Member Profile: Neil Walker
Joining the League is a way of giving back to cycling, to help others experience the joy and freedom that cycling brings. Neil Walker exemplifies that spirit of giving back.
League Member Neil Walker first discovered cycling after a series of knee injuries ended his college basketball career. A specialist recommended cycling as an alternative to surgery. He got on a bike, strengthened his knee, and in the process found a new direction in life. “It has been a blessing to have cycling in my life,” Neil says. “It gave me life, invigorated me.”
The bicycle movement is blessed that Neil now spends much of his time sharing his love of cycling with youth and diverse communities in Atlanta.
Much of Neil’s work focuses on communities of color and disadvantaged neighborhoods. He rides with the Metro Atlanta Cycling Club and, as their youth coordinator, works directly with five youth programs. Neil also partners with the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition as a League Cycling Instructor, teaching cycling in 10 middle schools. Several times a year, Neil leads overnight trips for youth, including taking two dozen kids each year on the Bicycle Ride Across Georgia (BRAG). There are so many lessons to be learned from these trips, Neil says: The kids get to see the world outside of their neighborhoods, and learn teamwork, service and stewardship.
But Neil goes beyond the traditional advocate. He’s working to improve kids’ health, not just through bicycling, but by sharing his interest and love of organic farming as a means to help youth make better decisions about how they fuel their riding. Through his consulting business, Cycles in Change, he helped establish Women Bike Atlanta and has become an LCI coach. He plans to use this new title to help train new LCIs within the National Brotherhood of Cyclists — a coalition of Major Taylor cycling clubs — and work through those groups to replicate Atlanta’s successful youth programs to other cities.
Neil is also a member of the League’s Equity Advisory Committee, working with us to improve our internal practices, the reach of our programs and our opportunity to elevate and be informed by new leaders in traditionally underrepresented communities.