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Bikes for Kids in Need: Schwinn x CycleService

Drew Kries

Here at Schwinn, we’re on a mission to bring people together, remove barriers, and lead new generations into a lifelong love of biking. That’s why we’re super excited about our new partnership with CycleService, a non-profit organization that promotes youth mental wellness through cycling. Check out the interview below to learn more about the org, the people behind it, and their awesome mission to get bicycles to kids in need.

Bryce and Lucas of CycleService.

It’s nice to meet you! Would you like to introduce yourselves?

Of course! We’re a group of four college students that loves the feeling cycling and the outdoors can bring you. Lucas is studying political science at Boston College, Bryce is an Oregon State graduate with a focus on business and sustainability, Seamus is a Hobart College senior studying math and computer science, and Kayla is a sophomore at Boston College studying philosophy and finance. All play integral roles in CycleService’s mission.

The meaning of cycling for us is two-fold. Cycling is a means of mobility, in what we believe to be the most beautiful mode of transportation. But also, cycling has the power to break down barriers. Cycling provides social mobility. From a young age, having a bike for me (Lucas) meant freedom. It was my first sign of independence growing up and was also a way for me to connect with my dad while learning to ride. Because of this, cycling is a symbol of independence and a mechanism for kids to learn that they might be capable of more than they think.

CycleService logo.

What is CycleService?

CycleService is an organization committed to promoting youth mental wellness and independence through biking. We do it by giving bikes to kids at educational community bike rides while enduring a cross-country bike trek, symbolizing our dedication to this cause.

Where did the idea for CycleService come from and why is it important to you?

The idea for CycleService came about a year and a half ago but has really been in the works for much longer. When I did not have a ride to soccer practice, I biked. When going to see my friends, I biked. Some of my earliest memories are biking 10 miles with my dad to the corner store where we’d get ice cream, then bike back. It didn’t cost the 12-year-old me (Lucas) anything – just sweat and I loved that. Looking back, I realized how important this was for me and this was the seed that became CycleService.

When was CycleService officially founded and how did you get started?

CycleService was officially registered as a nonprofit in NY in February 2023, but a lot went into it beforehand. CycleService started with a pledge that we’d never take ourselves too seriously. What we set out to do stemmed from fun, and we always wanted to keep our work fun. Every planning meeting in the early days was paired with a bike ride or some physical activity. As things began to take form, we started meeting more frequently and expanding our team. We can’t go for a ride every time we meet now, but we still keep things fun to maintain the same culture we set out with from the beginning.

What are your goals for CycleService?

We envision CycleService cross-cutting barriers for the next twenty years and beyond. We’d like to see CycleService giving kids access to their first bikes across the country, summer after summer. Cyclists will be able to take part in the summer-long ride while raising money for a cause that matters and providing bikes that can change the world.

How do you balance running a non-profit with schoolwork?

It’s certainly not easy balancing CycleService and school, it’s quite the time management exercise. I think the most important skills which come from school are learning how to accurately communicate one’s ideas and how to understand others’ ideas. Once I began to see this as the ‘end’ of school as opposed to a letter grade, it gave me more clarity into the importance of what I’m learning and how to balance it with what I love.

Why did you want to work with Schwinn?

We spoke with about ten different bike companies in the early days, and we saw a wide variety of responses. What was different when we spoke with Schwinn was the sheer excitement around what we were doing. Schwinn did not say, “Sounds interesting let us get back to you in three weeks” but instead told us they loved what we were doing and were eager to support us. We found this to be very unique and immediately knew Schwinn was the ideal partner for us.

Could you tell us a little about your upcoming ride across the U.S. for CycleService events? Where are you going and what do these events include?

We’re hosting events in Knoxville, TN (June 10), Colorado Springs, CO (July 8), Ventura, CA (August 26), and Buffalo, NY (August 28). The reason they’re spaced apart is so we have time to bike to each event from our starting point, Yorktown, VA on May 29th. After our Ventura ride, we will fly back to Rochester, NY, and bike the last 90 miles into Buffalo, NY. Each event varies in structure a little, but broadly each will be hosted in partnership with a local cycling nonprofit that is helping us hand-pick the 50 recipients in each city. We will include a rotational series where kids learn the basics of building their bikes, road safety, and bike stewardship. The rotation will conclude with a short community ride!

How do you feel about your upcoming journey?

We’re incredibly stoked. If we said we weren’t a little nervous, something would be wrong. A journey like this demands respect and to make sure we’re dotting our i’s and crossing our t’s, some nerves are an encouragement. We’ve never done anything to this scale but with the mentorship we’ve received, we know we’re in the right place and set up to make something special happen this summer.

Have you done a long ride like that before?

None of us have ever done a ride to this scale before. Lucas and Bryce have spent weeks at a time living on the trail backpacking, so the space we’ll be living in is comfortable for us, but the amount of time spent in the saddle will be new.

What do you do to train?

We figured the best way to train for a bike ride is to simply ride. Lucas gets on the bike in the mornings for training around Boston, MA, and Bryce has been training on the stationary bike due to the weather in Breckenridge, CO, where each respectively lives now. We like to mix weight training in as well.

How can other people follow your story and/or get involved?

We can be found on Instagram @CycleServicetour and Linkedin at CycleService. Our website is where you can learn more about our work or contribute to our mission!

Schwinn will support Lucas and Bryce with deals and donations of bikes, helmets, and safety equipment for all 4 of their events. We can’t wait to cheer them on as they start their cross-country ride and cycling events!

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