Overheard at the Youth Bike Summit

By Mary Lauran Hall on February 26, 2013


Two weeks ago, Alliance members Recycle-A-Bicycle held their third annual Youth Bike Summit an inter-generational exchange between youth, advocates and educators from around the country who are working to promote bicycling and bicycle education in their communities. The Alliance for Biking & Walking was proud to sponsor the 2013 Youth Bike Summit as part of our efforts to support community bike shops.

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The weekend was jam-packed with inspiring stories and lessons from youth and adults who are working to make bicycling more accessible in communities. Here are some of our favorite overheard comments from the event.

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“On a bike, I was able to experience so many firsts. … I rode over my first bridge. I caught my first fish with my dad. I built my first bike. I went to the high line for the first time, I’m giving my first speech. And for the first time, I’m going to the National Bike Summit in DC. Everything is scary the first time, but if you can do it more than once, it can be a blast.”
-Devlynn Chen, pictured above, a senior at Brox High School of Science in New York City. As an advocate with Local Spokes in New York City, Devlynn works to boost biking in the Lower East Side and Chinatown. She will be attending Dickinson College in the fall.

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“At first it sounded like a crazy idea that would never happen — to get youth from all over the country together to talk about bicycles.”
-Kimberly White, pictured above, former intern at Recycle-A-Bicycle and a founder of the Youth Bike Summit

“Due to the clear and present danger of bicycling to school, bicycling is discouraged.”
-Old transportation policy at a New Jersey public school. By working with the school, Sean Meehan, Program Director of NJ Safe Routes to Schools at the Voorhees Transportation Center, helped to replace the language with a more encouraging policy.

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“Quality sidewalks and protected bike paths are not cute architectural features. They are a right.”
-Dr. Enrique Peñalosa, above, former mayor of Bogotá, Colombia. Dr. Peñalosa gave a keynote address at the summit.

“I’m thrilled to see so many young people participating in an event focused on environmental sustainability and social empowerment.”
-Councilmember Diana Reyna, New York City Council

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“There are often three main obstacles to biking in low-income communities: where to get a bike, where to get a bike fixed, and people to ride with.”
-Keith Holt, above, Executive Director of Milwaukee Bicycle Works. Keith has been advocating for trail development and bicycling in large urban communities for almost a decade. He especially works to encourage ridership that best reflects the racial demographics of the communities that advocacy organizations serve.

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“We want to highlight why people are biking, why people feel empowered by biking, why they love biking, and all the diverse neighborhoods that people are biking in.”
-Shelma Jun, above, Co-Founder of the Biking Public Project

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“It started as wanting to cycle more, and it’s really turned into a movement.”
-Liz Jose, pictured above at far-left with the WE Bike crew, member and co-founder of WE Bike (Women’s Empowerment in Biking)

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“We are a for-profit company, but we’re doing it because it’s something we believe in. We believe in the power of the bicycle to improve the world.”
-Jay Ferm, above, Advocacy Director at Planet Bike

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