HOW WE BEGAN
The Specialized Foundation uses cycling as a tool for children to achieve academic, health and social success.
With one in nine schoolchildren being diagnosed with ADHD, you probably already know a kid who has trouble focusing or concentrating at school because of it. Or perhaps, like the Specialized founder and CEO, Mike Sinyard, you've dealt with the symptoms of it yourself? The Specialized Foundation exists today specifically to tackle this this issue.
The goal of the Foundation is simple—use cycling as a tool for kids to achieve academic, health, and social success. It all started in 2012, when we partnered with RTSG Neuroscience Consultants to investigate how riding could become an important part of a comprehensive therapy program for kids with ADHD. The initial study measured the effects of cycling on the attention capacity of 47 students, aged 11 to 14, from two Massachusetts middle schools.
Over a one-month period, all of the participants rode outdoors five days-per-week for 30 minutes before school. The project examined cognitive, emotional, and social changes, as well as balance and physical changes before, during, and after the program. The results were awesome. They showed us that after the kids started riding, the experience positively altered brain activity, increased attention spans, boosted moods, and of course, improved fitness and BMI. Even better, it only took one ride to start seeing the results!
Inspired by the promising results from the pilot program, Mike Sinyard, Founder and CEO of Specialized Bicycle Components, created the Specialized Foundation in 2014. Today, the Specialized Foundation is a 501c3 nonprofit organization that promotes cycling as a tool for middle-school-aged children to start riding for focus.
The Specialized Foundation’s primary activities focus on two key areas: Primary scientific research and school-based cycling programs. The aim is to increase accessibility to cycling through both fun and sustainable school cycling programs. And through these programs—along with the research—we're advancing the understanding of how riding bikes can help improve the social, emotional, and physical wellbeing of children, with a particular focus on those with learning differences like ADHD.