Most kids have some memory of the first time they rode a bike—the first time they slid their shoes onto the pedals, the first time a parent snapped a tiny helmet under their chins, and the first time they took a spill onto unforgiving concrete.
Lucas Beyer, MCAS ’24, wants every child to have the opportunity to experience those thrilling moments. In January 2023, Beyer and his team launched CycleService—a certified 501(c) nonprofit organization that provides children with bikes. Staff members direct bike rides across the country where they distribute bikes to children in various communities along the way.
The nonprofit led its first cross-country trek this past summer and currently serves communities in four locations across the nation: Buffalo, N.Y., Ventura, Calif., Knoxville, Tenn., and Colorado Springs, Colo.
“The mission is ultimately to improve a kid’s mental health and independence through biking,” said Seamus Galvin, CycleService’s co-founder and Beyer’s good friend from high school.
So far, the nonprofit has provided over 200 kids with their first bike, helmet, and bike safety training.
As someone who spent most of his early years outdoors, Beyer said he had a “picture book childhood.”
“I remember my first bike,” Beyer said. “I don’t remember how old I was—I must’ve been around eight. It was this red bike and we had a long driveway, sort of out in the country. It was gravel, so I would just loop up and down it. That was sort of the first sign of independence.”
But as Beyer matured, he said he realized not everyone had access to the independence he considered a vital part of his everyday life.
“In hindsight, I realized how formational these experiences are and, at the same time, how unique they are—how many kids don’t get to have these experiences,” he said.
Beyer said this perspective was also influenced by his mother, who moved to the United States from Colombia in her early 20s. She started working as a bilingual speech therapist in Buffalo, helping immigrants and Spanish-speaking children with speech impediments learn how to speak English, he said.
“Sometimes, I would go with her after school and hear stories about kids struggling with family life, school, relationships, and it was just sort of obvious to me at the time that this was the solution for these kids,” Beyer said about biking. “It was sort of a solution for me and a way for me to deal with a lot of the things I experienced growing up.”
In the fall of 2021, Beyer decided to channel his passion for biking into something greater. When one of his close friends visited Boston during a bike trip from Maine to Florida, Beyer saw the opportunity to promote his passion in an entirely new way.
“I grew up backpacking, hiking, all that stuff, but I had never heard of bike touring,” he said. “And I thought, ‘How can I connect this idea of service that’s really important to me now from high school, and this idea of the outdoors, and mold these into one thing where the outdoors can sort of be this outlet for kids like me?’”
After that, Beyer reached out to Galvin, who graduated from Hobart and William Smith Colleges in May and currently works as a consultant for IBM. Beyer explained his vision for a service that would supply kids all around the country with access to bikes, helmets, and safety training.
“He called me one day, and I was like, ‘Why is Lucas calling me?’” Galvin said. “And he’s like, ‘Hey man, I got this interesting proposition. … Do you want to bike across America with me?’ And I’m like, ‘This kid is crazy.’”
When building a team to help get CycleService off the ground, Beyer said he focused on cultivating a strong team culture and looked for individuals who could have fun while keeping the larger goal of the organization in mind.
“I’ve always just found myself surrounded by people that are really passionate about what they’re doing,” he said. “So, you know, I look to my left, I look to my right, take my two closest friends, and say, ‘I have this idea—let’s do it.’”
Kayla Sadraie, CycleService’s former development director and CSOM ’25, said she learned about the nonprofit through one of the Shea Center for Entrepreneurship’s fairs last year.
“I read their mission in the brochure, and it just kind of spoke to me,” Sadraie said.
Beyer said that Sadraie’s passion for the project immediately stood out to him.
“Kayla was super on fire about it,” he said. “She was instrumental for us in getting our social media going and just sourcing market research, potential partnerships, sponsorships, all that stuff.”
As the development director, Sadraie said one of her most significant responsibilities was managing the nonprofit’s public relations.
“I started reaching out to people and, at first, I was like, ‘No one is going to want to donate to these kids who just have this idea,’” she said. “And then some donations started rolling in and, before I knew it, we were at $15,000 in just a few weeks.”
In just its first year, CycleService raised $40,000 from family foundations, corporate donors, and partnerships. This money allowed the company to kickstart its community outreach initiatives and start distributing bikes.
While starting a nonprofit as a college student can be difficult, Galvin said that the team’s youth has also acted as one of CycleService’s unique assets.
“Being two college-age kids is tough sometimes when you’re approaching this gigantic organization,” he said. “But I think it also helps us in the same light, where we’re kind of fearless. We don’t really care if people say no.”
Beyer said one of CycleService’s most significant partnerships is with Patagonia. Even before developing the idea for CycleService, Beyer said he had already consistently attempted to connect with someone on Patagonia’s team.
“I reached out to the director of philosophy,” Beyer said about Patagonia’s Vincent Stanley. “He ended up giving me some time. I spoke with him, and then from there we grew a relationship.”
Last spring, Stanley introduced Beyer to his colleagues at Patagonia and helped CycleService achieve a partial gear sponsorship.
Partnerships with companies like Patagonia have enabled Beyer to expand CycleService’s reach and further achieve his mission to bring the power of biking to more children. Beyer explained that biking teaches kids how to live fully in the moment.
“When you’re riding a bike—when you’re taking off your training wheels for the first time—there’s nothing else you’re thinking about except sitting on the seat just right, balancing the handlebars, peddling, and bringing all that stuff together,” Beyer said. “It enables kids to not be thinking about what’s going on at home, what they’re wearing, what their friends are doing, or literally anything else in the world.”
Sadraie, who said she biked to school for most of her childhood, said biking is especially beneficial in an age dominated by social media.
“With technology, I’m sure being able to go and adventure on your own isn’t as common as it used to be,” Sadraie said. “The biggest thing with biking is the sense of independence, and that’s so important.”
Even beyond the physical and mental health benefits, Beyer, Galvin, and Sadraie stressed that biking is one of the most practical skills for a child to learn.
“Biking is super multifaceted,” Beyer said. “It’s also a mode of transportation, so a lot of kids who don’t have a way to get to school or who don’t have a way to get to work, or who maybe don’t have money to ride the bus, can now ride their bike.”
Through its community outreach programs, the CycleService team has given over 200 kids access to the great benefits of biking, Beyer said. But none of CycleService’s accomplishments would be possible without Beyer’s commitment to the cause, Galvin said.
“He’s an amazing friend and a great human,” Galvin said. “He puts others ahead of himself at every chance he can get. You know, he’s definitely made some sacrifices through this and I am so thankful for that because, truly, we would be nowhere without him.”
As CycleService continues to grow, Beyer hopes to cement its place in the biking and outdoor recreation industries. By doing so, Beyer said the CycleService team can expand its reach and enhance the lives of more and more new bike riders.
“Five years from now, CycleService will be a household name in the biking industry and in the outdoor space, as a way for the whole industry to give back,” Beyer said. “It will be growing year after year and putting more kids on bikes and, as we continue to do that, we think we’re changing the world—one bike at a time.”