One day in the early 1940’s, a young boy was given his first bicycle. This ordinary act, while common for you and I, was exceedingly uncommon for him. You see, the boy was from a poor home where, since nine years old, he was forced to provide for his mother and siblings.
The boy lived in one of the largest cities in Mexico—Morelia, Michoacan. Despite Morelia being one of the most beautiful cities in the nation, for a young boy inspiration was scarce and dreaming was his only escape. Little did he know that this simple gesture—a donated bicycle—would become the catalyst for a journey beyond his wildest expectations.
At sunrise he would walk miles to the largest open-air market in the center of the city. Every morning he worked carrying and delivering groceries for the women shopping there to earn the little that he could. He had a regular route that took him passed a little bicycle shop where the owner stood sweeping the sidewalk each morning.
The boy was too shy to greet the owner at first but when he finally built up the courage the owner asked him to come back after his deliveries and sweep the shop. The boy agreed and returned every day thereafter.
Over time the owner gave him more and more tasks, even teaching him how to repair bicycles. The owner saw how hard the boy worked and began to care for him. The owner soon realized that the boy was having issues at home so he asked the boy if he needed a place to stay. The boy refused because he had no money to exchange.
Nevertheless, the owner made him a deal—fix two bicycles a day and he can have the little room in the back. The boy accepted and the first night he fixed four bicycles! The next night, another six.
At the age of twelve, the young boy finally had enough trust to share his own dream with the owner. The boy hesitantly approached him and said, "I want to be a bicyclist." The owner himself hesitated, thought for a moment, then told the boy how hard it would be and how fierce the competition would be. The boy was not discouraged yet seemingly more confident.
The next morning when the boy awoke, the owner stood in the center of the shop waiting for him with a bicycle in his hands. “This is for you,” the man said. “You will take this bicycle and become a champion.”
The boy took that bicycle and began chasing his dream. He rode it every day, he kept disciplined, and trained very hard. At the age of 16, he won his first championship. All because of that simple gesture he became a champion bicyclist with the world at his fingertips.
The young boy’s name was José Ibarra and he is my grandfather.
In his memory and to continue his timeless legacy, we founded an organization focused on community outreach and health education in impoverished areas. Through his passing The Mighty Bicycle Foundation was born. The Mighty Bicycle symbolizes the strength of an ordinary gesture and the impact it can have on underprivileged youth, their parents, their community, and—most importantly—their future.