Remember, Remember, the 8th of November
Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC)
A Mile Markers Newsletter
Remember, Remember, the 8th of November!
It was 3:00 PM and it was time to head home. The Spoke’n Revolutions team was in C.W. Herndon Park just a couple of miles along the East Coast Greenway beyond Southpoint Mall.
FUN FACT: Herndon Park was the departure point of our 2015 Gullah Geechee Cultural
Heritage Corridor tour. I ushered Sabe to go ahead and lead us out of the park. I mounted my bike and immediately realized my butt was sore! Spending an hour in a hammock sleeping allowed me to forget our ride had started in Carrboro at 7:30 AM. I wondered if anyone else was feeling discomfort.
Sunday, November 8th, was a perfect day to take a ride around the Triangle! With the onset of the pandemic we ceased all operations first, then moved to virtual meetings before landing on one-on-one rides with the youth. Adjusting and refining along the way.
After much planning and excitement we gathered at 6:15AM with seven of the 14 youth currently in our two fall programs. That’s a lot to ask of someone on a Sunday morning that
may normally entail sleeping-in until 11AM. For that alone, Itza and I were overjoyed. The other fact was the youth were also excited and ready to go! OK, it was to be expected, to a degree.
There were so many things going for this moment: Amazing weather to be outside: It wasn’t cold and the day’s high was 78
Supporting us was a super team of volunteers. Fern reprised his role as the top-notch support
driver. His years of experience being a team member himself for three tours and supporting the teams for an additional four makes him one of the best persons in this role.
Joining for the first time as ride leaders were two additions to the Triangle Bikeworks Family: Karla and Khristopher. The three of them joined Itza and me to form a circle of protection and support for the youth that day. The ride encompassed cycling from our headquarters in
Carrboro to Downtown Durham along the East Coast Greenway and relax at a park. Then head back to complete a 43.16 mile day. Everyone’s longest ride since the start of the pandemic.
We set off to discover history by taking a bike tour of murals in the great city of Durham. Along the way we’d uncover some things hidden in plain sight. While some murals laid out the history of Durham, others had deeper meaning for the artists, themselves. But they all commemorated the people and struggles that were overcome to make the city what it is today. After the tour we ate a socially distanced lunch on the American Tobacco Campus which was new for us. But the bonds of friendship surmounted the distance between us.
After lunch, we stopped at Herndon Park. There was no fanfare this day. Just a moment of rest
and the simplicity of hanging out with friends. As we split off to either snack, play Frisbee, or take a nap in the hammocks, a normal day at the park enjoying the beautiful weather was our reward.
Having arrived there under our own power.
A New Convert
Last month I spoke with you about Nathan’s miraculous 77 mile run. I’m still in awe of that event and the experience of being a part of something so wonderful.
Nathan had just taken off to complete the Fastest Known Time of Segment 10 of the Mountains to Sea Trail. An epic run of 77 miles! With the excitement of the moment over we stood with nothing to do and settled into that awkwardness. A few team building exercises later we began walking back to our vehicles. It was the first time we were all together as a team since the start of the pandemic. What I didn’t tell you about that day was the conversation I had with a member of our team, William, a second year youth cyclist in our Spoke’n Revolutions program.
When William joined the team in 2019 in anticipation of riding along the Mississippi River on the Bikes, Blues, & Big Muddy tour, he was the quietest individual you’d ever have met. During our tour education sessions, he was prone to laying his head on the table. It was hard to tell if it was due to lack of interest or fatigue. Could have been both. And please, don’t ask him a question that required engagement. You’d be lucky to get an “It doesn’t matter” or “I don’t know,” or some other response that wouldn’t seem even worthy of the time it took to ask in the first place. But that’s how it is sometimes. And it’s always worth the time to ask the question. No matter what response you get. Getting a response is the accomplishment. But, I digress.
“Do you know how I got here?”, William asked me.
“I don’t,” I told him.
I looked at him, giving away that I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. This young man was growing up right before my eyes. He then told me about his car. Not the one he was driving but the one he was about to get. He was excited and proud. I was happy for him. We were discussing a few more details of the soon-to-be “new to him” car, such as, the year, make, and model, when David walked up. And just like that they started talking about other topics that interest them at their age, and I was no longer relevant.
It dawned on me as the sun continued to rise that morning that William had blossomed. He had transitioned from a quiet, keep-to-himself teen, to a confident, comfortable-to-be-speaking-to-an-adult young man.
On my drive home I wondered: was that transformation the result of the Spoke’n Revolutions program or the new TYMBR Wolves mountain biking program that he loves so much? Humility is my friend, so I presume nothing and make very few claims. There are many factors that incorporate to make a person who they turn out to be. In this instance, though, William’s mother confirmed it.
“This program has been so wonderful for him,” she said, just before thanking Itza and me as she picked him up from our latest team activity.
That makes me feel proud.