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What can bike advocates learn from the Youth Bike Summit?

Thanks to a lot of hard work by the folks from Bike Works, Seattle hosted the Youth Bike Summit this month. An annual gathering of youth-focused bike organizers, the fifth summit was the first one outside of New York.

I had planned to have lots of live coverage, but I woke up the summit morning terribly sick. Huge bummer. It sounded like an amazing and inspiring time.

But lucky for all of us, Bike Works recorded the excellent lineup of keynotes, including both not-youths (no offense) like Mayor Ed Murray (19:38) and jump-out-of-your-seat awesome young leaders like Brook Negussie of Cascade Bicycle Club’s Major Taylor Project (1:29:19) and Kahlil Brewer of Bike Works (lead-in video about Bike Works starts at 1:35:26). Or you can watch the whole thing here:

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One big takeway I’ve heard from just about everyone who was at the summit is that we need to invite more youth to all the bike leadership tables. This year’s summit drew more young people than adults (a first for the summit), and young people lead many of the workshops and sessions.

Bicycling isn’t just about bicycles. It can be a powerful tool for building community, as youth bike programs across the nation show. If you spend a lot of time in the adult bicycle advocacy world, listening to young people in these programs is refreshing and inspiring.

Josh Cohen wrote a story about the summit for New City if you want to read more. Were you at the Youth Bike Summit? What was your biggest takeaway?

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One response to “What can bike advocates learn from the Youth Bike Summit?”

  1. The YBS was a great time! It was great to see how Bike Works and similar organizations around the nation are increasing youth interest in bikes while making an amazing positive impact on their local communities. Personally, I left feeling optimistic and inspired by the youth leadership. From high school bike club presidents demanding better parking facilities at schools and organizing rides to a youth organization demanding its rights in Portland, the message was clear. Youth have a lot of ideas and plenty of energy – we just need to listen!

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