Notes from the Executive Director
Although not everyone is familiar with the term “rites of passage” we all have experienced them at some point.
A rite of passage is defined as a ritual or experience that marks a major milestone or change in a person’s life, and they can be particularly important for children.
At Triangle Bikeworks we’ve long believed in the transformative power of the bicycle. We’ve coupled that power with an arduous journey of distance that fosters a sense of community, self-discovery. The beginning stages of self-actualization.
This shared experience of cross-country bike travel or off-road mountain biking marks a major milestone in the lives of the youth who undertake it.
This, their rite of passage, includes preparation for the journey, journeying through the fires of extreme long-distance bike travel, and arriving safely on the other side.
What emerges from this gritty experience, dripping with sweat, is a brand new being. Confident, with the feeling of invincibility. Replete with the knowledge that after this there is nothing that cannot be accomplished.
We are proud to say that you make it possible.
Because of you it was a very proud weekend watching the TYMBR Wolves mountain biking team enjoy the first race of the 2022 season and ride in their first race ever!
There was a lot of stuff packed into the trailer in the dark, cool Saturday morning hours on the first race weekend of the season. Bikes, team tent, coolers, crates of groceries. Every foot was used. We wouldn’t have had that trailer or the van without you.
With everything tucked away, the team loaded into the van. With only two days of actual trail practice, the TYMBR Wolves embraced the challenges of racing. We made our way to their first race of the season at Browns Creek Bike Park near Elizabethtown. The weather was fabulous for this time of year.
We arrived Saturday morning full of excitement just in time for Itza to make it to the head coaches meeting. Pre-riding the course was next so the team could get an idea of what to expect during the race. The course was challenging. And nothing like our practice trails at home. Lot’s of sand and soft spots..
At the end of the pre-ride some of that excitement had worn off. The realization that tomorrow was “for real” rattled some nerves. Itza gathered them all to assess their feelings about what they were about to do. Terrence was concerned about being able to complete the 3.5 mile course.
Staging is the most tense filled moment of the day. Youth cyclists are ready to go. Coiled like a spring ready to be released. This is the agonizing moment to keep your cool and mentally work things out.
The middle school boys raced first. Terrence was in the same wave as Taj and the rest of the 6th grade boys. Terrence had his “game face” on at the start of the race and was in serious focus and attentive to the task ahead.
At the sound of the horn he took off. He had a great start. Before the second turn and he went down. Hard. His handlebar were clipped by another rider.
Without hesitation, the moment Taj passed Terrence, he pulled off the trail. Running back to care for his teammate. When he was sure Terrence would be taken care of he continued on with his race.
When we reached him he was in pain. All his pre-race adrenalin and emotions were being released at this moment. He wanted so bad to have his race and it was taken from him. Later he told me it wasn’t fair he wasn’t able to race because of something outside himself. I agreed. It wasn’t fair.
Terrence is still looking forward to the next race.
Moments like these are only possible because of your investment in the youth. You provide our youth opportunities to express the strengths they have.
Check out what each youth had to say about their race weekend.
“Today was my first mountain bike race. I was scared that I might break an arm or something; have a really bad fall.
I was kinda slow on the start. Someone crashed, which slowed me down. I was near them when it happened. I was nervous that I would not even make the full 3 [laps of the course].”
Niko had an excellent showing by taking fourth place in the first race of the season. There was a lot of jockeying for position and Niko got bumped a little but held on to his position until the end and was award fourth place medal!
“Today was my first race. I am proud of myself and can’t wait to do it again.
I got a new jersey. It looks awesome! I think that our team stood out and did great.
I got passed but it didnt’ matter because I still rode my hardest and tried my hardest.”
“Day of the race I don’t think I was ready. I fell off my bike twice in the same spot and only finished two laps.
I think I need to work on standing up more instead of [sitting and] riding to prevent pain”
“It was FREEZING last night and I couldn’t sleep. Rooting for my teammates was fun.
Despite [it being] such a bad race I can say it was nice to have my team’s support. Normally, I don’t like to have people screaming my name but this is an exception.
