It has been a busy week and I don’t want to go without updating you on things, so here are a few quick updates as the week comes to an end:
1) On Monday, The United States of America will be remembering Martin Luther King Jr. in many ways. The folks that brought you Tour De Troit are putting on a bike ride that day. If you followed that link you will see that they are trying to get folks to pre-register for the ride. The best part? It is all FREE!
As far as I know the civil rights movement during King’s time was much more into going on really long walks and not bike rides, but I think this event can work out well. I recommend the bike ride, but whatever you are doing on Monday you should think about King. Not only was he working for racial justice, but also sought economic justice as well. In our country in particular those issues can be one in the same.
2) Next Wednesday there is this art show. As I’ve mentioned, it will feature art by youth from our Bike Tech program as well as some photos taken by detroitjetaime from our 2011 Safe Streets Youth Ride. But did I mention there will be art done by Jack VanDyke? Well…I did now. You wanna go to this.
3) This part is going to be a little longer…
Heather and I went to River Rouge High School this past week. We were invited by City Year to be part of their Health and Wellness night. Every time I go to River Rouge I feel the excitement of change.
I’m sure that “scorchers” riding around the turn of the 20th century didn’t dream that their bicycle city would become the “motor city” but eventually it did. Then more recently there are those of us that dreamed of a life less clogged. I only moved to this city five years ago and the greenways, bike lanes, bike shops and bike manufactures weren’t a part of my dreams. But here they are happening.
So what about other areas of the city? What about Brightmoor, Osborn and Southwest? What are their transportation dreams like? What will suburbs look like in five years? Where will River Rouge be?
What about 50 years? Maybe Macomb county will even attempt to be bike friendly? Okay, maybe now I’m dreaming too much…
But back to River Rouge. Speaking with the youth at the school, most of them were interested in biking or walking to school. Not having a bike, mechanical problems and theft were the main reasons for not riding to school. Some students said they don’t bike to school because they lived so close they would rather walk. Very few students felt that riding wasn’t safe or was “not cool.”
I spoke with administrators from the school that wanted to know how to get more youth on bikes. This is different than the administrators in other areas they seem to think that bicycling is a safety hazard akin to smoking, doing anything they can to stop their students from biking to school.
I also spoke with some friends of the shop from The Guidance Center / Promise Neighborhood of River Rouge. We recently worked together to get a bunch of youth under the age of 7 on bicycles. Since The Guidance Center will be working with these families for some time they are going to track data to see what effect these bikes have on them.
Maybe we’ll find that the youth that get these bikes will be more likely to ride later in life? Or perhaps when youth get bicycles it encourages their guardians to ride together with them as a family? Or perhaps when a whole neighborhood has youth riding around it, they get together and demand safer streets instead of bowing down to deadly car culture all the while hiding their kids indoors because this world is just so scary?
Okay, okay, okay…I’m dreaming again. Who knows what the data will say. But I’ve got ideas.
Or maybe one of these youth will go on to work for Macomb county and finally make some change there? Okay, okay, okay I’ll leave Macomb county alone, but only because I’m ending this update.
P.S. River Rouge isn’t the only school we are going to this year, we’ve already lined up visits to Ben Carson High School and the Detroit School for the Performing Arts. Looking forward to it.