Creating Access to Mountain Biking
As a lifelong cyclist, and someone who began spending more time on trails vs roads, I began to take note during my rides in the woods and quickly realized mountain biking has a diversity problem. This made me curious as to why? My first thought was the rising cost of bikes and the barrier to entry that this essential item created. However, I came to learn there were several contributing factors including…yes economic, but also geographic, lack of peer representation, as well as cultural barriers. The more I researched, the more glaring the lack of representation for people of color in mountain biking seemed to be. That being the case, I figured there must be a host of programs and advocates driving change. However, to my surprise, I found a scant few riders, programs, and/or spokespeople from this cause.
We at Cycle4Success serve to create access to the sport of mountain biking for Charlotte area youth in underserved communities.
So, given the lack of programming and the drastic need, I felt compelled to create an opportunity to ride for others who may not have access, visibility, role models, or financial means. Our team felt convinced that it was not the WILL but the WAY that was holding minorities back, believing that:
- ALL kids would have fun riding if provided the opportunity.
- Confidence is built by doing new things and personal growth would come from it.
- We WOULD find kids who will thrive break stereotypes and barriers and become the future role models that are missing today.
Over the course of the last several years and through many hours and effort from a broad group of people, we have founded a non-profit called Cycle4Success. Our program offers a 6-month program designed to develop, test and maintain mountain bike skills and will provide scholarships for ten kids, ages ten to fourteen from underserved communities. It includes training with a coach during once-a-week rides for four months. Then after skills and training are developed, the kids will showcase their newfound abilities in a set of five races in their age group. From there, the kids will work with our partner Trips for Kids to learn bike maintenance and will earn a bike of their own.
Our goal is to share the benefits of freedom, fitness, fellowship, and fun that come along with cycling and being outside.
The best part is that all associated fees, access to bikes, gear, coaching, and registrations will be covered through our team members’ donations and sponsorships!
Finally, we are a small group with BIG dreams and our hope is this program will develop future role models and be replicated to help change the face of mountain biking. However, this vision can only be achieved and sustained through community support. We would love to have you join our team, as we have ongoing needs for:
- Local ride/event volunteers
- Instructors of life skills
Reach out today, check out our website, and join the team to share the gift of Freedom, Fitness, Fellowship, and Fun!
Cycle4Success is a not-for-profit organization that is dedicated to promoting diversity and inclusion in Charlotte's mountain bike community. We are committed to creating a welcoming and supportive environment of respect, equality, kindness, and fellowship for young people in under-resourced communities regardless of their background or experience level with cycling.
-Ride on. Chris Bahr