Year in Review: See what BikePGH Educators and Students have been up to

It has been one busy year 

Positive Spin hit the ground running this year, starting our season off riding with the Summer Dreamers Academy and the 412 Youth Zone. We rode hundreds of miles together, making lasting memories, and connecting communities with one another in Pittsburgh.

As Positive Spin took a turn into the fall, we continued riding at Arsenal Middle School, Schiller 6-8, and Obama High School. Our students were amazing, with over 40 kids riding alongside us. We ended the fall season with an Ice Cream ride to Klavon’s, having an Arsenal and Schiller meet up! This past year, we were also able to support new Positive Spin style programs at additional schools, including Environmental Charter School, City High, and Sci-Tech.

Summer Dreamers Academy

Located at University Prep this year, Positive Spin students tackled the mountains of Pittsburgh’s Historic Hill District. Positive Spin at Summer Dreamers Academy had 34 amazing young cyclists, who rode over 230 miles each!

During the first two weeks of the program students traveled through the surrounding neighborhood and local Robert E Williams Memorial Park. 

The middle of the summer brought one of the toughest hill climbs yet! The climb from Bigelow Blvd to Bayard to Center Ave, then Ewart Drive to enter UPrep’s Upper parking lot totaled 272 ft. Between both groups, that was a whopping total of 5,813 ft of uphill elevation in the first 3 weeks. By the end of the summer, they totaled 10,580 ft of elevation climbed per person.  We are very proud of our students and staff for this accomplishment during the heat of the summer!

To add to this summer’s awesome success, we had the honor of employing a student from our first ever positive spin class in high school through the Learn & Earn Program. Jason Thomas is a rising junior from Pittsburgh’s Barack Obama Academy of International Studies and was apart of our first high school fleet. Here is what he had to say about his time this summer:

“I loved the program and can’t wait to do it next year if my school doesn’t get rid of their clubs. The reason why I like this program is because they teach students how to ride and do repairs to their bikes. We also learned how to ride bikes on the street with other cars and bikers. I believe that I’m having more fun helping out with the summer program than I had while being in the program because I am helping other kids and getting to know them.”- Jason T.

The students and staff of Positive Spin Summer 2018 really packed on those miles, tackled hills, and overcame what seemed like the impossible.

412 Youth Zone

412 Youth Zone was just as successful this summer! With 14 sessions of learning from May to October, 16 students were able to earn a bike. Earning a bike is not an easy task, each student has to attend 2 sessions, complete bike safety knowledge, and demonstrate their newfound knowledge during instructor lead rides.

Our rides this summer totaled around 70 miles, averaging 5 miles each session! During these rides, our fearless bikers were able to see Point State Park, Bicycle Heaven, Washington’s Landing, PNC Park, North Shore Riverfront Park, Allegheny Commons Park, Millvale Riverfront Park, and Station Square. The skills they demonstrated were impressive and shine as good examples of how to be a safe and thoughtful bike commuter.

We are unbelievably proud of all our 412 Youth Zone riders who were out there grinding their gears. Each one helped continue to make Positive Spin a successful program. Two of our riders had some great things to say about their time spent this summer:

 

 

 

“Awesome program! Really taught me everything I need to know about bike riding.” – Jackson K.

“This is my favorite program here. There ain’t a whole lot to it but we ain’t just sitting around. We get to get out and go places!” – Lavelle C.

 

 

 

 

It was a summer for the books, with records made in miles and smiles. Our students continued to impress us with each ride and always pushing their goals. Equally important, we could not have done this so well this summer without our amazing instructors and volunteers. They rode alongside each kid and pushed those hills, too. We appreciate their support, time, efforts, and dedication to making our summer phenomenal!

Fall Recap

But, our year didn’t end there. We took a sharp turn and skidded into fall. At Arsenal Middle School, Schiller 6-8, and Obama High School, our students learned about bike safety, bike maintenance, and group riding. They got to practice their skills out on the road, with routes through Lawrenceville, East Liberty, the Strip District, and the North Side. Miles and miles were ridden, despite some cold weather! 

“I don’t care about the cold. I want to ride Mr. DeVaughn!”-Gad Y. 

“This program is awesome!”-Giovanni J. 

At the end of our fall session, students from Arsenal Middle and Schiller 6-8 had a long bike ride to Klavon’s for a meetup! The students enjoyed ice cream and smiles while meeting new friends. We greatly appreciate the student’s efforts to last through the long ride and our instructors for helping them get there safely.

In Other News…

  • None of this amazing progress at Positive Spin could have been possible without our Education Program Coordinator, DeVaughn Rodgers. DeVaughn has helped shaped the education program, and biking around the city, for the past three years and more. His dedication to mentoring students, biking, and helping positively contribute to the world around him is truly admirable. We aren’t the only ones who have realized what a valuable player DeVaughn can be, as we are happy to congratulate him on being honored an award, “Who’s Next” in Transit, via The Incline. Join us in saying congrats and thank you to DeVaughn!
  • “After school programs were one of my favorite parts of going to school.I’m proud to help bring quality programming, to the next generation of young cyclist”-DeVaughn R.

 

 

  • In other news, we asked a few of our schools to apply for the Specialized Foundation grant so they can receive support to get their own fleet. Very fortunately, the Environmental Charter School was awarded a brand new classroom fleet of bikes and additional support.

We would like to thank all riders, staff, and volunteers this summer for making Positive Spin a safe and fun program to be a part of. Look out for us on the streets of Pittsburgh and give us a wave when you see us riding by!


 

Posted by Samantha Sullivan

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