1×10: Shawn Holiday, Cycles 4 Hope

Welcome to 1×10, where we ask 1 inspiring human 10 questions about how they are using cycling as a force for good. Read on to learn more about Shawn Holiday, founder of non profit organization, Cycles 4 Hope. Every year NAHBS donates a portion of their proceeds to a charitable partner, and Cycles 4 Hope (instagram), based just outside of Sacramento in Roseville was this year’s chosen partner. Cycles 4 Hope (facebook) provides a bike, and with it hope, to folks who are trying to work their way out of homelessness and other situations. They do this because they know that a bike can help a person get to shelter and other basic needs, can help sustain employment, and most importantly can “bring back hope and joy that our homeless neighbors and people-in-need have lost.” Since their founding, they have given over 10,000 bikes to people across Northern California. Read on to learn about their amazing work, more about Shawn, and also how you can help! They will be at NAHBS so come say “hi” if you’re around!

1. How / why did you fall in love with cycling?J

Hopped on my first 1978 mustard yellow Mongoose BMX bike and never looked back. Cycling has always been a passion of mine from my early days of ABA BMX racing to my current sloth paced multi-day road tours down the California cost.  Cycling is a way for me to unwind, disconnect from the busy-ness of work & family and my ultimate place to simply think. Some of my best ideas personal and business wise come to me when riding.

2. Favorite bike?

Did you say bike as in singular…?  How dare you!!! I have a favorite bike for every occasion.  My current line up has me on a 2015 Trek 520 Disk for touring. For screaming descents on the dirt, I ride a 2018 Orbea Rallon. When in the mood for a single speed and sore knees, I hop on my Specialized Stumpjumper 29’r and when feeling lazy and heading out for groceries or a 6 pack of beer, I throw a leg over my bright orange RADWagon cargo e-bike.

My trusty cargo e-bike grocery and bier getter.

“…when feeling lazy and heading out for groceries or a 6 pack of beer, I throw a leg over my bright orange RADWagon cargo e-bike.”

3. What’s the most memorable ride you’ve done, and what happened?

In the summer 2015 my 15yr old son, Luke, and I rode our tour bikes down the California coast from the Oregon border to Mexico. 20 days of riding & camping over 1107 miles.  An experience we both will never forget. The best part of the adventure was all of the people we met from around the world doing the same ride. In summer 2018 my daughter, Olivia,  and I did a section of the same route from Bodega Bay to Santa Cruz over 5 days of combo bike packing and road touring.

4. Who do you admire in the cycling world?

One of my favorite riders I follow is Nino Schurter from Scott.  He has amazing talent and athletic abilities.

5. Top tip for a new rider, or a cyclist about to take on a new challenge?

Enjoy the ride and soak in the goodness. It’s not always about Strava!

“Enjoy the ride and soak in the goodness.”

6. Favorite trend or innovation in cycling?

Pedal assist E-bikes.  I use to be a hater but am now a full supporter and adopter. However I am still not a supporter of throttle based e-bikes. You need to put in some physical effort or I consider it a motorcycle.  The amazing thing about e-bikes is seeing all the people that gave up on riding bikes due to age, illness, injury…etc. getting back on bikes and having a blast.

“The amazing thing about e-bikes is seeing all the people that gave up on riding bikes due to age, illness, injury…etc. getting back on bikes and having a blast.”

7. What are you doing to use cycling as a force for good?

Cycles 4  Hope is my platform for good.  Providing free recycled bikes and repair services to people-in-need. Seeing the smile on their face of someone that has received a bike when they ride away keeps me and my volunteers going.

Cycles 4 Hope Homeless Outreach Feb 2019

“Providing free recycled bikes and repair services to people-in-need. Seeing the smile on their face of someone that has received a bike when they ride away keeps me and my volunteers going.”

8. Thinking about the work you’re doing, what do you see as the potential change for people or the planet? If you are successful, what impact will you have?

The work I do (and our dozens of volunteers) at Cycles 4 Hope is all about providing Hope, Joy, Independence & Opportunity to people-in-need with something as simple as a bicycle and message of Hope. Over the 10+ years Cycles 4 Hope has been in business, we have provided over 10,000 bikes to people that, in most cases, would not have had access to a bike. From bicycles for the homeless and incoming refugees in Sacramento, to repair clinics for children & families in Northern Mexico to partnering with relief organizations in Africa that give our bikes to people for easy access to water, medical care and school… the result is the same: more people on bikes enjoying the health & economic benefits and the pure joy of riding a bicycle.

“From bicycles for the homeless and incoming refugees in Sacramento, to repair clinics for children & families in Northern Mexico to partnering with relief organizations in Africa that give our bikes to people for easy access to water, medical care and school… the result is the same: more people on bikes enjoying the health & economic benefits and the pure joy of riding a bicycle.”

9. What’s your biggest challenge/obstacle to success?

At Cycles 4 Hope we take success one bicycle at a time… However the biggest challenge we face on a regular basis is organization and bike storage.  Keeping hundreds of incoming and outgoing bikes of all different types and sizes is always a daily quest for organization.

On another note…one of the challenges I try to ignore and hope we are changing is the world of haters out there that criticize Cycles 4 Hope for giving away free bikes & repair services.  Comments like “you are giving bikes to people that do not deserve them…” or “you are enabling people to travel where they should not be allowed or welcomed…” or “you should make people earn their bikes as there is no free lunch in the USA… ” Instead of letting these types of comments get me down, I use them as fuel and validation that we are doing the right thing.

“…the biggest challenge we face on a regular basis is organization and bike storage. Keeping hundreds of incoming and outgoing bikes of all different types and sizes is always a daily quest for organization.”

10. How can people help? Where can they learn more about your work?

Glad you asked.  Being a 501c3 nonprofit that is 100% run by volunteers, we are always in need of bikes, parts and financing.  So if you are reading this…donate the old bike & box of parts you have in the garage or dig deep into your pockets and support us financially. In addition to these, we are always looking for more partners to expand our reach as we get bike requests from all over the world.  I would love someday to have Cycles 4 Hope partners & affiliates around the globe that can provide free bikes & repair services to people-in-need around their local regions.

“we are always in need of bikes, parts and financing.  So if you are reading this…donate the old bike & box of parts you have in the garage…”

Shawn Holiday is the founder of non profit Cycles 4 Hope, providers of bikes and hope to folks working to get out of homelessness in Northern California. When he’s not running Cycles 4 Hope he’s off on bike adventures with his kids (what an inspiration!) and/or carting beer around on his awesome e-cargo bike!

Edited by John Kim. When he’s not out for a ride, John uses his expertise in Corporate Social Responsibility to help companies do well by doing good. Find him at virtcyc@gmail.com or VirtCyc on twitter or instagram.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s