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The Grind is a weekly column on all things gravel.
The Bahati Foundation and SBT GRVL have teamed up to bring six kids who have never ridden gravel to Steamboat Springs, Colorado, for this year’s gravel event.
Rahsaan Bahati created the Bahati Foundation 10 years ago to provide opportunities for young kids in sports, music, and education, particularly those who don’t otherwise have access to a lot of funding.
This year, Bahati Foundation and SBT GRVL are raising $7,500 to cover all travel costs for six kids, most from the Los Angeles area.
Two weekends ago the Bahati Foundation and SBT GRVL hosted a fundraiser ride in California and raised about $3,000, Bahati said.
Bahati said he is selecting young riders, ages 13 to 18, based on a few categories.
“Outside of being a good kid — I’m actually meeting with many of their parents today — they do have to have some skillset on the bike,” Bahati said. “Perhaps they come from a family that doesn’t have the means to provide everything that traveling racing entails. I was one of those kids. My parents wanted to support me, but they couldn’t afford $1,500 wheels, flights to nationals, things like that. Not that these families are asking, but we just want to help.”
Bahati said he’s in the process of getting the six kids’ profiles together to post on the Bahati Foundation website.
“They are all super excited to ride gravel. They don’t have gravel bikes,” said Bahati, who is talking to his longtime connections to get the kids equipped.
SBT GRVL co-founder Amy Charity said her race had 14 kids 19 or under at the 2021 event, and currently 75 kids 18 or under are registered for this fall’s event.
Beyond getting the kids going in gravel, the Bahati Foundation is also interested in their families, too.
“One of our things is, ‘motion equals healthy,'” he said. “So we want to not only get the kids moving, but the whole household.”
The Bahati Foundation has been connecting kids with bikes and music instruments and education opportunities for a decade now. Beyond the physical things, sometimes the Foundation’s role is just showing what is possible.
With the gravel sponsorship, the Bahati Foundation was doing screenings at UCLA
“We have a partnership there, and we can let them see what a college campus is like, seeing lecture halls and things,” Bahati said. “We want to open them up to this different world of science, technology and innovation.”
To learn more about the Bahati Foundation or to donate, visit www.bahatifoundation.org.