I began this blog for a few reasons: partially to motivate myself to take on a new challenge (I stick to things better when I’m held accountable), somewhat to help others with no cycling experience believe they too could start at any age, and partly to create a conversation about the sport and to help, in some small way, grow awareness to something I have grown to love.
But the more I ride, and the more time I spend in the cycling community, the more I see the need for something bigger than all the other topics. We need to address the lack of support and community and opportunity for the next generation of cyclists.
Foundations like Axel Project are doing an amazing job of working with companies like Strider to help introduce a love of cycling children. The problem comes when kids outgrow Striders. Schools and communities have no resources to help continue building cycling skills. Kids are “aging out of cycling”, not due to lack of interest but lack of resources to help them continue on their path. They end up opting for soccer, football or baseball, because of the easy accessibility of those programs.
We are failing our children in this manner. Cycling is an activity they can utilize through the entirety of their lives, that will promote health from toddler years to old age. I understand the struggle for parents, I feel it myself. I have nowhere near enough skills and comfort on my bike to take on teaching my daughter (and as I mentioned in Letting Go, I am lacking the basic ability to teach my daughter in general).
I, as I am sure a lot of parents, need a resource to provide this for my child. And I want this. I want her to ride, I want to see the look of joy on her face, the exhilaration in her eyes. So while I can’t teach my daughter, I know I have the resources to help.
Recently some friends of mine, the founders of Axel Project, started a Facebook page and a conversation of US Junior Cycling, helping create a conversation on the subject and offering a place to post resources for junior cycling events. I want to help in the only way I know how, which is to ask any and all that read this to offer their resources towards this effort. If you know of events, please share them. If you want to start a local cycling group or add to a bicycle advocacy group by incorporating junior cyclists, chime in. Whether you have children or not, if you love cycling and want to see it grow stronger and more prevalent, please join the Facebook Group and offer any support you can. Together, I know we can create something amazing to grow the next generation of cyclists.
When I envision this in my head, I see something truly great coming of this. I see a nationwide effort of raising awareness and funds. I see us as a country embracing the health and sustainability cycling offers. So many wonderful things can be achieved by our support. Whatever you may have to offer, please do. I believe together we can create something amazing!
I am encouraging everyone who reads this to join in the conversation, and to contribute to making cycling an option for kids, just as much as soccer or football or dance.