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thought,” he said. “They feel inspired and obligated to
come back each week.”
It is evident that those miles are about more than just
fitness. “Immediately our goal is to get the community
back on the streets to take back their health,” he
described. “From there, we are breaking so many social
barriers that have stricken our youth, young adults, and
seniors and we are helping kids to not be afraid to ride
their bikes in certain parts of the community,” Syon said
the Self-Care Sunday rides are really a platform of unity.
“Our riders are making friends with opposite races,
genders, and ages.”
Over the years the number of participants has grown
from an average of only eight to nearly thirty or more
riders each week. The details for group rides are shared
through the organization’s website and various social
media channels, the bike shop, as well as through word of
mouth. Syon encourages all interested riders to come out
even if they do not own a bike; RCR has loaner bikes
available on a first come first serve basis.
Offering a way to lessen dependence on public
transportation as well as a chance to learn new skills,
the Earn-A-Bike program has been transformative for
those in need of a bike who are willing to commit
to the requirements of the program. Because of the
organization’s growth, the Earn-A-Bike program, which
was originally geared toward children, has been able to
expand to include a percentage of endangered, homeless,
and formerly incarcerated adults, according to Syon.
“Those interested need to participate in our Q & A
Thursdays, our Fix-It Fridays, along with our Self-Care
Sunday rides for four consecutive weeks,” he said. “Once
they have accomplished these requirements they are
granted a bike along with a helmet, lock, and lights.”
Not only are participants earning a bike, but they
also learn valuable skills in how to do their own bike
maintenance, which Syon believes is important on many
levels. “It not only gives them a reason to appreciate their
local bike shop more cause it is teaching them something,
but it gives them an opportunity to share their knowledge
with their family and to share how they came across the
Syon strongly believes that the sharing of knowledge
and relationship building RCR encourages helps to put
into motion the gears of positive change. “I have seen a
lot of leadership changes in Richmond and more of our
youth are stepping up and becoming a voice and being
who they feel they should be for their community,” he
said. “It fuels me every day just to know that we are a
positive figure in our community; it brings me straight
For more information on the other cycling and
community programs Rich City Rides offers, ways
to get involved, or donate to the organization, visit
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