“Our pies are unreal,” said J & L Pie Company co-founder and Adventure Cycling life member Larry Scott. But don’t bother trying to get one. Pie inventory is back ordered for years and “J&L are private people and prefer not to be contacted,” according to the website. If you think this business model might not be the best money-making endeavor, you’d be right. Good thing J & L Pie Company isn’t in the business of making money, in fact, they’re in the business of giving it away. “It’s a group of guys who like to be active in our community,” said Scott. “It’s a real pie company because we have letterhead, we have cycling gear, and our checks clear.”
For Scott — who spends his days as a certified public accountant in Encinitas, California — community and cycling are one and the same. On a 2009 tour from Albuquerque, New Mexico, to Durham, North Carolina, he and his cycling partner stopped in Asheville, North Carolina, and phoned a local bike club to find out about group rides. The next morning, five cyclists, including the president of Ashville’s Chamber of Commerce, took them on a 45-mile tour around town and introduced them to friends and community members along the way.
“Community involvement changes your life,” said Scott. “It comes second nature to me. My dad was on the board of two or three organizations. I’ve been around that world my whole life.” Three years ago, Scott became a life member of Adventure Cycling. “I’m a cyclist, and it seems like the appropriate thing to do, to support an organization that does what I feel is so much good in the cycling community.”
The Challenged Athletes Foundation (CAF) — a San Diego organization that connects physically challenged people with opportunities for active lifestyles and competitive athletics — has benefited from over 15 years of Scott’s commitment to community. In 2006, when CAF started the Million Dollar Challenge, a week-long, 620-mile fundraising ride down the California Coast, Scott didn’t think twice about signing up.
“Halfway through the first day I groaned and said ‘oh no.’ I was woefully undertrained.” Yet, six days later, he crossed the finish line along with the other 99 riders and continued to participate in the ride for the next six years.
“I have lived in my community for 40 years, but I feel like everything I do is with the people that I’ve met through Challenged Athletes Foundation cycling community,” he said. “It seems like cycling dominates my social life now.”
It was on one such ride that the J & L Pie Company was born in 2011. Under a sunny California sky, Scott cycled with a friend, the chairman of the Million Dollar Challenge, and talked fundraising. He offered sponsorship of the ride through a private foundation, but the foundation didn’t need publicity. “It’s boring to say XYZ foundation,” said Scott. In a split-second decision, he told his friend, “We’re going to be the J & L Pie Company.” Recently, when he asked CAF’s paratriathlete team if they minded being sponsored by a pie company they told him, “No. Everyone wants to know how we got a pie company to sponsor us.”
Whether he’s cross-country touring or riding his eBike to the grocery store, it comes down to the same motto for Scott: “You can’t have fun if you don’t participate. You have to go in with an open mind because you can’t guarantee anything. Some of the most fun you have is at the most unexpected times. So you just participate, kind of trust yourself and you hope that it ranks high on the fun meter.”
Story by: April Cypher is Adventure Cycling’s Development Coordinator. She always says yes to pie.
Join as a Life Member and help support Adventure Cycling into the future, while gaining the benefits of membership for life! We have a special premium if you join as a life member now.
It takes more than rain to stop this bicycle traveler
“Nothing I did had more impact on my life. If Adventure Cycling wouldn’t have been there, I wouldn’t have had the guts to try something like that.”
“I realized at some point that Adventure Cycling’s mission was unlikely to ever change from matching MY mission.”
“My first bike tour was one of the most valuable things I have done for myself ... I wanted to encourage people, especially women, to go for it!”
“I’m a cyclist, and it seems like the appropriate thing to do, to support an organization that does what I feel is so much good in the cycling community.”