Durango Non-Profit Brings Bikes to Kids

March 12, 2024

Durango-based non-profit Wheelie Cool operates with one goal: get more kids on bikes as early as possible. In past years, founder Fynn Funke has built trails near local schools to accomplish that mission. In 2024, Funke’s non-profit will host a series of week-long bike rodeos at Durango elementary schools to teach young students how to ride. By Connor Shreve. This story is sponsored by Payroll Department and Freddie’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers.

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A local nonprofit is gearing up for cycling season. You're watching the local News Network, brought to you by Payroll Department and Freddy's Frozen Custard and Steak Burgers. I'm Connor Shreve.

Fynn Funke founded Wheelie Cool with the goal of getting as many kids on bikes as early as possible. He works with local elementary schools to make it happen.

I've just noticed there's a lot of younger kiddos who didn't get the chance to learn how to ride a bike when they should have. And then you get older, whether you're later in elementary school or in middle school, high school, and then it's really intimidating to ride a bike 'cause they get a lot bigger, the crashes get more serious, right, and so I feel like if the kids aren't given that opportunity, like right at the beginning, like right, kindergarten to second grade, it becomes a lot tougher to learn how to ride that bike.

It's an idea inspired by his own cycling experience.

So I went to college at The Fort. I graduated in 2014 and had the pleasure of riding for the bike team for a year and fell in love with mountain biking. It was really a positive impact for my life. And so when it came time to choose the passion project, that seemed like the right avenue to go down was bikes.

As the only person who makes up Wheelie Cool, Funke has explored a variety of ways to achieve his mission.

I worked a lot with Bayfield Primary School, where we built a little flow trail for them at the back of their little PE area. And we also supplied them with a fleet of 24 Strider bikes that live at the school. The Juniper School also has a fleet of Strider bikes that we helped supply. And the goal with those Strider bikes is to make sure that all kids get the chance to ride a bike and learn how to ride a bike before they graduate second grade.

In this cycling paradise, it's easy to forget, not every kid grows up on the trails, which makes Wheelie Cool's work especially impactful.

I think it's really good, mentally, to ride a bike and I think it's great for kids to learn how to ride a bike too, because it teaches them more things about mobility and it takes 'em a little bit faster than your two legs will carry you. So it's a lot of fun.

Learning how to ride then opens up a whole cycling community to the kids.

And they have DEVO who offers like scholarships for kids. They offer bikes for kids. So really the the primary goal of my nonprofit when I started it was to make sure that all the kids here kind of get to learn how to ride a bike by the time they're in second grade, but we're kind of morphing that now to just kind of fit the town a little bit better.

In 2024, Funke will once again steer the nonprofit in a new direction.

And so now we are partnering with Durango PD, the city of Durango and Durango DEVO to do bike rodeos at the elementary schools. And those are week-long events where kids are encouraged to bring their bikes to school. Durango PD also supplies bikes. I will be supplying my coaching and some wooden ramps that we've constructed, like some fun tabletops and a little teeter-totter. And the kids get to spend their time during recess riding bikes, learning about traffic safety, and we'll have multiple bike courses set up for them. So it's like a week long of fun.

If you have a mountain bike that's not being used anymore, you can donate to Funke to help with Wheelie Cool's mission. contact him on the organization website at wheeliecool.org. For more information on this and other stories, visit durangolocal.news. Thank you for watching this edition of the Local News Network. I'm Connor Shreve.


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