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Did You Know?

Half of school children walked or biked to school in 1969, but only 13 percent were doing it in 2009.

Meet a racer – Matthew Stevenson

He may be a first year racer with XXX Racing – AthletiCo, but riding – and living with – bikes is nothing new to Matthew Stevenson, 23, of Evergreen Park, IL (Southside, born and raised!).

He began riding at three years old, after receiving a hand-me-down sans training wheels from the neighbor two doors down.  A few hours later the seed was planted and the obsession was growing.

MattBuilding dirt jumps with friends in random abandoned lots led to sanction BMX racing bmx at the Elgin and Rockford tracks, during the hiockey offseason. At age 13 while watching a bmx show, Matthew saw a racer he admired using a road bike for training. He dove into turns like a Superbike pilot. With that he pulled his dad's yellow 1972 Schwinn Le Tour out of the garage and – that needed to stand on the front porch's first stair to get on notwithstanding – a roadie was born. 

Bikes have been central to his life ever since.

Later that year, in the winter 2000, his now-boss knocked on his door and asked if he wanted a job. About a month later he  showed up at Park Schwinn and asked if the position was still available. It was. 

Oddly, Matthew never really used bicycles as a means of transportation until his junior year of college, when he began volunteering his time with Hand in Hand Ministries, a Catholic charity. Until then cycling was always recreational only, until he had a true movement of conscience.

MattWhile completing undergrad degrees in Theology and Political Science, he dedicated most of his spare time to social justice. The realization suddenly struck him then that his means of transportation did not reflect the deep commitment he'd made to those less fortunate than him. The red 4×4 was ditched and now Matthew only drives when needed for work or circumstances warrent.

He continues his work with Hand in Hand today, just recently returning from a trip to Belize.  As well, Matt was inspired while attending St. Xavier University to help start a bike share program, utilizing shaft driven bicycles that can be checked out and returned at various locations across campus. He also currently volunteers with World Bicycle Relief,  a non-profit partner with XXX Racing, and his other contributions to the team have been numerous.

Matthew has been enjoying his first season on XXX Racing immensely, catting up to a 4 even before the demanding schedule of summer racing starts.  He is looking forward to even more success on and off the bike.