Youth Bike Summit 2013!

                              We're not in Troy anymore, toto!

          This past weekend, several of tbr’s beloved volunteers trekked down to NYC for the 3rd annual Youth Bike Summit (YBS). This three day event, hosted by local collective Recycle-a-Bike, focused on youths, bike education, and advocacy. We sure did take away a lot from it!

   Saturday featured a kickoff with keynote speakers Enrique Penalosa and Devlynn Chen.

     Enrique Pensalosa is the former mayor of Bogota, Columbia and all around general rock star in the social justice world. During his term in office, he focused on creating safe spaces for local communities and acknowledged the importance of societal welfare in the structuring of our transportation systems. He asks us: How would the quality of life improve if the proper infrastructure was implemented? How would the world be if the health and happiness of people were taken into consideration during urban planning? Why are cars prioritized over everything else, including the amount of land we dedicate to parking spaces instead of sidewalks or bike paths? Great things to ponder over for universally improved welfare. Aside from giving awesome and funny speeches, Enrique has done a 1000 other things that we can use for inspiration. Check him out!

    Devlynn Chen was the youth speaker of the day. She told of her experience as a Local Spokes ambassador, as well as relayed the evolution of her personal history with bicycles. LS is a rad organization that works synergistically with several non-profits to engage, understand, and advocate for the many diverse communities’ perspectives on cycling. Devlynn’s story can resonate in many of our hearts, about apprehensions and fears that stem from riding. Volunteering with several bike organizations has helped her instill a confidence and strong passion for bike advocacy. Hey, maybe joining TBR can help you feel that way too!

     Next, the rude mechanical orchestra led us in a dance, jam-tastic procession to our meeting space a few blocks over. They handed out signs as we marched along the streets of Manhattan, touting our bicycle love!

                        (credit to Christine Bourgeois for this snap!)

   YBS offered 3 workshop sessions through-out the day, with many different topics in each session. Presenters came from a over a dozen cities in the U.S!

      Sheila, Andrew, Mae, and Dakota all decided to make like banana peels and split in order to maximize feedback. These presentations ranged from how to start an after school bike program, to engaging underrepresented bicyclists in our local and national communities, to creating safe spaces, and fostering leadership opportunities for youth participants. There was a lot of information taken in, but we are excited to say that this experience has galvanized multiple conversations that focus on the improvement of our organization as a whole. We hope to bring some youths with us next year, and are looking at how we can make that happen.

           (credit to Christine Bourgeois for capturing the bike lovers !)     

           On Sunday, Seattle’s Bike Works facilitated a vision quest using the model of Open Space Technology. Wow! We really enjoyed this approach and would love to take it with us to future events as well as employ it into more of our functions. Here, participants discussed the issues that relate to bicycles that are of most interest to them. After listing several different topics (Ie: adultism+ageism, food justice, common revolutionary struggles, intersectionality of race, gender, + class in bike culture, bike!bike!, shop sharing, cargo bikes, effective and authentic communication in bringing people into the community, etc) we split off into groups to further discuss them, sharing experiences and perspectives pertaining to the field of choice. We want to keep these conversations going!


    TBR was very invigorated by our experiences at YBS and would like to structure our programs so as to serve more of our community's needs. If anyone has feed back for what they would like to see at TBR or even just personal opinions about our current system, leave us a comment! Change comes from you! (and us)!