Theme Song: Sunburst
World Bicycle Relief has distributed over 200,000 bikes in the last ten years in Africa and the developing world. Bicycles are an “engine for economic and cultural empowerment” that afford people better mobility access to healthcare, education and business opportunities. It is phenomenal to read through their website and see the fundamental difference bicycles are making in individual lives and the power they foster for transforming entire cultures.
Here in Albuquerque and the greater Southwest we also have a significant population struggling to make basic ends meet. Bicycles are a key that open up affordable transportation and have an impact far beyond getting us from point a to point b. Bicycles facilitate essential exercise without having to carve out additional time to work out, elevate self esteem, and can even serve as a means of personal expression. Kids and adults can have so much fun decorating and personalizing their bicycles, and customization makes riding bikes more enjoyable. In Albuquerque we have a community bike shop called Esperanza that is helping people get rolling at a lower cost. In Flagstaff AZ where I lived the last ten years the university campus has opened up the Bike Hub “promote cycling as a health and sustainable form of transportation”. There are many similar programs including Every Kid a Bike in Las Vegas NV and Bikes for the World that get bicycles underneath people who need them at little or no cost, and provide some basic training and education.
Developing the education, culture and infrastructure to further empower people to use their bikes is an important part of actualizing the full power of the bicycle. Often times new cyclists are intimidated to ride on the streets and don’t feel welcomed to be a part of regular traffic. Subsequently we get riders behaving in unpredictable ways. I am working on designing and delivering educational and instructional programs to empower people to ride with confidence utilizing the infrastructure and following the rules we have to accommodate bicycles. And also working on voicing my bicycling experiences to provide input to what kind infrastructure developments and modifications may work the best to facilitate quality and healthful environments for everyone that wants to bicycle. Working together we can be a big part of a world wide culture that fosters stronger human relationships through the power of bicycles.