Axel Charrette was a boy who loved bikes.
The 2-year-old from Ridgway, Colorado was known for riding his Strider bike anywhere it would take him. By the age of 2, he had visited six states and several countries. Then in February 2013, Axel was murdered in Sayulita, Mexico.
In the face of tragedy, his family wanted to honor Axel in a way that highlighted his excitement for life, and what better way to represent that than the bicycle. The Axel Project was born.
The Axel Project is “dedicated to the fundamental principle that a productive, happy life begins with a bike.” With that in mind, the organization works to provide Strider bikes to children in need, making sure that everyone, no matter their background, can have the experience of enjoying life on a bicycle. The organization sells Strider bikes on its website, and for each sale it donates a bike to a child in need. It’s all about building a passion for bikes at an early age.
As the Axel Project states:
We believe biking not only builds confidence in young children but also improves health, is an outlet to express pure joy, is a foundation to a lifelong appreciation of nature, and helps strengthen family bonds because it’s an activity the entire family can do together. By getting more children and families on bicycles we are helping build healthier communities and a better world.
They believe that a love for bikes starts early, and encourage getting children as young as 18 months on Strider bikes, teaching them the necessary skills that will help them hop on a real bicycle once they’re ready. If you’re not familiar with a Strider bike, it’s essentially a bike with no pedals, allowing the child to “scoot” the bike along. This helps to build balance and also get a child excited about bicycles at a very early age. What could be better than that?
If you find the story and organization inspiring, you are not alone. There is currently a children’s book in the works (aptly titled “Zoom!“), and people are already signing up for the Colorado charity ride in August.
“You can be a victim or you can make something positive out of tragedy,” Axel’s father Randy told the Denver Post.
Let’s hope that more children can be as passionate about two wheels as Axel was.
Photo Credit: swambo