Meet The Founder

Mike Kelley

I live in Seattle, which isn't the only place it rains...

This is in Indianapolis. October 2009. And it was wetter than it looks...

I'm the good-looking guy in the ACE jersey. No, the other one. Behind Barry. Yeah, that's me. Mike.

It rained so hard, so long, riding into this town that Barry said "let's go buy snorkeling gear and take a picture". We are actually wearing fins in this photo.

Well, it takes a guy like Barry to get me to do something like that. I'm basically a regular guy with a nice bike, a good business, and a great family. And you most likely are a more experienced, accomplished, and productive rider than I will ever be. I never meant to organize a bike team. I didn't even intend to become a biker. But thanks to the endorphin rush of a distance ride into Atlanta GA, I came up with this idea that riders would enjoy donating pocket change every time they went for a ride. Better still, if a generous corporate sponsor matched it then riders would see their donations doubled! After a few month of trying to shake the idea I realized it wasn't letting go, so instead I attacked the concept. I wrestled with details, and invited others to persecute the model. Life would be simpler for me if this were a bad idea, but everybody likes it, riders are joining, sponsors are matching... Welcome to TeamACE.

I started riding in 2009 at age 49. It had been 15 years since I had really ridden at all, and before then it had only been around town a bit to complement my running miles. Still, I thought of myself as someone who could ride, even though I didn't. I decided that year to join the Tour de Kids CMN fundraising ride from Chicago to Atlanta produced by the Ace Foundation. I just wanted to be cool like the other Ace riders I had seen do the event in previous years. So I raised money and I trained 1,000 miles in 4 months in order to ride 850 during two weeks of October 2009. Riding my red Bridgestone RB1 was a resurrection of athletic spirit for me. A few weeks into training, just about the time I was feeling mildly accomplished like "hey—maybe I can actually do this" my plan was nearly unseated: there was a little white pickup which made a right turn across my lane while I was going straight. I slammed into his bed canopy with my left forearm and continued to steer with my right hand such that my bike never made contact with the side of his truck and thereby avoiding a crash. I continued with three bounces of my forearm to keep my bike off his wheel and we completed his right turn together as if I was his sidecar tandem. This was a fairly low speed maneuver or I certainly would have hit the turf, yet I was so impressed with myself that I had fended off a monster that I decided at that moment that I had become a real biker: I realized I could think and ride at the same time, that I could risk and survive, and that I should never count on being so lucky again. Street lessons are the most vivid, probably because of the panic. I think the driver knew I was hitting his truck, but he never stopped or acknowledged it.

Of course this spawned a sweet rationalization: "I fought the truck and I won. Therefore... I deserve a new bike!" That's how I met my Jamis. Don't get me wrong—the RB1 would have taken me to Atlanta just fine. That's not the point. It was time to join the modern world of biking. I could not believe what technology had done to bicycles! All aspects of riding and performance were noticeably improved. That's when I fell in love with this industry.

Three months later, riding with 40 other bikers into Atlanta is when I fell in love with this community. TeamACE is my monument of gratitude for all of them.

— Mike Kelley

Joe Kelley

Joe is our boy, pictured here at age 9 with his first "real" bike as he called it - a gift from his Uncle Mark.

Joe likely would have died at birth had it not been for the fine hospital care he received in Seattle. Lucky for him it was just a situation to fix and not a condition to live with. Just the same, Kathy and I fell in love with him even more because of how cruel it was to begin his journey requiring an IV needle, oxygen tubes, and a blaring sunlamp for 7 days. Within an hour after his birth, he began to wheeze and turn blue. Really—his whole body was turning blueberry. His lungs were filling with liquid and he was effectively beginning to suffocate. Scary. He quickly recovered when they put the tubes up his nose. It was a simple fix yet required a medical regimen of treatment for his first full week in the world.

Kathy and I have since realized that we've become extra sensitive to the stories of other kids who have overcome obstacles, and those still fighting for their life. Through our businesses, we are fortunate to donate directly to a number of causes and organizations that benefit children. Joe's story is tame compared to so many conditions that invade childhood. We were lucky, really. Still, we believe a kid has the ongoing right to a childhood of peace and security in health. So, of all the charities to support, of all the causes worthy of another nickel, we chose the one that makes us cry the most easily: Kids in need.

Joe was not a beneficiary of CMN at the time of his treatment. Our association with CMN came later as hardware store owners in the Ace family. Yet his history set us up to understand the terror of illness and accidents that arrive uninvited into childhood. Kathy and I know that many conditions need the treatment of new technology that few families can afford. This is the gift, the miracle CMN brings. And that's why we chose to build TeamACE in support of the Children's Miracle Network.

  • 100
    Riders Registered
  • 18
    States Represented
  • 185235
    Mileage to Date
  • 16600
    Donations to Date
  • 99
  • Tim S.
  • Palm Harbor, FL
  • FL - All Children's Hospital
  • 98
  • Elizabeth B.
  • Plainfield, IL
  • IL - Children's Memorial Hospital
  • 97
  • Kelly Ann W.
  • Salem, OR
  • OR - Doernbecher Children's Hospital
  • 96
  • Dennis R.
  • Roanoke, IL
  • 95
  • Aaron H.
  • Roanoke, IL
  • IL - Children's Hospital of Illinois
  • 36
  • 25
  • Jeffrey T. @ 10,383 mi
  • WA - Seattle Children's Hospital
  • 10/06/17
  • 1
  • 25
  • Mike K. @ 9,565 mi
  • WA - Seattle Children's Hospital
  • 10/06/17
  • 31
  • 150
  • Scott P. @ 17,750 mi
  • MI - Helen DeVos Children's Hospital
  • 07/23/17
  • 1
  • Mike K.
  • 10/23/17
  • 027
  • 36
  • Jeffrey T.
  • 10/03/17
  • 020
  • 1
  • Mike K.
  • 10/02/17
  • 016
  • 36
  • Jeffrey T.
  • 09/29/17
  • 028
  • 36
  • Jeffrey T.
  • 09/27/17
  • 019
  • 36
  • Jeffrey T.
  • 09/23/17
  • 020
  • 1
  • Mike K.
  • 09/20/17
  • 011
See All Stats