“Tween Machine” uses pedal power to raise money for cystic fibrosis research
Photo: Joshua Huston
A bright-green, three-person, 10-feet long bicycle being pedaled by a dad and his two “tween-age” daughters is a rare and delightful sight.
It’s even better when you find out that the bike — dubbed the “Tween Machine” — is also a fundraising powerhouse for cystic fibrosis.
Stuart Hargreaves’ 12-year-old daughter, Lili, was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis when she was preschool age. Cystic fibrosis is an incurable lung disease that makes breathing difficult, but aerobic exercise can help those with the disease to breathe easier. For Lili, cycling is one of her favorite ways to work out.
Last year the Redmond tween was eager to bike in the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation’s Cycle for Life event, but learned that she was too young to participate. Her dad came up with an alternative: the Seattle to Portland Bicycle Classic (STP), a race he’d done several times before. The father-daughter duo decided to turn the STP into their own fundraising event and collected $7,000 for cystic fibrosis research leading up to the July 2014 ride. They rode the STP together on a tandem bike.
This year, Lili’s 11-year-old sister, Amelia, asked to join them. So the family found a bicycle-built-for-three on Craigslist and the fundraising kicked into gear. By the time the trio biked the STP this summer, Team Lili had raised $9,000 for cystic fibrosis research.
Like most of the participants, the Hargreaves completed the 200-mile ride in two days. Lili describes it as an enjoyable and rewarding experience, and she’s already looking forward to participating in the STP again next summer.
“I love the bike riding,” she says. “It’s just so fun. I like how you go really fast, and I like spending time with my family.”
Stuart adds that biking is the perfect way to raise money for the cause.
“Any exercise Lili can get is super healthy for her,” he says. “It’s great to fundraise and have the added benefit of making her healthier.”