready to go an hour early. Instead of waiting around, our friends from T.B.A.G. picked a route to the school that was a bit longer so we could all start riding. It was one impressive parade of smiling faces.
After a little 20 minute parade, we arrived at the school to 500 cheering kids. It was nothing short of awesome. If you want to see what it is like to be a Literacy Rock Star, watch this video. At about 2:15 you can see our very own Bacardi Marty working the crowd and spreading the message (and helping out the teachers a little bit too).
Once Marty finished his amazing speech it turned into a feeding frenzy for books. The kids were fired up and this was a lot of fun.
To be honest, I’m pretty terrified of children. I never know how to interact with them and it always seems forced and lame when I try. So I set off to look for my kinda kids. The kids who were already sitting inside, away from everybody else, and reading their books. I found these guys.
I sat down on the carpet and asked them why they picked the books they did. The big man on the left looked at me and said “Because it looked like something I had never seen before”.
YES! I was speechless for a second and all I could muster up was a high five. After a few minutes the kids started asking me for my autograph. I have handed out a few phone numbers in my day, but never any autographs. What the hell do I write? I went with the first thing that came to mind and signed it about 20 times:
Ride. Read. Smile.
I made my escape a little early to attend to some work issues but I was flying high all day. I would encourage you to try and do this in your town. Go on facebook and give Ride for Reading a like to learn more and see what they have coming up next. We may be drunkcyclist and we may be grumpy trash talkers from time to time. But this is one awesome thing to be a part of. Spread the word.
…keep it dirtyby