We are writing to you today to express our anger, outrage, and pain over the unjust murder of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and many other innocent Black men and women in this country including Oscar Grant here in Oakland in 2009. This injustice is not new and systematic racism is not new. But today, as protests occur across the country, we have an opportunity to do something new, and that is to actively engage and commit to Anti-Racism and end economic and social inequalities to help achieve the radical changes in this country demanded by the Black community and other communities of color. We think this letter should be the beginning of ongoing efforts, as this fight must be sustained.
Ride 4A Reason is an organization founded to combat injustices in our schools, specifically public schools. We recognize that we are political as education is a political act. We also recognize that the majority of the students at our schools are students of color and the majority of our cyclists are White.
We commit to not be silent, complacent, or neutral. If you are White, you have benefited from systems that have excluded our Black community members which has resulted in significant harm. As Ride 4A Reason cyclists, we hope you will stand with us and commit to Anti-Racism with as much fervor as you stand with us to support our schools and their students.
We also know this commitment may look different for each of us, but we are calling for action.
Support Legislation and Initiatives: The Schools and Communities First (SCF) initiative, that would deliver an additional $12 billion per year, has qualified for the November ballot. The key to victory is volunteers. Become a part of this transformational campaign. For more information, attend the virtual rally on June 10 from 5:30 to 6:30 pm, or go to the website. Also, stay tuned, as we plan to contact you again in a few weeks to talk about how you can support legislation that is being sponsored by the California Legislative Black Caucus to address systemic inequality in California.
Donate: Whether you are local in Oakland or support us from afar, you can donate to bail funds, black owned businesses such as Marcus Books, and community organizers. Consider two Oakland organizations: The Black Teachers Project & Youthalive.
Educate others: Lean into challenging conversations with your friends, family and colleagues and begin by reframing harmful narratives. George Floyd was not a “thug” nor are the protestors who honor his memory.
Though we may be a small group of cyclists, our impact can be large. Ride with us in this fight for equity as we fight for Anti-Racism, not just today, but always!
In solidarity, Ride 4A Reason
3/21/20 - R4R is Cancelled
After careful consideration, we have decided to cancel the 2020 Ride for a Reason. All previously scheduled group training rides are also cancelled. Although we are sad to be making this announcement, this disappointment is small in the context of the current pandemic.
We made this call based on instructions from the California Department of Public Health regarding mass gatherings. In the early stages of the fast-moving public health recommendations, we evaluated whether we could safely arrange R4R. We feel that we could not responsibly have an event that features transporting large numbers of people on buses and trains, food service and sanitation on the road, riding in close groups, and a mob of people hugging and high-fiving at both ends of the ride.
We evaluated planning a ride in fall, but we concluded that this would not be a good decision for two main reasons: the uncertainties surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic are too great; and a ride in fall would sap energy from planning an event on our normal spring schedule in 2021. Therefore, you should mark your calendars for Ride for a Reason 2021 on Saturday, April 24, 2021. We know that schools will need extra resources when they reopen, and we believe our message will still be relevant next year. Should the pandemic conditions require us to change our schedule, we’ll let you know.
As things stand, with the donated funds we have raised to date, we will deliver about $4,400 to each of the twelve R4R beneficiary schools. You did great fundraising so far, and our business sponsors deserve extra respect and support. School sites are closed right now, so our plan is to disburse these funds in August, to make them available at the start of the 2020-21 school year.
Jerseys: Jerseys are one of our sunk costs. They are in production now and should be arriving from the manufacturer sometime in April. If you purchased a 2020 jersey we will mail or drop-deliver to you. Consider these jerseys as rare souvenirs from 2020. Please let us know how to get a jersey to you if you ordered one. If you'd like to purchase one, click here! Registration fees: Since we know you love R4R and our beneficiary schools, we ask you to please consider your registration fee a tax-deductible donation. We have incurred significant non-refundable costs for the event so far. If you have questions about this or if you are experiencing financial hardship, please contact Mike Napolitano at email@example.com, and we will address requests on an individual and confidential basis.
