Tuesday, February 24, 2015

4th Annual Ryde-A-Thon Wrap Up!

A feeling of electricity filled the room as 25 cyclists pushed themselves harder than they ever have before. Everyone is concentrating on what they are doing as upbeat, exhilarating music and the encouraging words of an instructor known as "Dr. Feel-Good" energizes the cyclists forward.

This is the adrenaline-charged atmosphere of RydeOn! Cycling Studio in Saline, MI as cyclists are not only riding for their own fitness, but to raise funds and support for a bike program in their community aimed at helping children with disabilities. The 4th Annual Ryde-A-Thon in collaboration with Programs to Educate All Cyclists (PEAC) and RydeOn! Cycling Studio took place on Sunday, February 8th, 2015 and raised over $3,500.

Brigid Lossing, owner of RydeOn! Cycling Studio generously offered her studio, certified instructors and time to help make this fundraiser a success. Lossing said the partnership between PEAC and RydeOn! Studio is an easy one because both organizations have similar goals of providing a sense of community and fitness for all. PEAC's motto, "Everyone Can Ride" also rings true for the RydeOn! Studio where people with all different fitness levels and goals can ride together in a welcoming and inclusive environment.

The money raised from this fundraiser will directly support the PEAC Summer Program in Saline. This program is structured to work with individuals with disabilities to identify and achieve their personal cycling goals. The goals could vary from balancing a two-wheel bike, riding on a tandem bicycle, or developing safe community riding skills. The summer program site in Saline works with over 30 students twice weekly June through August.

Among the 74 participants at the 4th Annual Ryde-A-Thon was Lisa Rentschler, whose son Connor has been a part of the PEAC Summer Program in Saline for many years. Connor learned to ride a two-wheel bike with PEAC and is now mastering his community riding skills. Lisa says Connor was able to get over the fear of riding, and now feels confident to ride his bike around his neighborhood.

Sponsors of the event include American Cycle and Fitness, Bearclaw Coffee Co., Busch's Fresh Food Market, Pampered Chef Consultant Amy Robke, Treefort Bike Shop, Janet Horvat and Wheels in Motion. 

For more information about PEAC or RydeOn! Cycling Studio, visit www.bikeprogram.org or rydeoncycling.com

Monday, January 26, 2015

Toledo Community Foundation Awards Grant To Programs to Educate All Cyclists to Fund Bicycle Program for Students with Disabilities

             The Board of Trustees of Toledo Community Foundation has approved a grant to Programs to Educate All Cyclists (PEAC) in the amount of $20,000. These funds will fully fund a two day a week summer program in the Toledo community teaching students with disabilities how to safely ride a bicycle. In addition, the Toledo Community Foundation’s grant will provide funds for PEAC to work with the Toledo Ability Center at Cricket Camp.
The mission of the PEAC is to empower individuals with disabilities through cycling. The summer cycling program is structured to help individuals with disabilities identify and achieve cycling goals. PEAC believes everyone can ride, and creates specialized curriculum for every individual who wishes to be involved in cycling. Biking plays a critical role in increasing community access, fostering social involvement and self esteem, and promoting healthy lifestyles among individuals with disabilities. The Toledo Community Foundation and PEAC are happy to bring this program to the Toledo community.
Toledo Community Foundation, Inc. is a public charitable organization created by citizens of our community to enrich the quality of life for individuals and families in our area. In existence since 1973, the Foundation has more than 670 funds with assets of approximately $219 million. The Foundation provides philanthropic services for individuals, families, businesses and corporations to meet their charitable giving needs. For more information on the Foundation, visit the organization’s website at www.toledocf.org or follow us on Facebook.

As a non-profit organization, Programs to Educate All Cyclists (PEAC) would not exist without the generous support of our donors and sponsors. We humbly accept monetary gifts, as well as equipment and other in-kind donations. For more information on PEAC or how you can support it’s community efforts, visit bikeprogram.org.

Monday, January 12, 2015


Thank you for being a committed supporter of PEAC in our annual giving campaign! We are so grateful for your continued belief in our program and mission. Through your generous donations, PEAC continues to make a difference in the lives of individuals with disabilities.  Every donation makes a big impact on each of our students and helps them to reach their goals!

Due to your overwhelming generosity, our annual giving campaign raised money for 2 new tandem bicycles, 1 student sponsored for the entire Summer Program, 1 new mountain bike, 4 hours of the Summer Program for 6 students, Celebration of Cycling registrations for 10 students, 8 helmets, and 4 tire tubes. Your commitment to helping PEAC expand and become an even more successful organization is sincerely appreciated.

