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Scores of people have got into cycling during the coronavirus pandemic, and Ryan Petry and Alexey Vermeulen want to help them become lifelong riders. To help inspire and empower new riders everywhere, these two veteran racers put together From The Ground Up, a multimedia project that will award three riders with all the gear, knowledge, training, and encouragement they need to take the start line of the Leadville Trail 100.
“Cycling is so intimidating for so many new riders,” said Petry, a professional mountain biker. “Things like, how to put your bike together, how to join a race, anything. I got inspiration from this TV show Queer Eye of taking relatable people and doing something hard. The idea being, others could watch it, and say, ‘well, I could take on something, too, maybe not that hard, but something that is between doing nothing and doing that.'”
Petry and Vermeulen, who raced for LottoNL-Jumbo in 2016 and 2018, connected with videographer Avery Stumm to document the story. The three quickly found that the bike industry was keen to get behind the effort.
“Cycling just blew up last year from this grassroots level,” Petry said. “People are getting into it because their gyms are closed, or they are bored. And there is not a lot of content for them. Also, what happens when the world opens up? So we are just thinking, how can we help convert some of these people to become lifelong cyclists?”
From The Ground Up is accepting applications now through February 17 to find three candidates.
Canyon is providing bikes, and other brands involved include Pearl Izumi, Wahoo, Industry Nine, and others.
Outside TV is going to produce and distribute the work that Stumm captures.
“We already have 250 applications. It’s really cool,” Petry said. “Some are like, ‘I have ridden a mountain bike maybe 5 times in my whole life.’ I think it’s important for pro riders to start thinking like this: How can we help more people? There is so much untapped potential.”