5 minute read

OKLAHOMA CITY (Free Press) — It can be difficult for adults to find ways to provide meaningful support and assistance to children in the community while still actually enjoying themselves in a grown-up way. Usually, helping out the kids means sitting through a PTA luncheon or trying to stay awake through yet another school play.

Luckily, this Saturday (details below), Lively Beerworks has decided to cast the 2021 installment of their annual birthday event as the perfect opportunity for adults to support local children and schools in OKC while still enjoying themselves with the perfect grown-up crowd-pleaser: Beer!

Bike Club OKC

This year, a portion of all proceeds from the event (and 100% of the raffle entry fee) will go to Bike Club OKC, an independent after-school program for 4th graders that teaches responsibility, leadership, and even STEM skills, all while riding around the city in style.

“We chose to work with Bike Club because our owner, Patrick Lively, has been part of the bike community for a long time,” said Lively’s Alena Chesney. “We totally support the vision of getting kids to understand safety and maintenance of all things ‘bicycle.’ It’s an amazing lifelong skill that they will have, and we want to gain awareness and support for this great cause.”

Since opening in 2019, Lively has worked with numerous non-profit and charity organizations for events and partnerships. When deciding on a partner for this year’s anniversary festivities, they reached out to Bike Club themselves.

“It was a no-brainer for us,” said Alyssa Lutz, President of Bike Club OKC. “We are just honored and grateful to be chosen and super excited to see any awareness and particularly funding because the funding is what’s going to bring us more schools.”

“What is my purpose?”

After seeing a Tulsa-based version of the program, and with great early success in Del City under the leadership of founder Tegan Malone, Lutz took the concept and expanded Bike Club into OKC. But, after suffering a catastrophic bike crash that left her badly injured and recovering, she decided to pour her full attention and effort into the program.

“Just thinking, what am I going to do with my life? What is my purpose?” Lutz told me. “I thought my purpose was coaching and training and guiding champions, you know, and whatever voice if you will, something said to me in every way that I could feel, it was ‘you will do Bike Club.’ So that was it. I was like ‘I am going to do it.’”

Bike Club’s first Metro school was at what was then Kerr Middle School, where they saw quick success and interest, but after the accident and her moment of inspiration, she quickly facilitated the expansion into Nichols Hills Elementary and then, earlier this year, Thelma Parks Elementary as well.

Students excited

You might expect that an independently funded, supportive extracurricular program would be an automatic hit among teachers and parents, but it’s been the excitement of the young students themselves that have made Bike Club a rousing success.

“Everybody wants to be in Bike Club,” said Aaron Kellert, Principal at Nichols Hills Elementary. “Here’s something you’re good at, that gives you confidence, and it helps you get the motivation and the positive attitude to come to school. And you know, a positive attitude can change everything.”

While encouraging positivity and responsibility is the focus throughout the school year, Thelma Parks Principal Michelle Lewis elaborated on another way that Bike Club can change everything for their students.

“At the completion of the year, they actually get a bike,” she explained. “This is really giving our students their own mode of transportation. It’s life-changing that they can get where they want to be now and safely know how to get there.”

Lutz’s hope is that one day, she and Bike Club can have a partnership with each and every elementary school in the city.

“More kids on bikes, more kids healthy, more kids with better coping abilities, more families on bikes, you know, all that stuff,” she said. “Just all of that stuff. I don’t have to sell very many people on the mental wellness of being outside and being active, you know.”

Saturday, December 11

The only limit, of course, is funding, so Lutz and everyone at Bike Club OKC is hoping to see loads of people at Lively this weekend sampling over 70 beers from local breweries and entering for the raffle prizes, all to help support a healthier, safer, and smarter young community in OKC.

Sure beats another school play.

The Lively Birthday Party benefiting Bike Club OKC is this Saturday, December 11th, from Noon to 7 at Lively Beerworks at 815 SW 2nd St in OKC. Tickets can be purchased at livelybeerworks.com.


UPDATE — In the original version of this report we misidentified the founder of the Bike Club OKC. The information has been corrected.

Last Updated December 10, 2021, 7:29 PM by Brett Dickerson – Editor