Although R4R is no longer possible on April 25th, 2020, we love our community and believe in its strength and spirit to support our schools and their staff and students. We hope that you can still raise the R4R flag this month to show your love and support for our wonderful schools.
Ways to raise your R4R flag:
Solicit donations to support our schools Our website will remain live and we will accept donations through the end of April. Those who are in a financial position to give may welcome an opportunity right now to do something that is life-affirming and that helps our schools. Do what feels right to you and your community in terms of soliciting new donations. Also, this would be a good time to thank everyone who has already donated to you.
Ride for a Reason with social distance Consider planning a date to go ride your bike on your own or with your shelter-in-place cohort. If you have an R4R shirt or jersey, wear it! Send us pictures or a short video and we will post and share, or post on your own social media and tag @Rideforareasonpublicschools. Regular exercise and time outdoors, with proper social distancing measures, are important for maintaining emotional and physical health, and riding or other outdoor exercise is allowed under the shelter-in-place instructions. Even though there are a lot fewer cars on the road, please make sure to ride with extra care and attention to your safety. Be aware that as you ride and breathe heavily, you’re making a plume of aerosolized droplets, so social distancing on a bike ride means a big distance — many meters away — from other riders.
Save the date for Ride for a Reason 2021 Ride for a Reason 2021 will be Saturday, April 24. Spread the word in your community. Let’s make next year a celebration of our schools and our health and wellness.
Finally, and most importantly, R4R wants you to take the crisis seriously, make the necessary sacrifices, and be kind and generous to everyone in your community. Working together we can get through this, just like a long bike ride. We are grateful to be part of a generous and compassionate community.
With fingers crossed, we plan to schedule a group ride in November to kick-off R4R 2021. Stay tuned and take care of each other. Much love, Your R4R Planning Team
3/12/20 COVID-19 Update
Dear R4R Family,
Amidst the rapidly changing situation related to transmission of COVID-19, we wanted to update you on what we are doing with regard to planning next month’s ride.
As of today, the ride would go on as planned on April 25th, but know that we are closely monitoring the situation daily. We are reading bulletins and recommendations from the CDC, WHO, state and county public health departments, and intend to follow the public health department instructions regarding events like ours. Your health and safety are our top priority every year; this year just looks a little different.
This email update has a bunch of upcoming events to make note of--training rides, pizza parties, and movie screenings. The local Oakland community is really coming together to support R4R this year--thank you!
Also, just a quick update that we are well above the number of registered riders compared to last year. If we keep it up, we will be on track to have more than 350 riders in April, which means more funding for our schools---and we like that! If you have friends and family to recruit, please remind them to register before the next price increase on March 1st.
Our goal is to raise $230,000 and, as of today, we’re just above $32,000! If you think your employer could be a sponsor, please share our sponsorship deck with them. Our current sponsors are listed at the bottom of this email. Many thanks! Your R4R Planning Team
PS. Did you pre-order your 2020 R4R Jersey, designed by Oakland Tech Student, Mario Gant, who is a member of their Fashion Arts and Design Academy (FADA)? It's not too late to order one now!
Upcoming Training Rides THIS WEEKEND! Easy Rider Group When: 9:00AM on Sunday, January 26th Distance: 12 miles Details: This training ride meets in Emeryville at the parking lot behind Chevy’s and goes along the Bay trail to Point Isabelle and back. Sunday's ride is great for students, teachers or parents who are considering the 45 miler. The Easy Rider group will meet every other Sunday, gradually working up to 30 miles to prepare you for the big event. Ride leader is Jen Ryden 510/207-5640. Rain cancels.
Middle of the Road “MOTR” Group When: 9AM on Saturday, January 25th Distance: 38 miles (flat) Details: The Middle of the Road “MOTR” training group prepares you to ride your first century (metric or full). This week's MOTR ride meets in front of Oakland Tech at 9am on Saturday, January 25 for a flat 38 miles. Rain postpones ride from Saturday to Sunday. Ride leaders are Dashka Slater 510/967-5553, Lesli van Moon 510/541-5375, and Merrilee Proffitt 510/684-4717. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to join the MOTR email list for the training plan and information on future MOTR rides.
