July 4th, 2015

RTF had an impressive showing for its first “public” event at the 2015 Bristol 4th of July parade in Vermont, one of the largest parades in the state. It was fantastic! After a whirlwind of logo, sticker, and banner creation and people collecting, we became “official” and put it to the test. Led by our banner “Richard Tom Foundation – Supporting the safety and adventure of cycling for all”, 18 adults and 12 kids from 6-year olds gathered with bikes adorned with signs: “Let’s have fun on bikes” - “Think and Ride” - “More Bike Lanes” - “We love safe roads” – and the eminent motto “Love Life, Love Bikes, Love Richard”.

As we rolled through the parade (video), we received recurring bursts of cheers from the sidelines in support of the foundation and in memory of Richard. A few people ran up to friends in the parade to give a hug and offer well wishes. It was clear Richard’s presence was known and felt amidst many friends in the crowds.

Matt from the RTF board gathered donated bike accessories to give away – in full Richard style. Thanks to Earl’s Cyclery, Old Spokes Home, Skirack, and Vermont Bicycle Tours, the “RTF Schwag Wagon” was filled to the brim. In addition to traditional candy tosses, kids were handed a brand new helmet, bike bell, water bottle, and tons of “RTF” and various bike stickers. Their eyes were like a deer in headlights when asked if they like to ride a bike and needed a new helmet. They eagerly received the shiny blue shark helmets. I felt like Santa Claus handing out water bottles and colorful bike bells to kids. They couldn’t believe it – brand new?! For me?! At a parade?! COOL!!! HUGE smiles appeared, as they waved their new prized possession in their Mom’s and Dad’s and each others’ faces – LOOK WHAT I JUST GOT!!! We hope they took them home, and discovered a renewed excitement to ride their bikes. This is exactly what Richard did so much of on a regular basis for so many people.

It was our first effort to create awareness for the Richard Tom Foundation and our mission, which we hope was a result. It was tremendous start to much more to come from RTF down the road. We’re just getting rolling!

View the entire photo gallery here!