While many of you were with us at Stokesville Virginia celebrating our 21st annual Shenandoah Mountain Bike Festival, your Coalition sent a representative to the Youth Bike Summit in Arlington Virginia to find some ideas that we might borrow to use in the Valley. Enjoy Randall’s takeaway:
The 2017 Youth Bike Summit was a terrific and unique experience. This was truly a youth summit with well over half of the people in attendance were under 20 and mirrored the diversity of our nation.
The event began in 2011 thanks to two teens who attended a League of American Bicyclists’ National Bike Summit and left feeling out of place. They spoke with their mentor and together they created the Youth Bike Summit.
The summit hosted by Phoenix Bikes in Arlington, VA, was a fast-paced event that is loaded with information and packed with fun. The keynote speeches were minutes, not hours and set the tone. They also lived up to the summit’s mission, “Youth Bike transforms our local communities and strengthens our national movement by empowering bicycle leaders. “
Hearing from Daiquan Medley about how the Gearin’ Up Bicycles, a Washington DC bike kitchen and youth program changed his life. “I was a bad kid and always in trouble,” he said. He is now a bike mechanic for Gearin’ Up Bicycles, a youth leader and racing cross and mountain bikes. He credits Sterling Stone, their Executive Director for helping turn him around. He also gave this advice to mentors, “give us space and don’t tell us what to do, let us figure it out. It means more.”
Thank you Daiquan, I’ve taken your advice to heart.
The day was filled with over 30 workshops in three sessions. Train the Trainer was great information from Bike Pittsburgh about their Positive Spin Youth Cycling Toolkit. Solid information on how to engage young and new riders.
Next was Fionnuala Quinn, the upcoming keynote speaker for Harrisonburg/Rockingham Bike-Walk Summit on her hands on, Project Street Mix-up—the Bureau of Good Roads workshop. This took everyday riders and had them redesign a four-lane street to make it safer for motorists, bike riders, and walkers. The other project was to design a Traffic Garden, a kid-friendly bike course to learn the rules of the road and riding safety. I’m looking forward to hearing more from her November 3.
The last workshop was Greasing the Wheels: Revenue Strategies for Non-profit Bike Organizations, which was a terrific discussion on how to raise funds to create sustainable community biking programs and how established bike organizations are key partners in this strategies.
The event ended Sunday morning with the National Youth Bike Ride an eight-mile ride on the Mount Vernon Trail.
This event wasn’t about one type of bike or rider over another, anyone who rides mattered. The summit had a powerful energy that reinforces the work our Bicycle Coalition is doing and left me thinking about what new things we can do, like partner with Gearin’ UP Bikes to help bring DC youth to the Valley to ride our roads and experience our rural lifestyle.