Get Involved Spotlight: Ghisallo Cycling Initiative
From Ghisallo Cycling Initiative, this month's Get Involved spotlight non-profit:
Mission and Vision
Our Vision:We envision a community where youth become expert cyclists who grow to become lifelong, safetyconscious riders.
Our Mission:Our primary mission is to develop youth who safely and expertly integrate bicycling into their daily lives, to teach participants selfsufficient cycling skills, and to facilitate the experience needed for youth cyclists to be peer leaders.
We expect to meet these objectives by:
● teaching expert skills and knowledge to participants, so they may use their bicycles for transportation and recreation independent of adults
● providing youth leadership opportunities, so participants can grow to become peer mentors, assistant instructors and paid staff
● cultivating key institutional knowledge and economic opportunities to create selfsustaining cycling communities independent of us
Who we are
Ghisallo Cycling Initiative is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit based in Austin, Texas. Since the spring of 2011 we have provided semesterlong, afterschool Bike Clubs with weekly bicycle maintenance and riding classes as well as an EarnABike program, Bicycle Rodeos, and maintenance and safety clinics. The majority of our participants are lowincome, at risk students. Our goal is not only to provide Austin youth with supervised access to outdoor physical activity, but to help them develop into selfsufficient riders who have the skills and knowledge to use their bicycles for transportation without depending on adults.
We facilitate bicycle ownership for those who cannot afford it on their own and maintenance support for those who can. We strive to create a culture of positive peer mentorship and mutual support that fosters the development of leaders within social groups and communities. This has been demonstrated by our youth Ride Assistants, Shop Assistants, and Apprentice Mechanics, all of whom have grown within our various programs to become youth leaders during our classes.
Our Youth Services
Bike Clubs are afterschool classes that teach riding, safety, and bicycle maintenance skills. Navigation and exploration are key focuses of the classes. In the spring of 2016 we provided over 40 hours a week of afterschool programming to 20 sites across Austin.
Cycle Academy is a structured educational program geared toward youth cyclists concentrating on bicycle riding, safety, and maintenance skills. It focuses on handson learning, selfsufficiency, developing a healthy lifestyle by integrating bicycling into daily activities, and community service.
A Bike Rodeo a youth skills clinic where participants learn basic riding and safety skills (bike control, stopping, obstacle avoidance, hand signals, and helmet fitting) and which may include a short, group ride.
Our Services are DataDriven
● 2,148 students were served through Bike Rodeos in the 2015’16 school year from 10 different schools. Of those who completed surveys (1,059):
○ 77% owned bikes
○ 54% owned helmets
○ 90% learned the 5 steps to a Helmet Fit
○ 91% learned the Power Pedal Position
○ 83% learned Scanning
○ 77% owned a bike, didn't own a helmet and planned to wear a helmet
○ 82% learned/practiced new bike safety skills and planned on wearing a helmet
A Bike Start clinic is a learn to ride program utilizing balance bikes where participants learn basic steering and balancing skills and then graduate to a pedal bike to develop additional riding and safety skills. Riding a bicycle takes 3 skills: balance, steering and pedaling. Bike Start teaches these skills one at a time.
A Bike FixAThon is a bicycle maintenance clinic where kids can bring their bikes to get a quick safety and maintenance check and get repairs depending on the supplies available.
The Apprentice Program provides instruction based on the Cycle Academy mechanical badge framework. During the 8week program, students will learn and practice the skills needed to be considered an Apprentice Mechanic.
The EarnABike program enables students to earn a bike of their own by rebuilding, repairing, and completing a set of maintenance tasks so that they have the knowledge and experience to maintain it once it is theirs. In the future, this program could become selfsufficient: run by and for the local community.
Bike Lending Library
The Bike Lending Library is like a Public Library for bikes. Rather than checking out a book, you can check out a bike for free. It helps individuals and organizations in need of a bike or a bike fleet to be able to perform some of their own programming to defer the large, upfront cost of purchasing bikes until they are selfsustaining.
Our Senior Services
Golden Rollers[ http://goldenrollers.org/]
The Golden Rollers Program is a collaboration between the Ghisallo Cycling Initiative and the Conley Guerrero Senior Activity Center in East Austin. It provides an opportunity for adults aged 50 and older to engage in lowimpact, bicyclebased recreation, exploration, and transportation. In the fall of 2016 it is expanding to the Rundberg area through a partnership at the Gus Garica Rec Center followed by Dove Springs either mid fall or early spring at the Gus Garcia Rec Center.
Our Community Infrastructure Projects
Community Bicycle Hub[ http://ghisallo.org/blog/communityfirstvillagebicyclehub/]
Utilizing 20' modified shipping containers, the structure is subdivided between a bicycle maintenance workshop and and bicycle storage area for bicycle educational fleets and/or a lending library. Priority locations are areas where we have ongoing services and where a bike shop is not available within the community (outside 5 miles). We currently have two installed in the Austin area with one at Community First Village (Mobile Loaves and Fishes) providing transportation support, mechanical instruction, and employment skills training for individuals who have been chronically homeless. The second is installed at Gus Garcia Rec Center off of Rundberg to provide a community bike shop and house youth bike and senior trike fleets for Cycle Academy and Golden Rollers programming. We are currently working on funding to produce our third Hub and locate it at the Dove Springs Rec center in Southeast Austin.
There will be more photos of the buildout and completion available soon on our blog.