Amber Neben hands out Christmas bikes to at-risk kids
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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Amber Neben hands out Christmas bikes to at-risk kids

by Ben Atkins at 8:05 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
Specialized-lululemon rider’s Dare To Be Project aims to give hope to kids going through tough times

amber nebenSpecialized-lululemon’s Amber Neben, through her Dare To Be Project has been handing out dozens of Specialized bikes to at-risk kids in Costa Mesa and Anaheim, California. The former World time trial champion’s charity was working alongside the Illumination Foundation, a non-profit organisation in Orange County that works with the homeless, to deliver some Christmas cheer to families going through tough times.

Neben herself went through difficult times as a child, suffering a case of spinal meningitis that put her in a coma for three days and threatened her future health. Despite this, she went on to become one of the most successful US riders of recent years, with victories that include two editions of the Tour de l’Aude – the nearest thing that the women’s peloton had to a Tour de France in recent years – as well as the 2008 World time trial championship.

“The bike is really a tool to be able to tell my story to them,” said Neben, who encourages kids to keep fighting for their own dreams. “Hopefully they can use it to have fun, and take care of themselves and their own health. For older kids, they can use it to get to school or work.”

In all, Neben and her volunteer crew delivered seventy Specialized bikes of varying sizes, with many parents emotional about the gifts.

“One mother of three was overjoyed just knowing that she had something to give her kids on Christmas,” Neben explained.

The Illumination Foundation has halfway homes for families committed to building a drug- and alcohol-free foundation for the future, and it was these families to whom Neben is giving the bikes.

“I remember my first bike and how cool it was,” Neben said. “I hope they remember this moment, down the line, as a reminder that somebody cared and valued them.”

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