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 6TH What’s for Dinner (or Lunch)? Zachary's! Take a night off from cooking and join us for a meal at Zachary’s on Grand Ave on Thursday, February 6th! Better yet, if you work in Oakland, order a pie or two and treat your co-workers to lunch! Order takeout or dine-in between 11AM - 10PM and Zachary’s will donate 15% of your pre-tax bill to R4R. This flyer must be printed and presented upon payment in order for R4R to be credited.
SUNDAY, MARCH 1, 2020 "Bike Shorts" at The New Parkway R4R will be screening three inspiring cycling short films for the whole family, including Moksha, a short film about trailblazing Nepali women in the mountain biking scene! More details to come but save the date for now.
Doors open at 12PM First movie short at 12:35PM Recommended donation for entry: $12.00 (no one turned away!) Everyone who attends is automatically entered into a raffle for one of our fun prizes drawn in between films.
11/27/19 - KICK OFF PARTY REMINDER
December 4, 2019 | 5:30 - 7:30PM Sports Basement 2727 Milvia St Berkeley
We hope to see you at the the Kick Off/Registration Party, featuring live music by the Skyline High School Jazz Band! Come hear about our two new beneficiaries and small changes coming to R4R 2020. Anyone who registers between now and 7:10PM that evening, will be entered to win a $100 gift card to Sports Basement but you must be present to win. Winner will be drawn at 7:15PM at the Kick-Off Party. Plus, you’ll get the special 20% party discount that night only!
SPECIAL DONATION REQUEST: Our students are in need of cycling clothing! Please bring your gently-used cycling shorts and jerseys for our donation bin. We promise they will be put to good use.
In 2020, R4R will be branching out. Building on our commitment to the 8000 students who attend ten wonderful Oakland schools that we support, the 2020 ride also will benefit Equity Allies for OUSD and Encinal Junior and Senior High in Alameda
Encinal Junior and Senior High For the first time R4R also will benefit a school located outside of Oakland: Alameda’s Encinal Junior and Senior High. Encinal Junior and Senior High, like all the Oakland schools we support, has significant unmet needs. Almost half of its 1300 students qualify for free-or-reduced price lunches, and R4R will be its single largest fundraiser. Although we are just starting to work together, Encinal already has delivered several volunteers and secured many commitments to ride. Encinal Principal Daniel Hurst has been a R4R rider since 2011 and has strong connections to Oakland, having worked in Oakland throughout most of his career as an administrator and teacher before becoming the Principal at Encinal.
Every time we add a school, we spend a lot of time deliberating to make sure we can deliver, and also to make sure that the school we add is a good match: that is, it has demonstrated need, and there is a strong leadership to facilitate participation and ensure the funds we raise are delivered to programs that improve support for students.
Looking forward, we hope to sustain and grow R4R, both in Oakland and in neighboring communities. If we can pull this off, we will amplify the power of our message in Sacramento, while filling gaps at schools throughout the East Bay.
Equity Allies for OUSD In 2019, Equity Allies for OUSD (Equity Allies) through its Equity Fund is working to raise $150,000 to deliver to fifteen OUSD schools that “serve large numbers of families impacted by poverty, a greater proportion of students in special education, are located in high stress communities, and face internal challenges such as having many new teachers.” The fiscal sponsor for the Equity Fund is the Oakland Education Foundation, which is a 501(c)(3).
Making Equity Allies a beneficiary of the 2020 ride, we hope to grow the number of schools that they support in 2020, helping to bring critical resources to the students, families, and teachers in some of the most underserved neighborhoods in Oakland. For more information about Equity Allies go to https://www.equityalliesforousd.org/.
Your support and participation make R4R possible, and for that we are forever grateful.
11/6/19 - R4R 2020 Kick Off Party - December 4th R4R 2020 KICK OFF & REGISTRATION PARTY December 4, 2019 | 5:30 - 7:30PM Sports Basement 2727 Milvia St. Berkeley
We’re back in the saddle planning our 11th annual Ride 4A Reason. Come register and hear about the new schools and small changes coming to R4R 2020 at the Kick Off/Registration Party on December 4th at Sports Basement. Our special early bird pricing is only good until December 5th, then prices increase by $20!
