Champions Gather For Third Annual Research Summit At Stanford University

Stanford Students Hosted School Champions for a Special Tour of the Campus to Get Things Rolling!

Stanford Students Hosted School Champions for a Special Tour of the Campus to Get Things Rolling!

A record 67 Riding for Focus School Champions were greeted with gusto at Specialized Bicycle corporate headquarters this past month to attend the official training for the Riding for Focus program that kicks off this fall at each of their schools. On the last day they all visited Stanford University to hear the latest research findings, be inspired by school leaders and their success stories and get a special insider tour of the campus at the 2019 Third Annual Research Summit at Stanford University. Special thanks to the Lucile Packard Foundation for Children’s Health in supporting this annual event.

President and Founder Mike Sinyard welcomed the champions and guests and delivered the news first hand of Outride—the new name and rebrand of the Specialized Foundation and the new Outride Fund—a dollar for dollar match fund to empower local communities to launch a variety of youth cycling programs.

Mike Sinyard Summit.jpg

You may be wondering why we are changing are name?  Mike shared more… 

The Specialized Foundation was instrumental in setting the stage for a larger conversation around the social, emotional, and cognitive benefits of cycling.  It focused on studying the impact of a evidenced based cycling intervention in academic, health, and social outcomes.  Outride will continue to drive the movement of cycling’s impact on your brain while helping local communities become cycling communities around the world. Outride is bigger than any one organization, Outride is about changing the world by building the next generation of cyclists and cycling communities.

 Mike also explained all of the core functions remain the same aside from our name and the addition of the Outride Fund as a third pillar to the organization. The Outride Fund works to empower local communities to launch a variety of youth cycling programs.  This match funding grant program will supercharge fundraising efforts for communities to activate in three distinct areas that benefit youth cycling:  Youth Cycling Education, Youth Rider Development through youth racing programs such as NICA and trails and skills areas to provide kids places to ride and improve their skills.

Let’s Give a High Five to our Guest Presenters from our Outride Team and School Champions

Four Outride Team Members Report News and Research Findings

-David Wood, Senior Director, heads up Riding for Focus and Research Programs and Expansion

-Dr. Allen Reiss, M.D. the Howard C. Robbins Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and Director of the Center for Interdisciplinary Brain Science Research (CIBSR) at Stanford University School of Medicine.

-Gavin Tempest, Ph. D. leads our research into what happens in the brain during exercise that influences the way we think and feel. His studies employ functional NIRS to identify the dose-response effects of the intensity and duration of cycling based exercise upon brain activity, cognition and mood. These findings will help to develop exercise protocols beneficial for individuals with cognitive dysfunction such as ADHD.

-Ms. Kaylee Blevins, Research Manager, leads the research team, pursuing new partnerships, devising strategies to market the public health messaging and manages the applied research arm of Outride.

Six School Champion Educators Share Programs and Inspiration

-Mr. Ben Rollenhagen, Central Michigan University, curriculum developer for Riding for Focus.

-Mr. John Glodek, physical and health educator at Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Middle School in Maryland.

-Mr. Travis Kumm, Adventure Coordinator, Athletic Director at Pocatello Community Charter School, Idaho

-Andrew Bailey, Ph.D. UC Foundation Associate Professor of Health and Human Performance at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, Tennessee.

-Mrs. Janine Bennett, Middle School Physical Education and Adapted Physical Education, Dryden, N.Y

-Brian Ebisuzaki, California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, CA, Frost Research Fellow

Top Five Highlights from the Research Summit

1. Our Riding for Focus Impact 2018-2019.

David Wood, Outride Senior Director instills motivation, passion and purpose in all tasks, logistics and operations, something drilled and instilled in his character as a Major in the United States Marine Corps, in a former role. David shared some key highlights from The Riding for Focus Impact from the 2018 –2019 academic year for a bit of inspiration:

David Wood Summit.jpg

20,000 Kids Riding & 82 Programs in the USA

$839,592 Awarded In Grants

170 2019-2020 Riding for Focus Grant Applicants

250 School Teachers Trained nationwide

90% of our teachers report improvement in the students’ behavior, confidence, and physical health since implementing Riding for Focus.

Meet THE BAT—our biometric assessment technology.

Kudos to Kaylee Blevins, our super champion research manager we created a platform for teachers to monitor students’ physical outputs, administer socioemotional and cognitive assessments, and a better understanding how Riding for Focus programs impact kids on a day to day level. The data is completely de-identified to ensure student privacy. Through cognitive assessments such as the NICHQ Vanderbilt assessment we can monitor statistically significant reductions in core ADHD symptoms before and after students participate in Riding for Focus—this was observed in two of our BAT schools during the spring of 2019. Data has been collected from over 1600+ students, during 28,000 individual rides throughout the spring semester. 80% of our teachers report the BAT adding value to the school PE Program and there were 14 schools that implemented the heart rate monitors and BAT System.

More Expert Research from our Stanford Partners—Drs. Allen Riess and Gavin Tempest

Gavin explaining the fNIRS demonstration to measure brain activity while cycling.

