Bike Club – Vernon
The last meeting of the Vernon Bike Club was a happy one. We are so proud of the students and their hard work over the past 12 sessions, and we were so excited to watch them ride away on their new bicycles. This fall’s Club was particularly special because of Yaquelin and Franky, two siblings who encouraged each other along the way. You can find our first blog post on the beginning of their Bike Club journey here.
Yaquelin and Franky both overcame challenges in Bike Club, for Yaquelin it was structured riding. In Bike Club, we ride in a line and use this as an opportunity to learn about pacing, space and riding safely with others. This was initially challenging for Yaquelin to navigate. When asked what she found difficult she said, “…being in front of someone [in line] and having people try to go around me.” Line order in Bike Club, as in any group-riding scenario, can be stressful. Yaquelin learned to hold her space in line. When the group visited the Community Cycling Center shop, Yaquelin set the pace and led the entire way. She concentrated on signaling and setting a good example. She also took the lead when planning a route back to school. It has been great to see her confidence grow and to know that after she graduates Bike Club, she’ll continue to be a great leader on and off her bike.
Franky also showed tremendous growth. He is a natural mechanic, and is more interested in learning the skills than simply completing the lesson. In our tube patching lesson, he had some trouble with a tube patch that wouldn’t stick, but he was excited to continue trying and he patched the tube on his second attempt. He provided a helpful hand to other students in the group and expressed interest in being a mentor for Bike Club in the future, and maybe joining summer Bike Camp. Whenever Franky was asked about his favorite Bike Club ride he always replied, “…the one we did today.” This infectious enthusiasm for riding encouraged everyone in the group, even on the cold and rainy days.
Yaquelin and Franky realized that Bike Club is about more than bikes. In addition to bike safety and mechanical skills, they discovered parks in their neighborhood and worked on team building skills, including being there to support each other and the group.
On Monday, November 28th, the students rode home on the bikes they earned. We wish them the best and look forward to seeing them riding around the neighborhood. We’d like to thank the students, Shantel and the Vernon SUN staff, and the Portland Children’s Levy for making the Vernon Bike Club possible.
In addition to the Vernon program, students at five other Portland schools had the opportunity to learn bikes this fall through the Community Cycling Center Bike Club program. Congratulations to all of those students!
Photos by Laura Koch and Kim Whitney.
To view more photos from Bike Club, please click here.