Last year, you helped raise a record-breaking $218,000! Because of you and our 350 riders, each of our 10 schools received $17,000 to provide much-needed student opportunities such as seeing Hamilton, experiencing California’s outdoor wilderness, and a number of science-focused field trips.
The co-principals from Life Academy, Aryn Salazar Brown and Alykhan Boolani, wrote: “Because of the generous donation from Ride for a Reason, we were able to take Life Academy students on a variety of field trips: 6th graders had an overnight camping and environmental design challenge adventure in Tilden Regional Park and the 7th graders engaged in a marine ecology experience at Fort Ross on the Sonoma Coast. This year, our 8th graders will attend a 4-day adventure in Calaveras Big Trees State Park and our 9th graders will be able to visit colleges so that they can imagine themselves in higher education.”
Thank you riders and sponsors!
4/23/19 - Final Sprint!
Our Dearest R4R Family, We are into the final days before we ride into Sacramento for the love of public education--good public education. We hope you’ll take a moment to send out that final ask for support to your friends, family, coworkers, and neighbors. With $148,536 raised, we have $71,464 left to raise by Saturday. This is a big number but our kids have bigger dreams.
Thanks for your support and riding with us!
In community, Your R4R Planning Team
FINAL RACE TO THE FINISH: Prizes, Gold Star Bearers, and Our Top 10
Prizes There is just a day and a half left to claim one of our last fundraising prizes. You have until 6PM tomorrow, Wednesday, April 24th, to win a one-hour massage from Oakbay Chiropractic or three bottles of fine wine. Winners will be chosen based on the most number of donations and the most dollars raised between 12PM, April 17th - 6PM, April 24th.
Earn Your Stars -- Join the Club! Congratulations to 24 riders who have reached the $1,000 threshold and have earned gold stars on their bibs with many more on the cusp! We’ll have gold stars available up until the morning of the ride.
We also added some rainbow stars to acknowledge all the riders who raised the suggested minimum of $250. As of today, we have over 100 riders meeting this goal! We have LOTS and LOTS of stars to give out, so we hope you’ll join the club.
The Current Top 10 This is how it stands as of today. But by 6PM tomorrow night, we’ll award the Top 10 at that moment with ceremonial bib numbers 1-10. Remember, the person with #1 will also win our Sports Basement Gift Card! Let the games begin!
STILL HAVE QUESTIONS? Check out the Rider Info Packet that is loaded with lots of important information about bus departure times, rest stops, finish line schedule, etc… Don’t get left behind and download it here.
DON’T FORGET! Early Packet Pick Up on Thursday, April 25th Don’t rush the morning of the ride and come pick up your bib and water bottle at Early Packet Pick Up on Thursday, April 25th. Sports Basement will add $1 to the gift card for every rider that comes through between 5:30 - 7:30PM. This gift card will be awarded to our overall top fundraiser as of 3PM, April 27th. Thursday, April 25th 5:30 - 7:30PM Sports Basement 2727 Milvia St Berkeley
4/17/19 - Let the Countdown Begin
And the winners are...This week’s fundraising competition doubled last week’s number, bringing in over $21,500 -- all in just five days! WOW! Congrats to our winners:
Real-World Fundraising Tips If you need some inspiration and social media insight, here’s some sage advice from Steve Kurzman, our top fundraiser last week and Life Academy Teacher Claire Shorall:
Most people want to help make the world a better place, and Ride for a Reason is a great way to do that because it supports public education in our community -- and it's easy to donate a few dollars. My trick is, remember that people want to help, just don't be afraid to ask. I sent brief emails with a clear call to action to a bunch of family, friends and folks at my synagogue. I also asked everyone at work and gave them a link where they could request a matching grant from our employer. It's a bit of work but it pays off.-- Steve K.
Frame donations to your friends as a trade-off for something reasonable (ie, donate what you would have spent on coffee this week). Keep your followers apprised of your training progress; if they know you're taking the event seriously they are more likely to support you. Lastly, some donors benefit from better understanding the issues at hand. By sharing a news article or blog post about education funding you entice people to give to a cause they now get. -- Claire S.
