Create a Commuter workshop at Open Meadow introduces new bicycles!

Create a Commuter ProgramOn April 16th 2011, we held our second Create a Commuter workshop with Open Meadow Career Services in North Portland. The mission of the Open Meadow Career Services Department is to ensure that all Open Meadow youth reach their long-term career goals by providing access to advanced employment and educational opportunities, focused training, and comprehensive support.

The program is designed to provide incremental and continuous support for low-income youth from the time they first define their career goals, through their first employment experience, and on into college and career-track employment.

We had 9 Open Meadow participants sign up for the Create a Commuter program, and not only did they all show up, they all showed up early! This was partly due to the program staff person Lee Ann Lawrence providing them with a delicious lunch, but they were all also very excited about their bicycles!

This was a highlight workshop for us at the Community Cycling Center as well, as it was our first workshop with our new KHS bikes! These flashy bikes include top notch components, racks, fenders, lights, and come in 2 nice and neutral colors to help the participants look professional when riding their bicycles to job interviews. It was also really nice for us that all of the bikes were the same, as that prevented any jealousy among participants about someone getting a Trek, and someone else getting a Gary Fisher, etc.

With all of the participants fed and on time, we started out right away with dynamic and experiential teaching, and participants were fitting helmets within the first 10 minutes. We went through the bicycle safety check, took a short test ride and also practiced putting the bikes on the Tri Met bus bike rack that we brought. Next up was shifting, handling and avoidance, where we had 3 participants riding their bikes indoors up on trainers, which was a hit as usual. The idea of being able to ride indoors when the weather is bad, or you simply want to work out while you are watching TV is very appealing to folks. We then covered the rules of the road, and headed out for our longer ride.

The second ride took us down Wabash, along Willamette, up Delaware to Chief Joseph Elementary, where they all practiced locking their bikes and taking off the lights and pumps. We took the Bike Boulevard on Bryant back to Wabash which took us back to Open Meadow. This flat looped ride was a highlight for everyone, and even participants which health concerns and asthma were able to finish the ride with ease!

We ended with a fun map reading activity, wheel removal and flat tire repair practice. Everyone was eager to ride again, and when one of the students asked if everyone was planning on taking the bus home, almost everyone exclaimed they were going to ride home!

It was a great workshop, with a great program, and I feel confident that these bicycles will make a difference in the lives of these 9 participants.

Memorable quotes from the Create a Commuter workshop:

  • “Riding your bike is so much faster than walking!” It’s like email versus snail mail!” – Joy
  • “This is the most fun and exercise I’ve had in months, and the best part is that they were together!” – Joy
  • “Since I am a nerdy shut in, I really liked the mechanical stuff where we took things apart”. – Program participant
  • “You ladies Rule!” – Jake

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