by Andrej Ciho
Youth bike trips at the South Atlanta Bike Shop are a yearly highlight! Kids look forward to these trips, and we’ve been encouraged by the participation of youth and their families over the years.
A few weeks ago, we hosted our first bike ride for the Fall season. Thirteen youth and six adults met one Sunday for a ride on South River Trail. We had a great time and covered twelve miles! Each time we do these bike trips, I am reminded of some of the benefits for our youth and their parents:
Many of the youth come during the week and have learned a great deal about bike maintenance and repair. Our rides give them a practical opportunity to use their critical thinking skills and consider mishaps that might occur on the ride and how to be prepared.
Our youth learn to think ahead and problem solve, packing extra tire tubes, snacks, and other needed supplies. Our youth know the value of having a well-functioning bike for the trip, and they make a plan to keep it that way!
Our bike trips are open to youth age 8-18 and their parents, and we have a range of abilities and skill levels on these trips. One of our core principles is that we look out for each other on the trail. We invite our older or more skilled riders to encourage and stay near someone else who may not yet be as comfortable on their bike.
The youth learn the value of comradery and working together. Since we’re not competing, there is no winning or losing team. We’re all outside and enjoying the ride together.
#3 Connection to Nature
Georgia can be stunning this time of year. And we’re happy to encourage families to get outside and enjoy it! On this past trip, I was riding next to a couple boys when we noticed the fragrant smell of some yellow flowers. A few minutes later, the boys noticed we were passing the same flowers (and smell) again!
We began to discuss the flowers we saw along the trail, laughing at the funny ones with red stalks and pointing out the purple ones. The boys asked me about the flower names, and I realized I may need to study up before our next trip!
A lot of what we do at the South Atlanta Bike Shop is preparing and training young leaders to bring change to their community by learning real-life job skills inside the shop. However, we also know getting youth to be active outside is one way to help them put their skills into action, build teamwork, and hopefully make a meaningful connection with nature. Check back here for more info on our next youth bike trip.