I’ve been riding a bike since I was 5. I’ll never forget the first time my dad gave me a push on my “2-wheeler” and the feeling of freedom as though I was flying along the sidewalk. I grew up riding everywhere and loved the independence and self-reliance the bicycle gave me, along with the ability to see the world outside of my own neighborhood.
I think every kid can have that. The cost of entry into cycling can be prohibitive for many. That is why I got involved with Phoenix Bikes, a community service organization based in South Arlington. Phoenix Bikes educates youth, promotes cycling and builds community. At Phoenix Bikes, local youths are encouraged to volunteer, fix bikes and earn their own ride. This is an organization dedicated to educating mostly under-served Washington area youth in all aspects of cycling including mechanics, safety, rules of the road, leadership and community.
For the past 6 years, as a volunteer and member of the board, I have enjoyed watching the organization’s growth into a first rate youth education program and feel very fortunate to work with all the passionate and dedicated people here at Phoenix Bikes that have such a positive impact on so many.
Last year, with your help, we raised enough money to enter into an agreement with Arlington County, to build out and move in to new space in the Arlington Mill Community Center. We just moved and opened the new shop in early September.
This year, Our trusty “Black Pearl”, the 2000 GMC Safari mini van we purchased used in 2015, is now 18 years old and high in mileage. Although we strongly prefer to roll on two wheels, a reliable vehicle is vital to program operations in terms of transporting students to/from school-based bike clubs, transporting junior race team members to races, acting as a support vehicle for special events and rides, picking up and delivering bike donations, and beyond. Additionally, our current vehicle, although it has been extremely useful, lacks the passenger and cargo capacity we need. Therefore, we are raising funds for a newer and larger vehicle like the Ford Transit 350 passenger van pictured above.
This Saturday, September 22, I am leaving for two weeks of cycling in the mountains of Spain. I will be the loonies pictured here for one week in Girona riding many of the peaks featured in the Vuelta de Espana, and one week in Mallorca, where many of the pro riders train during the winter. The trip is a total of 820 miles and about 80,000 feet of elevation.
You may ask, "Pancho, why are do doing this?" Well I'll tell you. I seek to raise $4000 towards this van, or about a nickle for every foot climbed. We can do that, right? We're in the new shop. Now we need to safely get the kids where they need to be. Please donate now, whatever you can; $10, $25, $50, or more. Everyone who donates will get updates from the gorgeous mountains of Spain and the youth of Phoenix Bikes will get the group transportation they need.
More Info About Phoenix Bikes: Phoenix Bikes is an Arlington-based, 501(c)(3) non-profit organization with a mission of educating youth, promoting bicycling, and building community. Through Phoenix Bikes’ free, year-round programs, youth ages 12-17 learn basic bicycle mechanics, refurbish a bicycle for a neighbor in need, and then earn their own bike. This unique, hands-on education program allows youth to apply engineering knowledge, practice teamwork, learn about entrepreneurship, and experience the far-reaching health and accessibility benefits that bike transportation can bring. This past year, Phoenix Bikes served 487 youth, and aims to reach more in 2018.