Last June Vega and Lula Piper, thirteen year old twins living on Bainbridge Island, still hadn’t completed the community service project assigned by their middle school teacher. Then it occurred to them: Instead of performing a typical community service assignment like volunteering at a nonprofit organization, “why not do something we love?”
That realization led them to do a bike-a-thon for a bicycle organization. With assistance from their dad, they browsed the internet and discovered Washington Bikes. They thought our organization looked the “coolest” and liked our campaign for Safe Routes to School. Building bike routes to make travel safer made sense to them. Consequently they chose to contribute to Washington Bikes.
Lula (l), Vega (r) after their trek in California
They asked for sponsors after school at pick up time. Their goal was to try to ride their bikes, in a school week, the distance that they commuted each day to and from school by car. They recruited 30 contributors and raised nearly a thousand dollars!
Former Executive Director Barbara Culp praised the girls saying, “Vega and Lula demonstrated that everyone can make a difference, no matter how large or small, in their community. The Bicycle Alliance membership, board, and staff thank them for hosting their own bike-a-thon and finding people to donate to their efforts.”
So what does the sister bicycling team plan to do next? During the months of July and August they accompanied their father on a road trip to California and brought their bikes. “It’s definitely not as bike-friendly in California,” they said. On the brighter side, “it was very flat, a good thing if you’re touring.”
Vega and Lula have been riding bikes since they were three or four. They currently get around on Raleigh mountain bikes. When asked how it feels to ride on a bike rather than in a car, they responded, “It’s more scenic, you get to enjoy the view more than if you’re zipping by in a car.”
The girls agreed they enjoy biking because it’s a fun way to get exercise. They’d also like to extend a big thank you to all their sponsors, because without them “this would not have been possible.”
If you’re dreaming of a fun, creative way to raise awareness and support for bicycling in your community, and benefit Washington Bikes in the process, we welcome your ideas. Contact Fund Development and Membership Manager Jack Hilovsky with your idea at jackh@BicycleAlliance.org!