The Bicycle Coalition of Maine recently provided a scholarship to Kadin Woolever to attend the National Youth Bike Summit. Below is the recap of the event provided by Kadin. Pictures of the event are available here.
I am writing to summarize my experience at the National Youth Bike Summit that I had the opportunity to attend on a scholarship from the Bicycle Coalition of Maine.
At the summit we were greeted by Pasqualina Azzarello, the director of the Recycle A Bicycle program which helps to give bikes to kids who don’t have a way to get them. The former mayor of Bogota, Colombia, Enrique Peñalosa also gave an inspiring speech in which he talked about the importance of having protected bike space in our communities. In Colombia, he was able to make incredible changes, such as a network of bicycle paths and greenways through low-income neighborhoods, and Ciclovia, a Car Free Day. He also talked about how our cities are moving more towards access for cars, and less for people walking or biking. He said, “Cars are a means of social differentiation and exclusion; bicycles integrate people as equals.” He concluded by saying that the best way to gain protected biking and walking space, is to get more people advocating for cycling involved in politics so that we can vote on these issues.
We then were led by marching band (The Rude Mechanical Orchestra) to the New School where I attended workshops on social change, making tool rolls, and a cycling group, Spoke’n Revolution.
In the social change workshop we learned about how to make changes through education, organizing, service, and advocacy. In the tool rolls workshop we sewed cloth in a roll-up pocket where cyclists can hold essential repair and safety tools such as tire levers, tubes, pumps, and patches.
In the last workshop a cycling group for children of color talked to us about their amazing bicycle trips through national parks and along the Lewis and Clark route. This group empowers kids with opportunities for leadership and many of them, who would not otherwise go to college, end up attending.
The National Youth Bike Summit was a great experience for me because it allowed me to see a lot of different aspects of cycling that I had never even considered before. I had always thought of cycling as something that kids all over the world had access to, but seeing many different groups that worked to donate bikes to children in need made me realize that there are lots of kids who do not get to enjoy great things like cycling.
One of the things that I am planning on doing with the skills and ideas that I have learned at the Bike Summit, and through my cycling experience, is to plan a charity bike ride in my community that will help to collect items for a local food bank. Thank you so much for giving me the opportunity to be able to go to this great event.