Joe was a 15 year old who wanted to join bike club the first year it was offered at YES! However, he made a choice that many young people make, and that was to work…unfortunately, his job usually scheduled him on bike riding days. What I didn’t realize until late in the riding season was that it wasn’t his job that was keeping him from being able to participate on those days, it was the fact that it took him more than an hour to get to work because he had to ride the bus.
As a part of the bike program, we offered our first Earn a Bike session that summer. Earn a Bike is a six week curriculum where kids learn everything about a bike: bike maintenance, bike care, how to fix a flat tire or a busted chain on the fly…they basically take the thing apart and put it back together. At the end of six weeks, if the student attends 5 out of the 6 sessions, he or she will sign a contract about always wearing his or her helmet while riding and observing bike safety rules and then, the bike is theirs. Joe decided to make this part of the bike program a priority and attended every session.
I really wasn’t ready for the feeling that came over me when I watched those 8 kids ride away on their very own bike, the one that they earned from Earn a Bike! And believe me, there is so much packed in that last sentence, I could cry again just thinking about it but I don’t want to break all of that down right here, right now.
What I do want to share is this: A few days after Earn a Bike was over, I was in my office when I saw Joe riding his bike up 12th Ave, crazy fast! I yelled to him from my window and motioned for him to meet me at the door, I asked him how he liked his bike. He didn’t waste many words but let me know it was “cool” and that he rode it everywhere! I asked him where he was going in such a hurry and he said, “Oh, I’m on my way to work…but I’m not in too big of a hurry, it only takes me 15 minutes to get there.”
I assure you, it is NOT just a bike.
Pictured from left to right: Mohammad, Carlos, Abdul and Francisco getting ready for the Flying Wheels Ride, June 2012
*The YES! Foundation is a partner of Cascade Bicycle Club. Through this partnership, we are able to provide a program called the Major Taylor Project. Please go to http://www.cbcef.org/youth-major-taylor.html to learn more about Cascade Bicycle Club, Major Taylor and this very exciting program. You will be amazed and inspired, I know I am. If you have any questions or want to know more about how you can support the Major Taylor Project, contact Ed Ewing at firstname.lastname@example.org