Dillon and Claudia – a family’s story of earning bicycles
In January, we piloted a new Winter Bike Club at Harvey Scott School, featuring a bicycle maintenance focused curriculum. The goal of the curriculum is simple – we help broaden the students mechanical skills inside during cold and rainy winter afternoons, so that they can spend more time riding bikes outside in the spring.
It was through Winter Bike Club that I had the chance of meeting Dillon Galacia. Dillon first struck me as quiet, shy and exceptionally engaged. Winter Bike Club is ideal for the student that loves the puzzle of bike mechanics. Our Bike Clubs work with 4th and 5th graders, and while most of the youth love riding, few enjoy sitting still and focusing on the details of how a bicycle is put together. In Winter Bike Club, however, kids like Dillon flourish. Dillon was asked if he would rather be a bike mechanic or a fireman. As he sported his fireman hat from career day, he proudly stated, “A bike mechanic!”
Dillon lives in the NE Cully neighborhood in the housing community of Hacienda Community Development Corporation. Hacienda provides a number of services like housing, microenterprise development, and youth and family support. Dillon’s mother, Claudia Gonzalez, is part of a resident bike committee that we’ve been supporting at Hacienda that call themselves Andando en Bicicleta en Cully, which translates to “Riding bikes in Cully.” For the past two years, the group worked to promote bicycling activities while advocating for infrastructure improvements, like bike storage, that make it easier for families to bike in their neighborhood.
This November, Claudia participated in our Create a Commuter workshop through Hacienda where she earned a bicycle. After receiving her bike, she surprised Dillon and his sister at school by picking them up on bikes. Dillon had even asked her before, “Mami, why do you always drive your car to pick us up from school? Why don’t we ride our bikes or walk?” He was overjoyed as she rolled up to his school on her new bicycle.
It’s through our programs like Bike Club and Create a Commuter that we are able to affect change in the cycling community, making it one where everyone has the opportunity to ride.
Thank you Claudia and Dillon for your hard work and inspiration, and to everyone who dedicates their time to our earn-a-bike programs, allowing for a growing trend of healthier, more vibrant communities.
Photo by Lara Sheets