BIB PICK UP:ALL RIDERS must pick up their bibs at one of two places -- they will not be available at any other time:
At Sports Basement on Thursday, 4/25 (see pink box above); and
At Oakland Tech on the morning of the ride between 6AM - 7:30AM.
Bag Check is only offered at Oakland Tech the morning of the ride between 6AM - 7:30AM. Do to limited capacity, we cannot offer it at different rest stops. If you are taking the bus for the 45- or 68-mile routes, you can leave your items on the bus at your own discretion, as R4R will not assume any liability for any lost or missing items.
Rider Packet -- READ ME!! As we approach the final weeks before R4R, we want you to have all the details to prep for your big day on the bike. Download our detailed rider packet here and let us know if you have any other questions.
Two Chances to Win: Annual Ford GoBike Memberships! With just four weeks to go, we know this is when the fundraising magic really happens. To add a little bit more incentive, we are launching our first fundraising competition that will run from March 27th to April 4th. Ford GoBike will award the person with the MOST NUMBER OF DONATIONS OF ANY AMOUNT and the person who raises the MOST DOLLARS RAISED in this timeframe with an annual membership (value: $149 each). Winner will be notified via email and will be announced in our next newsletter and on our social media pages (Facebook and Instagram). Let’s go!!
Still Seeking Volunteers R4R is still looking for SAG drivers and handy bike mechanics to support our riders to Sac! If you know anyone, please invite them to be part of the R4R volunteer crew. Lunch, ride t-shirt, and gratitude provided! Link here.
The Student Bike Drive continues! Cycles of Change, The California Field School, and Laurel Cyclery invite you to support getting students on bikes through our Spring Bike Drive! This May, 25 Oakland high school students are riding over 300 miles from Humboldt County to San Francisco, and they need bikes to ride! Some of them will also be doing R4R as part of their training! Learn how to give that old (but still working!) bike of yours a new home here.
R4R Registration Increases 4/1 If you have any friends and family interested in riding, please let them know registration increases on Monday to $150 and $60 for students and teachers. Encourage them to register now!
Upcoming Training Ride Middle of the Road (MOTR) Riders - Saturday, March 30, 2019 We’ll meet at 8:15AM AT OAKLAND TECHNICAL HIGH SCHOOL and do the first part of the R4R route through Berkeley, Tilden Park, to Orinda. From there we will loop through Lafayette, Alamo, San Ramon, Castro Valley, San Leandro, Alameda, and Oakland, ending where we started. Covering 60+ miles with about 3000 feet of climb, this ride is a bit of a jump in mileage so plan to make a day of it – it should take a good six hours to do the full route. As always, bring water and snacks to get you through a long day of pedaling – we’ll have one rest and lunch stop midway but you’ll need more calories than that to get you through the day.
Details Meeting: 8:15 am on SATURDAY, March 30 Rolling: 8:30 am Meet up spot: Oakland Technical High School front steps Bring: Snacks, lunch, money, water Route Sheet: Norris Canyon We always recommend printing a route sheet you can see while you're riding (DIY binder clip and rubber band cue sheet holder directions here). The route sheet will tell you our precise turns (and this ride has a ton of them), as well as our rest stop meet up location(s). Ride contacts are Dashka Slater via email or txt 510-967-5553, or Lesli van Moon via email or txt 510-541-5375. Rain cancels.
Capitol Corridor Amtrak Offers Half-Price Tickets! If you are doing the 68-mile ride or planning to take the train back home from Sacramento, now is the time to get your tickets! Capitol Corridor is running a special promo: buy one full-price fare and get up to five other tickets at half price! Must use this link to get the deal.
3/8/19 - March Newsletter
R4R on Pace to Hit Record Numbers! As of today, we have 235 riders registered and almost $50,000 raised -- this is a whopping increase over where we were this time last year. Given the challenges our students and teachers are facing with budget cuts, we are ECSTATIC. We hope this trend continues over the next seven weeks so that we deliver bigger checks to our schools. Thank you!