Thanks to you, our remarkable supporters, PEAC continues to change lives for the better. Aaron Sweet, a student who has been a part of PEAC for many years, is generally quiet and soft spoken. However, Aaron really comes out of his shell during the summer bike program and loves to provide words of encouragement for new riders, saying, “Great job, you can do it!” By creating a positive environment and being a good example to others, Aaron has become a leader who inspires more students to reach their cycling goals.  Your belief in us truly helps make a difference and continues to empower individuals with disabilities throughout every aspect of their lives.

Thank you again for your generous support of our efforts.

Best Wishes,

PEAC Staff

Monday, December 15, 2014

Donate to Make a Difference in 2014

Happy Holidays from PEAC!

Thank you for your active participation in PEAC (Programs to Educate All Cyclists) this year! 2014 was a very successful year. We celebrated our 10th anniversary of empowering individuals with disabilities through cycling and have many things to celebrate thanks to your continued support!

Some of our 2014 accomplishments include:

  • Reached over 630 students in our Summer Program, Active Transportation Initiative and Private Lessons 
  • Launched Summer Program site in Lansing 
  • Purchased building to serve as the future headquarters for PEAC operations
  •  Embarked on 5th year of Active Transportation Programming in 3 different counties 

This year, over 200 students worked toward achieving a cycling goal, in our Summer Program, and we love to share Jarrell’s success with you! Jarell is 14 years old and this was his first year participating in the Summer Program. On assessment day, he struggled with pedaling forward on the two-wheel bike. However, Jarell is a very positive and determined student, always ready to push forward and to keep trying to reach his goal of riding a two-wheeled bike. His perseverance paid off by the second week of the program! For the remainder of the summer, Jarell concentrated on bike handling and control and can now ride his bike in the community. He rides with his sister, Ariel, and uses his bike to exercise, visit friends and travel within the community. Due to his new found freedom, Leona, Jarell’s mom, says “PEAC has helped make him one of the happiest kids around!”

With your support, we can continue to help students like Jarell achieve his dreams through cycling. Please consider making PEAC a recipient of your holiday giving with a tax deductible donation. Thank you again for your continued support of PEAC and happy holidays!

Below are just a few ways that your donation makes a difference to the students who participate in PEAC programs.

$10 = 2 tire tubes
$25 = 1 helmet
$40 = 1 hour of Summer Program for 1 student 
$100 = Celebration of Cycling registrations for 4 students
$150 = 1 windtrainer to help our students with pedaling
$200 = 1 hour of Summer Program for 6 students
$400 = New mountain bike
$530 = 1 student sponsor for the entire Summer Program
$1000 = New tandem bike

If you want to invest in and support PEAC to continue to overcome barriers and help students with disabilities achieve personal milestones through cycling; please make checks payable to PEAC and return to 32 N. Washington, Suite 1, Ypsilanti, MI 48197 or donate online .

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Thankful for YOU!

Waterman's Window

A note from the head honcho.

We at PEAC have so much to be thankful for this year. First, we are grateful for theparticipants in our programs who work hard to overcome personal challenges, and their supportive families who share in our vision of empowering and challenging their children.  Our annual Celebration of Cycling Ride was an opportunity for our students to showcase this dedication and commitment. September 13th was cold and rainy, but it could not dampen the enthusiasm of our students or supporters.
Second, we are thankful for the continued support of SMART towards our Active Transportation Program. This fall marks the start of our fifth year of the program with sites at Roosevelt High School, the Jo Brighton Skills Center, Visions Unlimited, Sterling Heights High School and Warren Cousino High School. This program continues to enable students to increase independence and achieve greater access in their communities. Check out this video in case you missed it earlier this year!
Finally, PEAC is grateful to our committed staff members and volunteers.  This fall, 25 students from Roeper High School in Birmingham, MI and 8 students fromCircle K at the University of Michigan volunteered their time to clean up our building, prepare our bikes for storage, and painted a base color on all of our Celebration of Cycling signs.  Additionally, we have a dedicated team of talented local mechanics that meets each month to make sure our cycles are at their best.  
Thank you for all of your support!
Happy Thanksgiving,
John Waterman 

                                              Donate to Make A Difference
Happy Thanksgiving from PEAC's Development Desk! We are truly thankful for all of our families, staff, sponsors and community partners who keep our programs up and running. This Tuesday, December 2nd marks #GivingTuesday.  On this day, charities, nonprofits, businesses, community centers and families around the world will come together for one purpose: to celebrate generosity and to give. Tuesday also marks the kickoff off PEAC's annual giving campaign. This campaign will run through the end of the year and our goal is to raise $4,500. Visit bikeprogram.org/donate to make a contribution. We appreciate you!  

State Senator Morris Hood
Travels with ATP!
At the end of October, five students from our Active Transportation Program at Roosevelt High School shared their public transportation knowledge with State Senator Morris Hood on a SMART bus trip to Panera Bread. Over coffee and hot chocolate, the senator and our students engaged in a discussion about disabilities, personal goals, and the importance of the bus. Thank you to our students for sharing their story, and to Senator Hood for his enthusiasm and engagement!