Gavin explaining the fNIRS demonstration to measure brain activity while cycling.

We partnered with Dr. Allen Reiss and Gavin Tempest in the Stanford University Center for Interdisciplinary Brain Sciences to research the effects of cycling on brain function and cognition in children with ADHD. Through this multi-year collaboration, we have explored how a range of cycling programs, differing in intensity, duration and frequency influence the brain and behavior as well as symptoms of ADHD like concentration, attention and inhibition in adolescents. In 2019 Drs. Reiss and Tempest published Phase I of the Research Project. The study validates the use of near infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) to directly measure brain activity during exercise.  The researchers will use NIRS to monitor brain activity during cycling and investigate effects on ADHD symptoms.

Brainwaves & Bikes: University of Tennessee Chattanooga leads research with Lookout Valley

Riding for Focus is so fortunate to have supplemental research provided by Andrew Bailey, Ph.D. UC Foundation Associate Professor of Health and Human Performance at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, Tennessee along with a group of students from the Honors College hoping to show the connection between the exertion of mountain biking and the tranquility of meditation. They hope to see an increase in academic performance after middle and high school students finish a round of riding.

Dr. Bailey’s current line of research, the UTC Brainwave Project incorporates EEG and physiological tracking, GIS and cognitive testing to measure real time impacts of physical activity and the environment on mood, psychological state and cognitive and athletic performance. Read our full past blog post on Brainwaves and Bikes and this inspiring school video featuring Associate Professor Drew Bailey and more of his research findings.

A trio of national Super Riding for Focus School Champions

John Glodek (Maryland), Travis Kumm (Idaho) and Janine Bennett (New York) shared their collectively passion for riding bikes and the transformations they see within their students every day and throughout the year and how the program has impacted their role as an educator.

 Janine Bennett, a teacher with 25 years of experience has coached dozens of team sport teams on a collegiate level and believes physical activity is a fantastic way for kids to cope with stresses and focus related issues.  Janine shared, “It has been a means to managing my own and my daughters ADD”.  This was an exciting new opportunity bringing in a new curriculum to Dryden Middle School in 2018 and the program is still thriving a year later. 

Travis Kumm shared, “I am living my dream as the Adventure Coordinator and Athletic Director at Pocatello Community Charter School instilling courage, self-esteem and teamwork within the student community”. Riding for Focus has expanded his work exponentially working with students and seeing results quickly—biking is really medicine. Kumm has seen anecdotal evidence that the program is already achieving its goals, especially among children with ADHD.

Kumm explained he found a “release” in biking, and remains an avid cyclist. Read more in this  article  in the local news.

Kumm explained he found a “release” in biking, and remains an avid cyclist. Read more in this article in the local news.

“I’ve heard tremendous things from some of the toughest students about how this has impacted their lives,” Kumm said. “I knew personally that was going to happen because I was probably one of those students … who had undesired behaviors. It was just because I had pent-up energy and I didn’t know how to get rid of it in the right way.

John Glodek reached out to the Foundation via e-mail inquiring about Riding for Focus and how to get onboard asking non-top questions from the Riding for Focus grants counselor on what makes a winning school and how to make sure their school could check off the requirements at beyond a 100% score. Fast forward one year later, he applied and was awarded a Riding for Focus grant for his students at Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  Middle School in Maryland. “I want the students to learn the importance and benefits of staying mentally, physically and socially active throughout their lifetime” stated Glodek.

John Glodek launches our social media challenge to OUTRIDE!

John Glodek launches our social media challenge to OUTRIDE!

Two Award Winning Performances—

Brian Ebisuzaki dazzled us with data on evaluating the potential mediating role of stress hormones on improvements in cognition following a bout of aerobic exercise in preadolescents with his research pursuing a BS in Kinesiology with a focus on Exercise Science at Cal Poly State University in San Luis Obispo. But he really wowed the audience when a guest read his bio in depth and spotted what he does outride of academia—beatboxing for one of Cal Poly’s music groups That’s the Key A Capella. Brian rocked the house down performing a quick beat.

Oklahoma School for the Deaf, in Sulphur, Oklahoma was awarded a Riding for Focus Grant this year for the middle school class. Inspired?—Yes! If you believe—you can make it happen! Sign language interpreters were also in attendance at the Summit to share each and every word. Yes, indeed bicycles are a universal language in the world!

Meet Sarah Marie Jameson, personal interpreter for Oklahoma School for the Deaf in Sulphur, OK.

Meet Sarah Marie Jameson, personal interpreter for Oklahoma School for the Deaf in Sulphur, OK.

We look forward to next year! Stay connected with Outride. Visit our website and sign-up for our news blog, or bring a Riding for Focus program to your middle school or fundraise via the Outride Fund to bring a Riding for Focus program to your school.

Together we can reverse trends of inactivity, understand the link between cycling and brain function and make cycling accessible for youth around the world. Together, we are Riding for Focus. And together there is nothing we can’t OUTRIDE!

Ariadne Scott