CYCLE Kids is committed to strengthening the emotional and physical health of children by giving them the skills to lead active and healthy lifestyles, using the fun and practical skill of riding a bike.
Sam Schweizer is shifting gears: after completing an unsupported cross-country bike ride, he’s temporarily swapping out his biking cleats for running shoes.
Endurance events weren’t always the norm for Sam, who was overweight throughout middle school, high school and college. “I started to gain weight when I was six. As I became heavier, I played sports I could get away with on skill, not cardiovascular fitness. Over time, it became easier for me to choose to stay in and play video games.”
By the time Sam graduated college, he weighed more than 300 pounds, which was a lot even for his 6’2” frame. “I didn’t have a job yet, and I knew something had to change,” he says. So he and a friend set out on a 60-day journey, riding from San Diego, California, to Jacksonville, Florida, using their own leg power. After just a few weeks, Sam began to realize the correlation between food and energy. “You could literally feel your gauge going from full to empty. This was a new feeling for me because I was always overeating, always running on a full tank of gas.” Sam lost more than 50 pounds on his trip, an event that kick started a love of exercise, self-control and perseverance. Since the ride, Sam’s completed 5Ks, 10Ks, half marathons, and sprint and Olympic distance triathlons.
Sam has decided to put his endurance to another test: the 2010 Boston Marathon. “I’m so excited to be running for CYCLE Kids,” he says. The mission really spoke to him. “I think if I’d had a program like CYCLE Kids when I was a growing up, maybe I would have been more active early on.”