Leadership and academic strategies
abound for raising children growing up through the modern American malaise.
Well balanced, and resilient
|11yr old Josh Morris of BIKE LAW schooling a 45 yr. old NIKE exec.|
high school graduates are the holy grail of parents and teachers alike. But a child's personal choices are the specter of unknown probability in our search for quality citizenry.
Many would say, "all youth are at risk today, and not just those living in the inner city." Drugs, violence, crime, and video game lethargy are but a few of the modern phenomena that invade the idle moments of a young person's life. There are no guarantees that a perfectly balanced, well adjusted person won't make a bad choice.
When we think back over our lives, how many gifted and talented children with kind parents, from privileged backgrounds have gone out into the world and made catastrophic choices?
Some people however, learn to transcend their set-backs in life. You knock em down, they get up. You lock em up, and they get out to become President of their country. Some people become highfalutin celebrities, but stay grounded, and humble. What is that? Why do they choose the way they do?
I don't know.
But I do know...
Bicycle riding improves the statistics.
Bicycle riding puts the young perspective on the happy side of life. The hopeful side of life. And it adds the well received patina of aerobic athleticism to a young person's attributes. Energy to perform easily, as well as societal good looks for others to shape their impressions, give a teenager confidence.
Bicycles teach best life practices through discipline and freedom.
Kids pedal through their anger, and frustration, but are restricted to good form by their pedals' crank arm length.
Goals are like bicycle driven destinations, there is just no way to get out of powering up the watts required to travel the distance to the desired destination.
In twenty five years of coaching bicycle racing, I have come to believe laughter is one sign of something good going on. Interspersed with episodes of extreme oxygen debt, the laughter helps shape a good strong person. Compassion is one outcome that deep breathing and team work, when combined, seem to promote.
A bicycle's pedal stroke is also an excellent coach of Good Form as a concept. Regular Saturday practices with the Team are an excellent coach of Benevolence and friendship.
One of our students challenged by our weekly team ride is 16 year old Tristan Young, of Beaverton, Oregon. Tristan arrived with a passion for cycling, but without much of an outlet. Tristan is challenged by traffic filled roads, and by his learning style. Tristan has Autism. Today Tristan rides in a paceline with others in traffic, and competes in Oregon Bicycle Racing Association events. He became the Oregon Cup Individual Time Trial Champ for his age division in 2016.
Tristan says, "It's hard to focus when I really just want to do some thing, but then I remember i have to listen." Tristan adds in regard to cycling practice, "little things bother me when I am out and about during Practice."
He lists: "if my bike is not working like I want it to, or my mom wants me to put on sunscreen, or there is too much going on in the pack on the street, it bothers me."
Tristan takes this weekend challenge on, recovers, and is strengthened for daily life at his high school during the week. Of late, Tristan has been "mainstreamed" and gets his education in regular public school class rooms.
Tristan needs a village. Cycling has given Tristan and the other children on his team a safe social circle to perform in.
For example, Tristan's efforts have been noticed by caring adults in the cycling world. People in the Portland area like Bob Mionskie who rode for the National Team, and Dave Guettler, Owner of River City Bicycles, have come together to level Tristan's playing field by supplying him with professional equipment to pursue his goals. (see here
|Water fight.. on a hot day? Really?|
For kids like Tristan the bicycle is more than just a toy. The bicycle is a passport to a language of laughter describing what happiness feels like. His bicycle offers a vision of how he wants to shape his happiness with the help of others. Simply his bicycle clues him in on how much strength is required to get there. The bicycle is his passport, his teacher, and his friend.