In August of 2012, Lauren Tamayo landed at the Asheville, North Carolina airport with an Olympic silver medal around her neck for the inaugural Women’s Team Pursuit, family, friends, and local members of the community enthusiastically greeted her. Arriving home to that warm welcome from a community that supported her for so many years reminded Lauren that Olympians are buoyed by the ongoing support and commitment of many people. It was then that the idea for 5 Ring Pursuit was born.

Riding a bicycle used to synonymous with childhood. Now it has been replaced by hours of sitting in front of a game console or a computer. The lack of physical activity in young people’s lives is contributing to an alarming increase in early onset diabetes and obesity in children and adolescents. Bicycling is a wonderful physical activity and helps give children a sense of independence, creating small goals they are able to accomplish that give them pride and joy in their lives.

During the summer of 2013, we worked with over 100 children from the YMCA of Western North Carolina over a 5-week period. The skill level of the children ranged from those who have never ridden a bike to more advanced riders who had been riding a two-wheeler since they could walk. Every child who participated had such a unique experience and was excited and eager to come back for more.

The idea for the 5 Ring Pursuit foundation was formed out of this first summer program. The foundation is exclusively for charitable, religious, scientific, literary or educational purposes. The goal of 5 Ring Pursuit is to provide children of all socioeconomic backgrounds, between the ages of 8-17, the chance to explore healthy living, learn independence, and gain self confidence through a free cycling program in the state of North Carolina.

Who: The program will focus on children ages 8-17 who live in Asheville, NC and surrounding cities
Where: 500 meter gated concrete track, Asheville, NC (city owned park)
When: May-September, yearly
About the program: The program will provide bikes, helmets, and coaches to all the children who participate. There will be three- 3 week programs where the children meet twice a week. They will work with coaches on bike safety, handling skills, learning confidence, and the meaning of a healthy lifestyle.
Cost: FREE to all participants