29“It is the first time in our history that children are not expected to live longer than their parents! Clearly, ride clubs have a role to play in addressing this social issue.” Karen Overton, Recycle-A-Bicycle, Youth Cycling Program
Today we address not the keen category of junior racing, but the incredible societal potential of involvement with a youth cycling movement. Every one of us should be about the business of cycling evangelism. It’s a marketable gospel of health and vigor, and nowhere is this more in crisis than with the children of developed nations.
Programs for kids focus on fostering fitness that feels less like a mandatory gym class and more like fun, handling skills, contributing and participating in group settings, safety, and building self-confidence with each mile logged. Another tenet of the faith is that riding a bike provides environmentally-sound, affordable transportation – a sermon with worldwide youth appeal.
Youth programs assist kids in work-study about mechanics, seek fresh talent for race development, and provide alternatives to delinquency. Cycling is taught as vocation, on subjects like community consciousness, business management, and recycling bikes from landfill to the playground. Our young buds blossom in the environment that is the fertile ground of cycling culture. All this is obviously top-flight activism.
In a simpler role among non-cycling friends with children, it’s assumed I can teach their kids how to ride. Indeed, a coaching joy is watching a tyke go from his trike to a bike in a few grass lessons. This is one of my favorite father-daughter memories after all – a legacy that keeps on giving. Many of the kids assisted retain cycling’s appeal and turn out to be old folks on fixed gears spinning throughout a lifetime, through every rite of passage, a consistently happy activity that recalls moments well-spent in youth. Ride forth and make disciples!
Prayer for Youth Cycling
“Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.” 30Proverbs 22:6
We give thanks for a heritage in children. We pray for opportunity to pass on cycling’s best traditions and ask blessing on youth cycling.
Ponder Does my inner child need some retraining? Affirm I take a time-out and evaluate elementary motivations, skills, and activities. Watch for programs to donate bikes, visit a school, volunteer at a kids race, or guide a child after removing the training wheels!
29“One Revolution At a Time: A Guide to Starting and Running Youth Bike Clubs,” by Karen Overton and Audrey Warren, published by Bike New York and Recycle-A-Bicycle, 2002. www.bikenewyork.org and www.recycleabicycle.org
30The Bible, New International Version, Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society