A Family Turns Tragedy Into a Mission to Get More Kids on Bikes

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


Karen H.
Karen H4 years ago

So sad about Axel, but with his parents' help he leaves a great legacy for other children.

Lynn C.
Lynn C4 years ago


da c.
Past Member 4 years ago

Very sad, but a touching tribute to their son Axel.

Lin M
Lin M4 years ago

Sad but a great story of moving along and be able to help others.

Jennifer H.
Jennifer H4 years ago

What a sad story with a heartfelt ending. I am glad they found a way to honor their son in their time of loss.

Marilyn L.
Marilyn L4 years ago

Wonderful tribute to their son Axel.

Janice Thompson
Janice Thompson4 years ago

The parents are doing the only thing they can to move on. I grieve for their loss.

I hope they execute Eleodoro Carlos Rodriguez Sanchez. He is sick and cannot be cured.

Seems the older I get the more sickened by these sickos, I get.

Martha Ferris
Martha Ferris4 years ago

Great story! Thanks!

Val M.
Val M4 years ago


Liliana Garcia
Liliana Garcia4 years ago

Too sad. Sixteen year olds (the sitter's age) might be considered adults BUT social judgment is still too immature. What a terrible tragedy! Biking is great and children also socialize or used to do so around biking and its possibilities to hang around and enjoy the exercise. It's a shame it's no longer as popular as it used to be for young people.