Location: Tucson, AZ
Every April, dozens of all-ages teams on bikes take to the streets of Tucson to scour monuments and art installations for the answers to riddles and compete in “feats of strength and stupidity.” So goes the El Grupo’s self-described “silliest fundraiser of the year,” an annual scavenger hunt that raises money for the organization’s mission of empowering youths through bicycles and making cycling accessible to kids of all socioeconomic levels. The New Belgium Brewing-sponsored event has been so successful that cycling advocates in other cities often ask El Grupo Director Daniela Diamente how to organize a similar event. The key is the family-friendly nature of the event, she says—with a little civic pride mixed in.
“Our event is really Tucson,” Diamente says. “People who know and live downtown tend to do really well. We have almost as many kids as we do adults! The race for the trophy or just the idea of completing the event is as fun for a seven-year-old on their own bike as it is for an adult—they’re both just excited that they got to explore downtown Tucson.”
Bike Life Tucson
A POWERful Story
By Daniela Diamente
Daniel had no idea just how profoundly bicycles would change his life. How could he? He was only 11 years old.
The group home where Daniel was living (at that time) brought kids down to a local bike co-op to do community service hours. Daniel noticed that there was a build-a-bike class and asked how he could join. Without hesitation, the instructors made it possible for Daniel, with his warm smile and eager eyes, to take the 8-week course, and thereby changed the course of his life. But they didn’t know that at the time, either.
One whole year after taking the course, and not only holding tools for the first time but also learning how to use them, Daniel called the instructors.
“This is Danielson. Remember me? You said I had to be 12 years old to join the bike riding team, and I just turned 12.”
El Grupo Alumni takes Skills Abroad
By Julia Liatti
My first and last (at least for a while) 24 Hours in the Old Pueblo events both began on Valentine’s Day. It’s a really romantic sentiment…if you’re into dirt and port-o-potties, but otherwise I’d chalk it up to coincidence.
The first time I went to this event in February 2009 I “raced” as a high school junior. I’d only actually ridden a mountain bike approximately three (3) times prior to that. And this February 2015, as a recent college grad, I had a large hand in organizing El Grupo’s camp since the team was split into two events that same weekend. And, after all, I had helped out at three other years’ events.
I’d say I was rather under prepared both of those times! And yet, they both have made me who I am and helped me get to where I am going – which is off to Indonesia for the Peace Corps in only a few days!
El Grupo on KGUN 9 TV- The Morning Blend Show
Six El Grupo cyclists were recently selected to represent the United States at the Tour de l’Abitibi in July.
El Grupo has never had so many riders participate and qualify for the race.
“The selection camp they attended in Flagstaff with USA Cycling had fierce competition that flew in from across the country,” El Grupo director Daniela Diamente wrote in an email. “It is unprecedented that this many young riders from the same town and the same team make this selection.”
The riders selected are: Daniel Son, Nick Harris, Keenan & Ben Duncan, Christian Santa Cruz, and Logan Boyd.
“Each of these young men have worked tremendously hard over the years, overcoming many obstacles in their lives, and have found a path through El Grupo and riding bikes,” “And they are fast!”
The trip to the race will cost about $3,500 for each rider and they have all set up crowdfunding sites to help raise money to get there.
Here’s a snippet from Daniel’s story from his site:
When I was 10 years old I was pulled out of my home because of abuse and neglect. From there, I continuously jumped from group home to foster home. For the next four years I tried to find direction in my life. But from everyone making decisions for me and a group of negative peers, I was beginning to spiral into something bad. Luckily I was always interested in BMX, which I was never really good at, but I finally decided to get a bike and try. This is when I met the man Ignacio who would become one of the most important people in my life. When he approached me more than 4 years ago asking if I wanted to ride on his team, I thought it was the coolest thing ever and immediately said yes. When I started I was nothing special; I had hardly done any exercise in my life. But for some reason through all the physical pain I kept with it. Only later did I realize exactly why I did. It was because up to that point in my life I had never felt freedom. I had never felt that I was in control of my life.
Here’s how Diamente said you can help get them to the most prestigious race for junior men:
To make a tax-deductible donation to make sure all go to Canada:
http://www.elgrupocycling.org/donate/ Please include “Canada” in the comments
You can also choose to help out by going to each of their “GoFundMe” sites:
- Daniel: http://www.gofundme.com/adbgv0
- Nick: http://www.gofundme.com/aekd68
- Keenan & Ben: http://www.gofundme.com/aac5x8
- Christian: http://www.gofundme.com/ada7ck
- Logan: http://www.gofundme.com/loganboyd-needs-your-help
Every bit counts and helps to make sure that we all can be proud and represented well by these exceptional young men.
From the Durango Herald, June 19, 2014:
Fourteen-year-old Isabel Hausrath, front, and Ben Schroeder, 15, warm up for Wednesday’s Zia Town Series race in and around Ska Brewing Co. Sponsored by Zia Taqueria, Ska Brewing Co. and Durango DEVO, the short-track and enduro races are intended as training races for local professionals and other competitors as well as recreational riders who want to improve their skills, says race organizer Grady James. Wednesday’s race was the fifth of the season. Isabel is the daughter of Andrew Hausrath and Megan McEvoy, and Ben is the grandson of Ida Blockett. They are visiting from Tucson, Ariz., with El Grupo, a youth cycling organization. For more information about the series, visit www.durangodevo.com and click on Zia Town Series.