Two-time U.S. Olympic cyclist Giddeon Massie led a group of students from L.A. Leadership Academy on a fun-filled outing to the AEG Velodrome in Carson last Saturday morning.
The youngsters are members of the school’s Bike Club, which was established a few years ago by PE teacher David Villanuevaand Andreas Krumpl, a 6th grade math/science teacher.
The two teachers/friendswere empathetic and understood a lot of the issues their students were telling them about their troubled home lives so they decided to start a Bike Club so that kids would have an after-school social activity and could avoid/fight the negative influences infesting their community like gangs, drugs, homelessness and racism in order to inspire and teach their students that there is a positive path to achieve their dreams and goals in a safe, secure and healthy environment.
Meanwhile, Massie had been mentoring kids at L.A. Leadership Academy for several years through his involvement in ReadySetGold, a program which invites local Olympians and Paralympians to visit LAUSD school classes or assemblies to talk about physical fitness, healthy lifestyle choices and their personal anecdotes that bring the Olympic Games and Olympic ideals into the world of the students.
The Academy’s Bike Club originally started with just a handful of students, but with hard work, perseverance and Giddeon planting the seed of using bicycles and bicycling as a motivating force, the club has grown substantially to nearly 40 members.
The kids spent more than two hours at the world-class training center, where they received expert instruction from Massie as they rode circles around the indoor track.
“It was a special experience for the students to get the opportunity to ride at a world-class cycling facility. I hope that we provided them with a day that they will always remember.And who knows, some of these kids may wind up competing at the 2028 Olympic Games right here in Los Angeles,” said Massie.
The Bike Club rides about 10 miles through the neighborhood every Friday after school. Parents and other teachers even join in.
The Club has operated solely off donations of bikes, equipment and apparel. They recently launched a website, www.LALABikeClub.com.