Reflections on the OUSD Strike The Oakland teachers' strike is now over in OUSD. And while the teachers' union came to an agreement with the school district over a new contract, ending the hard work of pounding the pavement, much hard work remains.
We at R4R felt gratitude for the teachers who were willing to demonstrate not just for themselves and their livelihoods, but on behalf of their students and the future of public education. Striking teachers expressed thanks to their students, their students' families, and the community members who marched in solidarity to support the teachers' strike. The number of people in the streets talking, chanting, marching for change in the way we fund our schools was inspiring. R4R's message was being repeated and amplified all over the city, and echoed down Broadway in the chants for solid public schools for all. R4R's sense of purpose found new voice in solidarity.
Every labor action must end with some dissatisfaction: negotiations mean that not everyone can get all that they want, and some people will be disappointed in the end, seemingly giving lie to the inspiring unity that the teachers felt at the beginning of the strike. Were unity and solidarity mirages? Sometimes the victory is sweet, but it is leavened with the bitterness of compromise. But the dissatisfaction and the frustration come from a well of feeling fed by strong, clear springs of devotion. That devotion to do right by the young people, the students of California, remains with us all. This part is done. Now let's do the next thing, and the next, and the one after that. That's how we accomplish the miles to go. Write to a legislator: "More money for public education!" Ride a bike.
Fundraising Tip #2 Did you know every dollar you raise is directly invested in students and experiences such as field trips, sports uniforms, and other after school programs? If you have sent out your fundraising letter, great job!
Here are three tips to help you follow up:
Get organized. Remember to keep track of who you’ve asked and how much you’ve asked for (asking for a specific dollar amount makes a difference!).
Connect yourself to R4R. People give to people so share the moment you knew you wanted to get involved in R4R -- even a photo of you at a prior ride or in your R4R shirt goes a long way!
Set a deadline. Give yourself (and others!) a finish line to strive toward. We recommend setting a donation deadline of April 23rd.
Volunteers Needed! Know someone who would love to be involved with R4R but just not on a bike? Invite them to be part of the R4R volunteer crew! Send them this link!
Can You Sponsor a Student Rider? We have a record number of students wanting to participate in R4R's 45-mile course but need your help! We are looking for 25 individuals to sponsor one student’s registration and round trip bus ticket for $75. If this is you, click here and scroll to the bottom to select “Sponsor a Student Rider.”
2019 R4R Jersey: Orders due 2/15/19 This is your last chance to guarantee your 2019 R4R Jersey in your size. Designed by an Oakland Tech student, this year's jersey will be in the colors of this year's logo. The last day to pre-order your jersey is Friday, February 15th. Order here.
Full and Fair Funding Resolution R4R is proud to endorse the California School Board Association’s Full and Fair Funding resolution that calls for raising K-12 education spending in California to the national average by 2020 and to the top ten by 2025. Please read more at the link above and sign the petition here. Did you know...In the 2017-18 school year, the total number of students in K-12 public schools in CA was 6,220,000 and the funding shortfall as compared to the national average was approximately $2,000 per student. Therefore, to get us to the national average, we would need to add a minimum of $12.4 billion to the General Fund for K-12 education. Upcoming Training Rides We know the weather hasn't been cooperating but we're trying!
Middle of the Road (MOTR) Riders: Saturday, February 16,⋅9:00am – 1:30pmParadise Loop (Marin) - Enjoy this lovely 45-mile loop through Marin. Leaves from the Ferry Building in SF at 9am. Rain cancels.
Easy Riders: Saturday, March 2, 2019, 9:00AM - 11:30AMBay Trail. Riders meet up at Chevys(1890 Powell St, Emeryville) 9am in the parking lot behind Chevy’s for a kid and beginner friendly ride. We’ll roll out at 9:15 and ride north along the Bay Trail bike path. No one will be left behind.
About Ride for A Reason Ride for A Reason is a fundraising ride sponsored by the Claremont Middle School PTA benefiting ten public schools in Oakland. All donations are tax-deductible to the full extent of the law. (Tax ID: 94-6171801)