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.