Outdoor Adventures with NAYA

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By Rebecca Fisher, Communications Intern

Over the last month, the Community Cycling Center teamed up with NAYA to run a three part elective series for students at NAYA. The elective series was part of a larger series called “Outdoor Adventures” taught by Ben Taylor (pictured below).

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The three part bike segment consisted of one session on basic bike maintenance and rules of the road, one session where the students rode out to Community Cycle Center and received a tour of the bike shop, and the last session was a wheel building workshop where the students were able to work on bike wheels for the Holiday Bike Drive!

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Ben Taylor commented on the importance of this program because it promotes “engagement with the community, introduction to a potential form of transportation and recreation and for some students an opportunity for future volunteering”. This program gives NAYA students an introduction to not only biking, but also the community organizing that happens around it. Community Cycling Center is a great volunteer opportunity for students to get involved in.

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Ben expressed his hopes that this series would encourage students to starting biking themselves. “Biking is a big part of the Portland community but it’s something that most of my students don’t have access to, and this gives them an opportunity to get into biking.” Also, Ben hoped that by showing them how much fun volunteering for the Community Cycling Center is, he could help encourage them to pursue more volunteer opportunities. “The wheel workshop gives students a chance to learn new skills and give back to the community, and some students have expressed interest in signing up to volunteer more in the future.”

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For the students, there was an overwhelming consensus that working on the bike wheels was the best part of the bike segment of the series. For Amari, age 17, he had never worked on bikes before and he enjoyed it “because I like doing stuff with my hands.” Jada, also age 17 said she “liked knowing how to take the bike apart and put it back together. I like hands on stuff.”

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Anakin, age 15, said he liked the wheel building because “I enjoy working with my hands and I know I’m helping the community”.  In addition to the agreement about the benefit of working with their hands, there was a shared sentiment that students wanted to go out to volunteer nights and get their hands greasy again.

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Taylor said the biggest challenge of this series was acquiring all of the necessary gear and tools to teach what he wanted. “This is why working with the Community Cycling Center has been so great. Lale was able to get bikes for the whole class, organize a tour, and get us set up to help out with the Holiday Bike Drive.”

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When asked about the most rewarding part of the series, Taylor said it was “seeing how much fun students had on the bikes. Riding bikes is something that I really enjoy so it was fun to share it with the class.”

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