INDIANAPOLIS -- In a technology-driven world, many young kids forego a bicycle – instead opting for a video game. Local nonprofit organization Nine13sports has been working over the last several years to change that. They just wrapped up a summer survey program with about 800 students throughout the Boys and Girls program in Central Indiana.
Executive Director Tom Hanley says “consistently, 10 percent of the students we work with here in central Indiana have never been on a bicycle before they’ve been on our bikes at Nine13sports, and that’s all ages. The other aspect of it is about a quarter of the students we work with don’t view the bicycle as a form of transportation. So you think here in Indianapolis, all the resources we put into bicycle infrastructure and really making Indianapolis a bicycle-friendly community, we are losing a whole generation.”
The organization’s classes use bicycles, stationary trainers and cutting-edge technology to grab kids’ attention. Hanley says his organization will continue to hopefully, inspire more kids to "discover" a bike — for fun and exercise.
Nine13sports currently partners with a host of Indianapolis-area schools and children’s groups.
"When we approach school districts, we've been able to do it in a way where we are really just stressing the fact that we want to serve their youth versus trying to have a business relationship as well in terms of the financial," Hanley says.
Over the last several years, Nine13sports has provided over 45,000 youth interactions to Central Indiana school districts. Funding has been generated through corporate partners and foundations and all services have been provided at no costs to schools and districts.