Papa John donates helmets to Utah kids | ParkRecord.com

Papa John donates helmets to Utah kids

John Schnatter, founder of Papa John's Pizza, enjoys coming to Park City.

He has raced in the Deer Valley Celebrity Skifest before and is also a regular attendee of the Tour of Utah.

On Sunday, at Stage 7 of the bicycle race, Schnatter was on hand to watch Lachlan Morton claim the yellow winner's jersey.

In conjunction with his trip to this year's race, Schnatter donated 500 youth bike helmets to Bicycle Collective in Salt Lake City.

"We gave 500 helmets away to the kids," he said. "Every kid should be able to ride a bike. They're nice helmets and, from what I've heard, the kids are really excited."

Davey Davis, the executive director of Bicycle Collective, said the donation will make a big difference for the organization.

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"We promote cycling as a sustainable form of transportation," he said. "The fact that these guys were willing to give us really cool helmets for our kids' programs means those kids will be safe and really excited to ride a bike. It's really rare to be able to provide those kinds of resources, so we feel really grateful. We're excited to get more kids on bikes."

Davis added that helmets are important for the safety and confidence of young riders.

"It's a huge deal to have a well-fitting, safe helmet," he said. "It allows the kids to ride with confidence. Most kids don't hit their heads, but the fact that they're safe and they have the right gear means they can grow as riders and rely on their bikes more."

Schnatter said he was a late convert to the sport of cycling and wants to help kids get into the sport at a young age.

"As I got older, it was too hard on the knees to keep running," he said. "I took up cycling about 12 years ago and fell in love with it. If you're in Park City and Deer Valley, it's a great place to bike and stay fit."

As a cycling fan, he said he felt a desire to give back to the sport.

"My job as CEO of Papa John's is to make other people's lives better, whether it's my employees, my suppliers, my franchisees or my communities," he said. "This is kind of like my second home, so we got involved with Steve Miller [of the Larry H. Miller Group of Companies that sponsors the Tour of Utah] and we've had a ball with it."

Though Schnatter enjoyed a bird's-eye view of the race from his helicopter, he said being down on the street for Sunday's Park City start was something he enjoyed.

"It's the people," he said. "People here are kind and gracious. It's a great community and it's a lot of fun."

For more information on the Bicycle Collective, visit http://www.bicyclecollective.org.