By CHIEF LESCHI SCHOOLS’ COMMUNICATION DEPARTMENT
At 3:30 p.m., the bell rings for the end of the school day. On Thursdays, some students head home, but some middle and high school students walk over to the basketball court to meet for the bike club.
You can hear the bike tires crunching freshly fallen leaves as students ride in circles around their bike leaders. They gather the students in a circle for an ice breaker, where students introduce the student to the right of them. After each introduction, students get a granola bar. Each student is antsy to get on the road and start riding their bike.
Chief Leschi’s bike club is part of the Major Taylor Project. In the fall of 2017, over $20,000 worth of bikes were stolen from a storage container in Tacoma, right before they were to be delivered to our students for use. On April 5, 2018, in the pouring rain, The Major Taylor Project delivered 20 brand new bikes to our club.
However, many students did not sign up due to other sports commitments occurring at the same time, and the club was only offered to high school students. Alvaro, the group’s ride leader, decided to open the club up to middle school students. “Right away we had six middle school students sign up and consistently attend bike club … we noticed the middle school students’ enthusiasm for riding bicycles,” says Alvaro. Since then, the bike club averages 14 students attending every Thursday.
The Major Taylor Project, named after African-American world champion cyclist Marshall “Major” Taylor, works to empower youth through bicycling, according to their website. For our club, Alvaro explains, “… our group’s collective goal is to build confidence, set healthy habits, and build relationships. My personal goal for students is for them to learn how to be respectable and kind to one another in a social setting, character traits that I believe will make them successful adults.”
We thank our Community Partner the Major Taylor Project for this great opportunity for our students.
The Chief Leschi bike club meets every Thursday after school and is offered to any middle or high school student wishing to join in the fall and in the spring.