“I’m not doing it for the money, but instead to introduce youth to the sport and teach knowledge and responsibilities to the kids in an effective manner and safe environment.” – Paul Brown III
For Paul Brown III, giving back has meant going back… to his youth.
“I always tell this story,” says Paul. When I was a really young kid, maybe five or six, I was riding my tricycle up to the top of my street in Columbia, Maryland when I heard a loud engine noise in the distance. A guy soon rolls by in a motorcycle and he sticks his foot out and pretends he’s pedaling, even though he wasn’t. I thought it was so cool that he didn’t have to pedal, I didn’t care that he mocked me, I just loved what he was riding and it got me interested in motorcycles. I started watching racing and developed a genuine love for it. I didn’t get into racing or riding until I was in middle school – around age 13. My first bike was a Yamaha RT 100, a 1994 model and it was a trail bike. I got it from my friend’s brother who never seemed to like riding the bike and his parents were willing to sell it to me. I saved up my lawn mowing money and bought it. My parents didn’t really want me to have it, but my dad eventually saw the love I had for the bikes.”
Everything in life begins with a little love and the passion Paul had for motorcycles transcended into a big idea. He saw it in his mind, now he holds it in his hands… Daddy’s Little Riders, (https://www.daddysrider.com/)
“Eight or nine years ago I was on my big bike doing some track racing,” says Paul. “I did some racing back in the day and I was going around the track, but I was going really fast, even scaring myself with the speed and the maneuvers I needed to make, so my buddy and I decided we’ve gotta slow ourselves down and get some training. We took a class, learned a little bit about corner speed, corner spins and road racing in the dirt and we noticed there were dirt bikes with street tires on them. We looked around to see if this kind of thing had made it to the east coast, it’s been popular for years overseas and even on the west coast here, but we found that locally Sandy Hook Speedway hosted the mini-moto series and go-kart racing. The two go hand-in-hand because of the size of the track, so we got 150 F Honda’s and put street tires on them. We went out and started riding and found joy, because we could do a lot of the same stuff we were trying to do on the big bikes, on a smaller bike.”
For Paul, that’s where the idea to run his own mini-moto training camp came from, learning the craft, and teaching his own daughter, who was only 4-years-old at the time. “I thought how cool it would be to teach other kids this same thing,” Paul says. “It’s a different type of sport. You get all the leadership skills you would in other sports, as well as the discipline and self-confidence. You get all that stuff, but you get it on the bike because you have to respect the bike!”
It’s a unique program for the youth and Paul wants to keep it that way – because it’s not really about racing, it’s about riding and gaining those life skills. Sometimes in life, you’ve got to slow down to speed up!
“The whole things is centered around being creative with it,” says Paul. “There were organizations out there for kids, but it’s all about race, race, race. My idea is, how do we get a kid on a bike at 5-years-old who just loves the noise and the thrill? We provide everything you need, you just bring the kid. The bikes are governed so they only go the speed of a power wheel or go-kart.”
Paul says he wants to keep the concept simple, not only the platform he’s teaching on, but the reason he’s teaching at all, to get kids out of the house and active in this world.
“All of the gaming is taking the youth off the streets, keeping them inside and having them play games on a video system instead,” laments Paul. “I want to get them back engaged with what we all loved to do as kids, ride bikes, even bicycles if they want. But my business, my side-hustle, is based on the mini-moto platform and some other racing and we are able to do this nearly year-round.”
It’s having an effect. Whether it’s on training wheels or two wheels, Daddy’s Little Riders is helping kids to gain confidence and have fun!!
Paul says he recently taught a young girl, whose father was supportive of this program, but whose wife was scared to death for her daughter. “Two months ago, when it was all said and done, the father came up to me and said, ‘You know your program is authentic and customizable, cause every step of the way while my daughter was riding you got to tweak the program to fit her.’ “I never thought about it that way before, but it is how it goes… we work on what each individual child needs to work on, whether it’s turning or reaching the brake, we make it fit their individual skill level.”
Not only does Daddy’s Little Riders feature Paul’s knowledge, expertise and desire to give back, but it’s also a family affair, which is especially helpful since it’s currently a part-time business. Paul’s full-time gig is as the Information Technology Director for Prince George’s County Fire-EMS. Before that he worked for 16 years at the University of Maryland in the field of network engineering and IT as well.
So with Daddy’s Little Riders, having the support and the participation of his family makes the part-time process easier for Paul and he wants to keep it small because with a full-time job and a full-time family he says he wants to be able to make decisions that will positively affect his family.
“My wife, Shelly, does all the social media content and my daughter, Kamya, is a mentor, depending on the type of riders we have,” says Paul. “She’s 11-years-old now and if the riders are eligible to be on the track, I take my daughter out there and have some of the riders follow her. It allows them to understand more and she can talk in their terms. So if what I say is too technical or at an expert level, she can speak more in their language. ”
Speaking of language, Shelly is a speech pathologist and just recently opened her own private practice, so Paul says the family is trying to get that up and running as well. It’s a busy life, as it is for so many entrepreneurs, but the family is still committed to the passion project of Daddy’s Little Riders, after all, it was Shelly who came up with the name after watching Paul teach Kemya how to do it.
“The passion part of this mission, you fit it in where you can get it in,” says Paul. “If you get to a point where you can replace the full-time income, great. As far as for the future of what we are doing, I’m the type of individual who is not so proud to reach out to people who can help me and I can help them in turn. I enjoy trying to elicit people for guidance and support, including sponsors. I’d like to run my own facility one day, somewhere I can operate and hire a staff to do what I do and then I can incorporate different programs, as well as hire kids who are interested in riding to teach others to do the same.”
It’s also about giving back at an even deeper level.
“United Karting near Arundel Mills, the other track we use, has also asked me if there was a charity I would like to donate toward,” says Paul. “My dad has bone cancer and I think I’m going to want to do something in cancer research because that is something that is wiping out a lot of people around here. What little I’m able to profit now goes back into the business to keep the bikes going and have the gear for the kids, ages 5 to 16. There’s a lot of growth potential here, which I can really only reach with my own facility. We need backing… sponsors and to raise money. Am I ready for it? You’re never ready for the next big step because everything is a risk. It all depends on who is willing to get on board with it.”
Paul’s business is about embracing that same spirit we all have as children… when we believe anything is possible. Life is the ultimate ride, no matter how many wheels you’ve got under you, whether it’s four wheels, or only two. Daddy’s Little Riders is a great head start.
Twitter: @daddysrider, #daddyslittleriders
Go Fund Me Donations: https://www.gofundme.com/daddysrider
This story, as well as all of the others on our website, are written by Mark Brodinsky, an Emmy-Award winning television producer, speaker, popular blogger, and published author. You can find more information about Mark on his website at http://markbrodinsky.life/