By: Kyle Tsukahira
Sunday, August 24th, 2014 – After a mentally and physically challenging 65 mile marathon ride from the San Gabriel Valley to Long Beach and back, the youth participants of the 2014 Bike to Japan program officially reached their 6,000 mile goal! In fact, the BTJ youth, staff, and volunteers collectively biked a whopping 7,615.8 miles all over Los Angeles County! For a breakdown of all our rides click: HERE
During our marathon ride we had the opportunity to recap all the places we’ve been and the things we talked about in our “Connecting the Dots” workshop. We created 1 poster paper for each ride that we’ve done and we had the youth fill out 2-4 post-it notes per poster about what they learned or took away from each ride. The youth did a walk through of each poster to read and reflect on what everyone else wrote.
Following this activity, we sat down with everyone and went over the each poster one by one in order to have a group discussion about some of the major themes and topics folks wrote down on their post-its. This was a great opportunity to really sit down with the youth and have in depth discussions about a lot of the issues and topics we covered in the program which ranged from food accessibility and justice in Historic Filipinotown to affordable housing and gentrification issues in Little Tokyo and Chinatown. These are just a few examples of what we covered during the course of the program.
It’s hard to believe that it was only 10 weeks ago that the 2014 Bike to Japan program started. I am so proud of each participant for their dedication, commitment, and hard work in this program and I look forward to seeing the amazing things they will do in the future!
Huge thanks to Roland and Gabby from Lincoln Heights Cyclery for getting us an amazing deal on all of our equipment, for building all of the bikes free of charge, for repairing many of the riders bikes after rough crashes (sometimes late at night), and for all their help in making this program a reality.
In addition, I would like to thank each and every person from the amazing group of program participants, to the volunteers, to the community sponsors and supporters, and all the ride leaders who made this program possible! We couldn’t have done this without you!
For a full list of all of our sponsors and community partners please visit:http://www.apiopa.org/btj/