The Center’s regular Pursuit Spin class will be getting an added boost through an exciting new partnership with Bloom Cycle. This Houston-based cycling program was created to provide an opportunity for people with I/DD to have fun with peers, promote health, build self-esteem, and to be part of a fitness community. The partnership will allow The Center to expand the exercise options we offer to our clients. The program’s official launch will take place on April 26th at The Center’s West Dallas campus.
Finding Our Pursuit
The original Pursuit Spin class found its origins in 2016, when The Center launched a capital campaign called Pursuit for those with disABILITIES to raise funds to secure the organization’s future. The Pursuit campaign included a 3,500-mile cross-country bike ride that raised $13.5 million for The Center and awareness for individuals with disabilities nationwide.
Prior to the ride’s launch, a group of generous sponsors donated time and funds to build out a room on The Center’s West Dallas campus that would allow for participation from clients of The Center and members of the greater Houston community who were not able to join in the main ride. The room included ten stationary spin bikes and two TVs that displayed the cross-country riders’ ride each day. This room became lovingly known as “Mission Control.”
The cross-country ride took two months to complete. During that time, The Center’s clients rode along in Mission Control every single day. In total, Mission Control attracted over 1,000 riders during the 60-day period. When the ride came to an end, the equipment in Mission Control was returned to its original owners. After a few months of seeing how much clients missed the exercise room, a group of volunteers decided to bring it back—this time, permanently, through a new class called Pursuit Spin.
As part of this initiative, Pursuit Campaign Director Jourdan Ellis and dedicated supporter and Mission Control rider Steve Quick came on board as volunteer instructors. Within only a few months of class starting, they began to notice tremendous results. The program has recorded improvements in self-confidence, overall attitude, coordination, and weight management.
As Pursuit Spin was making big strides, the same impressive results were being recorded in another program in Houston—Bloom Cycle. Bloom Cycle started at Texana, another organization in Houston that offers services to those with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD). The program was spearheaded by John Watson, proud parent of Emma Watson, who has Cerebral Palsy.
Motivated by his daughter, John left his corporate job to serve the I/DD community in any way he could. While meeting with a staff member from Texana, he noticed an unused exercise room and a need for volunteer support. With previous experience as a spin instructor, John set out to build an exercise program that would make a difference. After 14 months, Bloom Cycle had a regular showing of clients and had expanded to another location called The Hub, an organization in Houston serving teenagers and young adults with neurological differences.
A New Partnership
Pursuit and Bloom Cycle were first introduced online by a mutual friend and supporter. All it took was one meeting for representatives from the two programs to dream up big goals and agree to reach them together. Bringing Bloom Cycle and Pursuit Spin together meant that the two could join forces and maximize the results of the program.
The merged program will be called “Bloom Cycle Powered by Pursuit.” Through this partnership, The Center will double its stationary bikes, encourage increased participation through leaderboards, and add two additional volunteer instructors. The Center has already added one dedicated new instructor, Paige McElreath, also a current Bloom Cycle volunteer.
“I love volunteering as an instructor at Bloom Cycle because the program provides the riders a rare opportunity to be active,” says Paige. “More than that, I know [the clients] feel like they are part of something special. When I see their faces light up as they reach the finish line in class, it makes me feel like I’m part of something special, too.”
While Bloom Cycle Powered by Pursuit centers on creating fitness opportunities for those with I/DD, it sets its sights much higher. It also strives to build self-confidence, foster a connection between health and fun, and create a community of which The Center’s clients are proud to be a part.
Are you interested in contributing to The Center’s new exercise program?