Behind This Post
Stories from the Trail is a blog series focused on capturing and retelling special moments from our Trail Rides program. We will highlight lessons learned, unexpected discoveries, and moments of pure joy our program youth experience on the trail. These stories convey a variety of perspectives including those of our dedicated ride leaders, volunteers, and youth.
A Milestone Ride for One Youth
By Adam Smith, Ride Program Manager
We always start our trail rides with an opening circle where we ask our young riders to tell us their name, the last time they rode a bike and what they are looking forward to during the adventure. You might imagine that most kids have been on a bike at least somewhat recently, but you’d be surprised to hear that this is quite often not the case. As much a part of childhood as riding a bike is for most youth in America, it isn’t uncommon to hear ours say they haven’t ridden a bike in many years, if they can remember at all. On this particular Friday afternoon we heard something different, however, “Hi, I am Victoria. I have not ridden a bike…”
There was silence for a moment as everyone looked around. Since this happens from time to time, I asked a follow-up question, “Hi Victoria, so do you know how to ride a bike?”
“Oh yes,” she replied, “I have not ridden a bike in America. I am from Nicaragua.”
“Que bien! Y que son tus deseos para este dia, Victoria?” I asked in Spanish, “ What are you looking forward to today?”
“To have fun!” she said and smiled.
And fun was had indeed. When we arrived at Ocean Beach, she immediately pulled out her cell phone and made a video call to her mother to show her where she was and how beautiful the ocean looked. Her mother sounded thrilled. She wanted to go on the beach, so we took a group down and let them play in the sand where a spontaneous game of tag broke out immediately. Laughter abounded.
Throughout the ride, Victoria progressed in her skill and confidence and told me a little more about herself. She has only been in the United States for half a year but loves it. She also relishes riding bikes, that was easy to see from the unwavering smile on her face.
We wrap-up our rides with a closing circle where we ask them to share a favorite moment from the trip and hand out Clif Bars (which she also really loves). Victoria said “Me gusto viendo el océano y montando muy rápido! ” (I liked seeing the ocean and riding really fast!)
“How was your first ride in America, Victoria? Will you come back and ride with us again?”
“Yes, of course! Me gusto mucho! (I loved it!)
From Victoria’s first bike ride in America to the tens of thousands of similar youth we’ve served throughout our 30-year history, this is why we do what we do. Trips for Kids Marin provides transformative cycling experiences for underserved youth that build self-esteem, inspire healthy lifestyles and instill environmental values. Today’s ride was a beautiful reminder of why what we do matters and why we couldn’t be more thankful to share our love of bikes and nature with deserving youth like Victoria.