BRINGING THE JOY OF GETTING AROUND BY BIKE TO MORE STUDENTS IN MARIN!
Cory’s Ride is a program of MCBC that brings the benefits of bicycling to as many Marin students as possible, particularly those who could not otherwise afford the chance. Started in 2020 in memory of Cory Leonoudakis, Cory’s Ride is making the health and mobility benefits of cycling a basic right, not just a privilege, for children in our county.
It’s going to take all of us, working together, to make this program possible. If you’d like to become a member of Team Cory’s Ride, please click below:
2020 – Cory’s Ride Provides Loaner Bikes for Elementary and Middle School Education
Our Safe Routes to Schools program provides bicycle safety education and encourages families to get around by bike or foot. Offered in every elementary and most middle schools in Marin County, Safe Routes has made a huge impact on how students get around in Marin. Unfortunately, not all of the children served through the program have the means to afford a bicycle. With the help of Cory’s Ride funders in 2020, we were able to purchase 55 high-quality loaner bicycles. These are used by students when they do not have a bike of their own.
2021 – Cory’s Ride Launches at San Rafael High SCHOOL
In 2021, the Cory’s Ride program worked with 20 high school students over the course of a year. They received their very own bike, all necessary accessories, and leadership training. Curriculum included a series of classes teaching them how to safely get where they need to go by bike, how to properly care for their bike, and how to stand up as leaders for bicycle mobility in their communities. Ultimately, these students will serve as future cycling mentors and help lower the barriers for other high school students to get around by bike.
Students in the Cory’s Ride program had to first submit an application, highlighting why they needed a bike and what they are personally hoping to gain from their participation. Once accepted, students participated in a mix of virtual and in-person classes in both Spanish and English. The classes were tailored to fit students’ school and work schedules. Many of the students expressed that receiving a bicycle would greatly enhance their transportation opportunities, while others reflect that it allows them to experience more nature, helps lower stress and anxiety, and provides good exercise.
Upon completion of the program, students reflected on their experience and continue to meet regularly for group rides and team/leadership building. Cory’s Ride graduate Jasmin Cuevas had this to say about her time in the program: “I learned to be more open to people, I learned how to change a tire, how to put the chain correctly, I learned what each thing on the bicycle is for, I learned a new route, and I learned that it is very nice to enjoy bicycles.”
Where We’re Headed
Our Spring 2021 cohort officially graduated from the program in March 2022. And our Fall 2021 cohort will keep meeting for monthly group rides and leadership training until September 2022. Both of these groups met in February for a 25 mile round trip ride out to Angel Island. This is the longest ride any of them had ever completed by bike! We are so proud to see how far these students have come. Many of them are applying and awaiting responses from colleges. And they continue to use their bicycles for recreation, to get themselves to jobs and internships, and to help out with family needs.
This spring, we recruited another group of 16 students for the Cory’s Ride program. This time, students were from Sinaloa Middle School in Novato. Half of the students already had bicycles, while the other half received bicycles. Just like the cohorts from San Rafael High School, this latter group of students will keep their bike and gear at the end of their year-long commitment. As well, all the middle schoolers that are participating will receive important bike safety education and leadership training. Our goal is to continue building the Cory’s Ride community, bring all of these groups together, and have students mentor and support each other.
2022 And Beyond
We’re recruiting another group of high school students for the 2022-2023 school year starting this August. And, we also plan to hire two student interns this fall. Intern responsibilities will include organizing group rides for students, attending City Council, BPAC, and other community advocacy meetings, developing a new curriculum for the Cory’s Ride program, organizing an agency and elected official ride through the Canal neighborhood, and more. We want to empower youth to take action to promote environmental sustainability and social justice, especially as it relates to equal access and safe infrastructure to enable green travel. Our goal is for them to become advocates for their communities.
In May, we were approved for a generous grant from the Marin Community Foundation (MCF) to help amplify our efforts. This funding opportunity, aimed at advancing equitable climate action, will allow us to focus on the Canal neighborhood and improve mobility access for youth in that area. We’re extremely grateful for this chance to develop strong connections and make a real impact in the community. Thank you MCF and the Buck Family Fund!
In other good news, the Outride Fund awarded Cory’s Ride a matching grant in June! We were so honored and excited to partner with Outride to bring the joy of cycling to more youth, and to make it more accessible, equitable, and inclusive. The Outride Fund matched every Cory’s Ride donation 1:1 during a specific funding period, and we received $25,700 from it! Thank you Outride!
We’re continuously applying for other competitive grants to keep the Cory’s Ride trajectory moving forward. Last but certainly not least, we shot a promotional video to showcase and promote the program. Check it out here!
It’s going to take all of us working together to make this program possible. If you’d like to become a member of Team Cory’s Ride, please click below.
Cory Leonoudakis was an outstanding young athlete who embraced the joy of riding bicycles when he was just 6 years old. Cory loved mountain biking most and would ride by himself to the edge of China Camp behind his house under the watchful eye of his mother, Suzanne. He would spend hours and hours in his backyard building ramps, jumps and banked turns. He rode his personal track everyday, getting air and powering through the banked turns. As he got older, he eventually ventured further into China Camp for steeper hills and greater challenges. He was a great climber and even better descender, wearing a full chin strap helmet and goggles. He could really fly when descending a hill!
Cycling provided Cory with a great group of friends, incredible fitness, time in the great outdoors and an amazing father/son bond. Cory and his Dad, Tim, rode all over Marin including Mt. Tam, Tamarancho and Railroad Grade. His favorite was the Turkey Day Ride on Pine Mountain. Every Thanksgiving dinner, Cory and his family toasted their gratitude and appreciation for amazing adventures they had together on the bike!
The Cory’s Ride program grew out of the Leonoudakis family’s desire to harness the power of the bike in new ways to help young people get to school and embrace the ownership responsibilities that come with it. A bike can also deliver the same joy of life that Cory experienced, including wonderful friendships, great fitness, and enjoying the freedom of riding outside in the fresh air all around Marin! Cory would be so proud to know that this amazing opportunity and experience is being given to high school students. Most importantly, using bikes to provide mobility to get to school and enhance their education is such a HUGE value add for young students. He would just be SO STOKED!