Find local advocacy groups, bike shops, instructors, clubs, classes and more!

Find by Zip Code or City, State
Find by State
Find based on current location

Strong Bike Communities and #SafePassage

[[{“type”:”media”,”view_mode”:”media_large”,”fid”:”3962″,”attributes”:{“alt”:”Flyer for upcoming Twitter chat”,”class”:”media-image”,”height”:”320″,”style”:”float: right; margin: 15px;”,”typeof”:”foaf:Image”,”width”:”480″}}]]Update: The White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans pulled together a synopsis of our engaging chat. View it here.  

This Thursday, November 20 at 12 pm, the League will be participating in a Twitter chat on ways to ensure safe passage to and from school for students, with special attention to issues facing communities of color. The chat is part of the #AfAmEd series put together by the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans and the Safe Routes to School National Partnership, and we’ll be joining an exciting list of participants from the active transportation and community safety movements. 

The special focus on what #SafePassage means in communities of color corresponds with what we have come to understand through the League’s Equity Initiative: While we can all agree on a goal of safer streets, we don’t always have the same idea in mind of what those streets will look or feel like. What makes kids feel safe, and what signals to parents that their children will be safe, varies between communities. That’s why connecting built environment change efforts like SRTS with the human infrastructure of bike clubs and community rides can help flesh out specific visions for sustainable street change.

We’ve learned this method from partners like Neil Walker, a longtime bike educator and LCI who also serves on our Equity Advisory Council. Through the organization Cycles and Change and other projects, Neil works to “introduce more people into the cycling community and introduce people to cycling as transportation.” Neil has worked to create bridges between bike advocacy and youth empowerment in the greater Atlanta area for well over a decade. In this photo, Neil helps get the Dream Team ready for the annual Georgia Rides to the Capitol event.

[[{“type”:”media”,”view_mode”:”media_large”,”fid”:”3963″,”attributes”:{“alt”:”Neil Walker with Dream Team youth”,”class”:”media-image”,”height”:”360″,”style”:”display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;”,”typeof”:”foaf:Image”,”width”:”480″}}]]

As an active figure in the multicultural Metro Atlanta Cycling Club (MACC), Neil has been a driving force behind the Bicycle Ride Across Georgia’s Dream Team. The Dream Team, which outfits and trains middle schoolers from low-income families so they can ride in the Great Bicycle Ride Across Georgia, now has five chapters around the state. This summer, in partnership with Triangle Bikeworks’ Spoke’n Revolutions program, ten kids rode from the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site in Atlanta to the national monument to Dr. King in Washington, D.C. You can learn more about the “King 2 King” ride here. The photo below shows the Dream Team and Spoke’n Revolutions all together.

[[{“type”:”media”,”view_mode”:”media_large”,”fid”:”3964″,”attributes”:{“alt”:”K to K ride with Dream Team and Spoke’n Revolutions”,”class”:”media-image”,”height”:”270″,”style”:”display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;”,”title”:”K to K ride with Dream Team and Spoke’n Revolutions”,”typeof”:”foaf:Image”,”width”:”480″}}]]

When we caught up over the phone this week, Neil emphasized the importance of collaboration between advocacy organizations like Atlanta Bicycle Coalition and clubs like MACC as a method for connecting young people to advocacy. He has developed a hybrid model that includes bike education and building communities that foster healthy transportation; Cycles and Change has facilitated SRTS education in schools across Georgia while also promoting youth clubs and community rides.

In his current role as educational coordinator with Boys and Girls Club of North Central Georgia, Neil plans to launch a student advocacy board to get the sixteen African-American high school seniors ready to present their bike ideas to the local mayor. Stories like Neil’s, and the people he’s influenced, are what we plan to discuss as a key part of #SafePassage for all children.

Read our recent report to learn about more bike equity leaders who are changing how their communities imagine safe streets. Do you know firsthand how bike clubs and rides help build safe communities so more kids can pedal to school? We hope you’ll join the conversation with @BikeLeague on Thursday!

Photos courtesy of Neil Walker.

Posted in