Talking it over hot dogs was relaxing, even with all the pain. I’d do it again, just for that.”
6th grade Boys
“In the staging [area] I got picked dead center and talked to some of the other kids. I had a good start but people blew past me. As soon as we got on the track Terrence fell. I got off my bike and went to check on him. He told me to go, so I went off.
There was so many twists and turns on the course. And the forest part was scary. But by far, the scariest part was [the] Superman. [A section that had] a downhill, 3 jumps, and a sharp turn.”
“But I nailed it!”
8th grade Boys
“Today was my 1st mountain bike race. It didn’t really go as planned. I started off good but a little bit into the race someone clipped my back tire and it came off. I fell. Causing a little pile-up.
After all that I still finished with a good time. Hopefully, my next race will be better.
After the race I went around hyping up random people before their race. One of them won!
I like the whole vibe of this place. Everyone is so nice and I can walk up to anyone.”
6th grade Boys
” The order was Talib, me, and then Taj.
We started the race and boom, someone clipped me and the handlebar hit me [in the hip]. I was in so much pain, mentally and physically because I got pulled [from] my first race and I was hurting.
I was confident, but now I am nervous for my next race.”
I first found out about Triangle Bikeworks through friends when I was in high school. I began participating in the Spoke’n Revolutions program at 16 years old. I enjoyed every aspect of my experience. Not only did I fall in love with cycling, but I developed a newfound appreciation for the natural environment as well.
Carefree and Thoughtful, Damaris Looks to the Future
Badlands National Park
Standing at the foot of Mount Rushmore
2012 Tour of Discovery
It Wouldn’t Be Funny If I Didn’t Show You
Northern beaches of California
Friends Standing At The Foot Of Giants
Redwood Forest, western Oregon
I completed my first tour in 2012 where we biked along portions of the Lewis and Clark Trail, the Buffalo Soldier Trail, and the Pacific Crest Trail from Council Bluffs, Iowa to San Francisco, California. We camped and cycled through major national parks where we learned about both the Lewis and Clark Expedition and indigenous cultures. Some of my main takeaways from this tour were goal setting, teamwork, community involvement, and compassion for others.
Following this tour, I decided that I wanted to set my career goals towards environmentalism. I’ve since worked jobs that involve habitat restoration, wildland firefighting, and plant surveying for the National Park Service. These career moves can be directly attributed to my experiences with Triangle Bikeworks. Currently, I develop software for federal and state agencies that contributes to the mitigation of climate change impacts on north Carolina’s roadway infrastructure.
To this day, I feel as though some of my decisions are influenced by the character building processes that have taken place during my involvement with Triangle Bikeworks. Cycling and environmentalism are still huge parts of my personality. Building and riding bicycles has continued to be a hobby that I’m sure will last a lifetime.
Spoke’n Revolutions Excursions
Join us in welcoming the newest members of the Spoke’n Revolutions Spring Excursions. Make sure to check out next months newsletter to see who else has joined the family!
The SnR Spring Excursions enables youth to travel the great state of North Carolina by bike. Along the way, the youth learn about Untold History, environmental topics specific to NC, and bike safety.
We have 32 youth joining us this season. To have a successful season we need more coaches. If you or anyone you know are ready to make an impact.
Registration is open for the Princeville Homecoming Black Farm Tour.
Riding your bike through bucolic eastern North Carolina, you’ll want to stop and linger for a moment at the farm stops. The stops include everything from the first-generation, newly-minted to fifth generation farms that are still breaking new ground with progressive ideas on sustainability.
For instance, one stop is Double D Ranch where “the purpose of the ranch is to try to convert our young people from the streets to the saddle, from the pavement to the pasture,” ranch owner Dennis Harvey said. “And just to show them a new way of life.”
His group of horse lovers in the Rocky Mount area are trying to use the appeal of country life to stop young people from being caught up in the pitfalls of inner city living.
Come have conversations with the eastern North Carolina community and feel the love and the vibe of family.