Triangle Bikeworks, a youth empowerment nonprofit in Carrboro, is taking strides to connect the community's young people to the natural world.
Its program “Spoke’n Revolutions” hosts youth bike trips, including a tour every summer, with students biking 700 miles in two weeks, passing through some of the country's historic and cultural sites.
Program manager Itza Salazar said the tours are geared toward middle and high school students. The tours aim to provide participants, specifically youth who are Black, Latinx, Asian, Indigenous and people of color, a greater understanding of how historical events impact the present, Salazar said.
The stops include a variety of educational opportunities, such as water conservation and learning untold American history, as well as the chance to build on teamwork skills.
“It’s like this puzzle that history class is trying to get you to put together, but they aren’t giving you all of the pieces," Salazar said. "And so going on tour, you start finding some of those missing pieces. It changes your perspective on, and appreciation for, what history actually is.”
When participants sign up, they agree to attend several practice rides that help to bond the group and physically prepare riders for the trip. Riders sign up for a variety of reasons: interest in water, biking or just as a way to fill their summer.
Student participant Monica Green was motivated to sign up as a way to get outside and move her body during the pandemic.
“I enjoy just the community that I have been able to be a part of," Green said. "Just riding with other people my age who are energetic and just full of life has been really fulfilling for me."
Riders do not need any prior biking experience or equipment, but are required to participate in a weekend bike trip before being asked to join the summer excursion. The trips are also free for participants, but Spoke’n Revolutions asks riders to help fundraise.