CYCLE Kids in Navajo Nation
Please help us continue our work with the NavajoYES youth group to open more programs and help spark a passion for biking that is spreading across Navajo Nation.
Since the program launched in 2017, 107 Shonto 4th and 5th graders have become “CYCLE Kids.” The excitement for biking generated by our program has encouraged more children to participate in other local cycling activities, and inspired them to create more opportunities where they can get out and ride.
Tour de Rez: Annual five-day biking and camping trip in the desert with three days in the Grand Canyon and ending in Shonto, sponsored by NavajoYES. At the end of this year’s tour, Tom Riggenbach, NavajoYES Executive Director, described the sight of families and kids biking, walking, and skating around the community as “a beautiful mid-summer evening... Shonto looked and felt like a very fit, active place.”
Paradise Loop: 22-mile annual bike ride that takes place in Shonto. Most children did at least half of the ride, and last year, one 9-year-old completed all 22 miles!
Competitive Cycling Team: Middle and high school students have come together to form a new racing team, giving students an opportunity to pursue cycling as a sport.
After-school Bike Club: More students are using the school’s 50-yard pump track. Plus, at least two afternoons each week, the principal’s administrative assistant rides with CYCLE Kids students around the neighborhood; so many children want to ride that they have to wait in line and take turns.
Multipurpose Trail: Students worked with adult mentors to build a trail close to the school for practicing mountain biking.
2. T’IIS NAZBAS
In T’iis Nazbas, the CYCLE Kids program has opened up mentorship opportunities. Members of the community group NavajoYES met with CYCLE Kids students, gave them helmets, and helped them learn to ride. They also met with 3rd grade students—future “CYCLE Kids”— and gave them helmets, too.
The influence of CYCLE Kids has also been evident with the school’s staff. Many staff members have requested helmets for themselves so they can ride with students in the fall—and with their children and grandchildren during the summer. CYCLE Kids instructor Greg King loves biking so much that he now participates in NavajoYES races!
3. RED MESA
Enthusiasm in Red Mesa for cycling and the CYCLE Kids program has spread from the elementary school to the high school.
Bike Restoration Days: To help bring more bicycles to the community, the Red Mesa High School basketball team and their coach, Hank Charleston, restored bikes alongside top bike mechanic Manuel Chavarria.
Mentorships: Many of the basketball players have become big brothers and mentors to the CYCLE Kids students at the Red Mesa Elementary School.
Summer Training Program: Biking is a new addition to the high school program.