Outride started with the question “How can cycling improve social, emotional, and cognitive health?
In 2012, Mike Sinyard, Outride Cofounder and Specialized CEO, helped our research get started by investigating how bike riding could become an important part of a comprehensive therapy program for kids with ADHD. Mike has long dealt with the effects of ADHD in his own life. He noticed that those symptoms seemed to dissipate after returning from a ride. Mike also saw the positive benefits that riding has had on his son, Anthony, who also suffered from ADHD. So when the Bicycling Magazine article “Riding Is my Ritalin” came across his desk, he decided that it was time to explore whether or not there really was science behind riding’s impact on the brain.
In partnership with RTSG Neuroscience Consultants at Stanford University, we sought to figure out the connection between riding a bicycle and the cognitive and physical changes experienced by youth. The results were indisputable—after kids started riding, they experienced positively altered brain activity, increased attention spans, boosted moods, and improved fitness and BMI. Even better, it only took one ride to start seeing the results!
Inspired by the pilot program, Mike launched the Specialized Foundation in 2015. In 2019, The Specialized Foundation became an independent 501c3 organization – and Outride as we know it was launched.
Outride’s activities focus on three areas: primary scientific research, school-based cycling programs, and the creation and support of cycling communities. Through these programs and our research, we're advancing the understanding of how riding bikes can help improve the social, emotional, and physical well-being of children.