               Council of Disability Concerns Recognizes PEAC's Joe Altizer
On October 24th, Joe Altizer, former Summer Program intern turned full-time PEAC staff member, received recognition from the University of Michigan Council of Disability Concerns. Those who receive recognition promote acceptance and awareness of people with disabilities and are advocates for the civil rights of those with disabilities. Alitizer’s nominator says, “He is an tireless advocate of people with disabilities and encourages independence by teaching that they too can ride a bike.”

Nathan Bower Act Signed into Law
Great Work, PEAC Student Advocates!
On October 14th, the Nathan Bower Act, which will add two hours of bicycle and motorcycle awareness and safety to Michigan driver’s education curriculum, was signed into law by Governor Rick Snyder.The law is named after 19-year-old Nathan Bower who was tragically killed in a motorist-motorcyclist accident in 2009. James Kleimola, Conor Waterman, and Shawn Kohsman of PEAC joined the League of Michigan Bicylists and Nathan's family to testify in front of the Michigan House of Representatives and Senate in support of this law, and were part of the ceremonial signing with Governor Snyder. We are very proud of this team of advocates, and grateful for this law that will make Michigan roads safer for all users.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Michigan Hand Cycle Racing Series Season Wrap-up

By Jovan Gonczar

As the popularity of marathons grows, hand cycle racing also becomes an increasingly popular sport and opportunity for those with disabilities. The Michigan Hand Cycle Racing Series (MHRS) highlights a few key races in the state in order to bring a more competitive edge to racers and spectators and also to increase awareness of the sport.  “By selecting only five races for the season, we are hoping to draw added attention to a few specific races to increase participants and spectators”, says John Waterman, one of the founders of the MHRS.

The Michigan Hand Cycle Racing Series includes the 5/3 River Run, the Meijer State Games Time Trial, the Capital City Cycling Classic, the Flint Crim, and the Grand Rapids Marathon. In order to be eligible to win the overall series, racers must register through the series and have participated in at least two selected races throughout the season.

The series wrapped up its season with the Grand Rapids Marathon on October 19, 2014. The affirmed winner of the 2014 MHRS is Travis Peruski of Linden, MI.  Peruski says, “I am amazed at what I can do. I certainly give it everything I can every time I train and every time I race. I try to share all the information to racers who have just begun. I love to get beat because it pushes me to try.”

Bryan Wilkinson, another MHRS competitor, has been hand cycling since 2004 after being paralyzed in a dirt bike accident. Wilkinson says he was immediately hooked on competitive hand cycling after realizing the health benefits it can offer to people with disabilities.

MHRS Competitor Brad Baumann of Zeeland, MI notes “(hand cycling) is great therapy for the stress of life.”

If you are interested in participating in this event next year or becoming a sponsor of the series, please contact Joe Alitizer (joseph@bikeprogram.org) or John Waterman (jwaterman@bikeprogram.org). Sponsors of the MHRS include PEAC (Programs to Educate All Cyclists), Fusion Medical, and Athletes with Disabilities Network.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Joe Altizer, PEAC Staff Member, Receives Well Deserved Recognition by Council of Disability Concerns

 The University of Michigan’s Council for Disability Concerns holds an annual award ceremony presenting certificates of appreciation and the James T. Neubacher award.  James T. Neubacher was an alumnus of the University of Michigan who was a columnist for The Detroit Free Press and an advocate for equal rights and opportunities for people with disabilities. These prestigious awards are given to strong leaders and advocates for the disability community.

Anna Ercoli Schnitzer, Chair of the James T. Neubacher Award Committee presented the awards. She described self-transcendence as “reaching out beyond yourself to other people.”  Those who receive the awards promote acceptance and awareness of people with disabilities in all aspects of community life and are advocates for the civil rights of those with disabilities.

Joe Altizer was a recipient of a 2014 University of Michigan Council for Disability Concerns Certificate of Appreciation. He was a part of University of Michigan’s Dance Marathon for four years and served as the family relations chair and also the therapy relations chair. In addition, he is part of PEAC, Programs to Educate All Cyclists. PEAC teaches children and adults with disabilities how to ride a bicycle and use it safely as a means of viable transportation.
Alitizer’s nominator says, “Joe’s dedication has touched the lives of families and hundreds of community members through his dedication with Dance Marathon. He is an tireless advocate of people with disabilities and encourages independence by teaching that they too can ride a bike.”

The ceremony was held on October 24, 2014 at Rackham Graduate School at University of Michigan.
Altizer teaching bicycle safety and the rules of the road to students.
(Photo/ Liz Horvat)