From Taylor Kuyk-White of the Bicycle Coalition Youth Cycling Program:
Since the Youth Bike Summit (and our work in positive youth development through bicycles at the Bicycle Coalition Youth Cycling Program) is all about nurturing youth voice, independence, and leadership, I left this project completely in the hands of the youth who enthusiastically volunteered for the opportunity. Special kudos go to Jahmiel Jackson who is a new athlete with us and an aspiring writer, currently writing a fantasy novel, for taking the initiative on this piece.
By Jahmiel Jackson, Mya Miller and Kayla West
Every year a group of passionate, proactive and inspiring youth, young adults and seniors alike meet to converse about everything from problems in the cycling community to the components that make it an enjoyable sport. Although the location may change, the resolve of these riders and supporters does not.
The Youth Bike Summit is an event that is held annually. It establishes a place where all age groups can learn and educate others about their experiences and go to vigorous workshops on many topics on cycling. This year it was held in Arlington, Virginia from October 6 to October 8 and was hosted by Phoenix Bikes. In addition, organizations and youth groups can apply to give presentations about their journey in the cycling work. Over the course of three days, cycling advocates have the chance to bond over good food, inclusive and fun activities, and awesome presentations.
One of the main reasons why so many people attend every year is to be a part of what the Youth Bike Summit represents: unity, diversity, and positive social change. The sensational topics in this year’s discussion were invoking and widely accepted from the crowd of supporters, like the oldest woman to travel across America on a bike, how to make your own all-girls team, and an eighth grader that started his own bike shop. Overall, it is a place where all voices can be heard and respected.
The messages at the Bike Summit resonated well with one group in particular: Bicycle Coalition Youth Cycling (BCYC): a program under the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia. BCYC fosters healthy habits, independence, and leadership in youth one ride at a time. It was BCYC’s third time at the Youth Bike Summit and second time preparing and presenting. BCYC Youth continue to be inspired by the multitude of youth based cycling organizations, each year bringing home innovative ideas such as implementing a Youth Advisory Committee. When asked how the Youth Bike Summit has affected her, Mya Miller a BCYC athlete of three years, responded, “It has fueled my desire to be involved in Youth based cycling because seeing other youth gather from across the country to do something similar meant that I was able to do it too, and that’s the kind of motivation I need to keep me involved and leading more projects.”
In retrospect, the National Youth Bike Summit will continue to accept feedback from its participants and always try to procure a better and safer cycling world. However, it starts with YOU. Are you passionate or curious about cycling or just want to share an opinion? Then the Bike Summit is the place for you! It welcomes and encourages you to be apart of the amazing cycling world and outstanding people that make it up.
A couple months ago, I was in San Rafael for the Sunset Criterium and got to witness the kid’s race, which was one of the most adorable things I’ve ever seen, despite not having, wanting or even really liking children. The little kids on balance bikes were the cutest of all.
It turns out that there is actually a national balance bike racing series for toddlers and children presented by Strider Bikes called the Strider Cup, which will be held in three different cities throughout the country as well as a final “World Championship” race in Boulder, Colorado.
The races aim to be family-friendly and provide a chance for small children to put their balance bike skills to the test and compete in a friendly and encouraging atmosphere. The races are open to children between two and five years old.
The Strider Cup races will be found in the following cities this next year:
- Saturday, May 5: Fort Worth, Texas, in Sundance Square
- Saturday, May 26: Cleveland, Ohio at the Public Square
- Saturday, June 16: Seattle, Washington, at the Seattle Center
- World Championships: July 19-20 at Civic Park, Boulder, Colorado
This past year’s World Cup hosted over 382 toddlers from 10 different countries and organizers are expecting over 500 toddler-aged racers from around the world to compete in 2018. Participation in any of the racers automatically qualifies the rider for the World Championship. Pre-registration will open in January.
A typical Strider race scene features excited and proud young parents and grandparents eagerly encouraging their young racers as bright yellow cowbells are rung and the starting gate drops. Toddlers, some still in diapers, wearing colorful helmets lean forward at the 24-foot wide start gate, kick their short little legs, and embark upon their 650-foot-plus journey over obstacles such as tires, water features, and wooden ramps. Parents cheer, run alongside the course as though it were a cross-country race, and coach their little ones to the finish line. All racers are treated to a celebratory podium award ceremony immediately following their main race, where they will receive either a trophy or a medal and pose for the crowd of proud parents and spectators.
As one parent put it, “best part was seeing the joy on my child’s face as he got to go down ramps and through tunnels. In every picture he has a huge smile on his face. He is still talking about it and was showing off his trophy to everyone. The whole event was amazing and adorable.”
Visit the Strider Bikes website for more information.Tweet Print