Working with the next 450 Kristin Armstrongs

 

Last Saturday, a crew of volunteers—along with Christa, Jimmy, Sam, and me—set out to fix up a bunch of kids bikes. Why? For future riders everywhere, and to celebrate the social benefits of bicycling: that’s why!

Last weekend was the Twilight Criterium, one of Boise’s biggest cycle racing events. Professional and Amatuer races started at 1:30pm; and people from all over came to compete, watch, and experience one of Boise’s quintessential summer events. Before the pros came the pros-in-training: our community’s kids. About 450 kids ages 3 - 10 from all over the valley came down to participate in the Kids’ Ride with Kristin Armstrong. BBP was there to conduct check-in, do ABC Quick Checks, and stage the kids before they took off.

Did I mention we did this all in less than two hours, on the hottest day of the year? Yep. The BBP crew rocks, simply put!

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I see the social benefits of bicycling in events like these that invite young riders to see new and different parts of cycling. Each kid had the opportunity to meet Kristin Armstrong, and even took the challenge of racing her during the ride!

I thought back to growing up bicycling my neighborhood with my family and friends. As a kid, my neighborhood was incredibly disconnected from the rest of Boise. Buses did not run there, and there wasn’t a safe riding environment. My neighborhood was divided by stroads and, due to its design, didn’t support a strong community for our neighbors.

I thought about how attending something like the Kids’ Ride would have impacted me. Saturday’s riders were able to experience a moment surrounded by other kids from different neighborhoods with bikes of all shapes and sizes. These riders were immersed in what makes bicycling so great: connecting with other young riders, empowerment from riding the same track as professionals, and experiencing the Boise community as a whole.

Finally, I thought about the events that have passed and are coming up in Boise. I thought about the group of kids I ran into at World Village Fest, who got there on the bicycles they received from BBP.

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They may live all over the valley, but their bicycles brought them into the community so many of us are privileged to experience, and may even take for granted.

An event like the Kids’ Ride may not seem so impactful for our youth, but it is! For some kiddos, it makes a direct impact on their lives in Boise; perhaps it was their first time biking around downtown. For others, the indirect impact is knowing that this community is theirs to experience, and they got to do so this weekend.