Da Paat Ta Freedum Tour – Day 1

Day 1 was celebratory. We gathered at Herndon Park in Durham right off the East Coast Greenway. After a busy night of preparation seeing familiar faces from our friends in Atlanta brought a lot of comfort. Old friends of mine from the ECG like Dennis, Debbie, Vanessa and the Durham Bike Coop Rob became new friends of the youth riding this tour. There were also some new faces coming from our Spoke’n Revolutions team as well as the BRAG Dream Team having new members so for now each group of youth stick to their familiar.

After introductions, team stretches and a rules of the road talk we were on our way taking the back entrance onto the East Coast Greenway. At 8am we almost needed a traffic light to get on the path it was so busy. We are a bustling group of 21 youth and six adults making an impression as we winded our way on the Paat Ta Freedum.  It was good to see the smiles on faces of the people going by and the greetings of hello. One gentlemen suggested we get on the road.  Ha, we’ll be there soon enough.

The Kindness of Others

First tour day mishap took us past the Sharon Harris nuclear plan. With the change in road names and the additional ten miles we were now just over an hour off schedule. By the time we were 7 miles outside of Erwin, NC that mishap turned into good fortune as often things of this nature do. As “fate” would put it we ended up meeting the Cole family of Buies Creek at the intersection of US-421 N/E Cornelius Harnett Blvd and Old Johnson Farm Rd. They invited us to their home for water and a rest stop. Who could turn down such awesome hospitality?!  We were greeted with smiles, fresh watermelon (a great treat for ANY cyclist) and great conversation.

We arrived at the Erwin Volunteer Fire and Rescue in the heart of Erwin, NC. Their being in the heart of Erwin must be intentional because they also are the HEART of Erwin. The hospitality is overwhelmingly good and welcoming. We were treated as family visitors from out of town. Things could not be better. 

Forgive me for not having photos at this time (and this day in age – I’m pitiful) but I promise to be back to my old self by this afternoon with photos and comments to boot.  Psst, the kids get journals today, they don’t know it, yet.  Hehe

King 2 King: Day 2 @suepyridez

It’s the morning of Day 2 and excitement is still in the air.

Today we are leaving Stone Mountain Park and heading to Oconee River Campground. I hear there’s great fishing there.

Yesterday was a whirlwind of history about Dr. King delivered by the park ranger who actually rode up on her bike in her commute to the office. It will be a great day when this would be the norm.

The BRAG Dream Team in their yellow and green jerseys. These are a great groups of youths who I will enjoy getting to know over the next two weeks. This is historic and amazing that we even get to tour together. Grateful for the ability to transform a few lives and inspire others as we cycle through.

We’re seeing some very interesting and educational things just in the first day with the visits to the King Historic Site, his original home and the National Civil and Human Rights Center. For the new center we were the first youth group to ever visit – historic. They don’t officially open until Monday so we can claim that to ourselves.

Najah Walker, our newest cyclist, successfully completed her very first 30+ mile day! This is a major milestone for her and she NEVER got off the bike to walk. I am so very proud of her.

 

The Monument of a Man

Youth Groups

join us for a day!


Ride With Us
 

The Monument of a Man: Cycling Through A Legacy from King Center Historic Site to King National Memorial.

The National Park Service’s National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom (NTF) will partner with Triangle Bikeworks through its Spoke’n Revolutions (SnR) program and the BRAG (Bike Ride Across Georgia) Dream Team to engage a diverse group of youth from North Carolina and Georgia in a cycling adventure linking the King Historic Site in Atlanta with the King Memorial site in Washington, DC. They will discover America’s Great Outdoors by visiting National Parks and state parks along the way. Seeing this world up close and from the seat of a bike.

Through this meaningful and relevant experience, youth participants will not only make connections to the outdoors/public lands so that they will consider becoming future stewards, they will also engage in personal and social growth enabling them to develop important life skills.

About The Project

Established in 2010, the mission of the Triangle Bikeworks’ programs are to expand the horizons of youth by providing opportunities they couldn’t imagine. This is accomplished through a 3-4 year intensive leadership program, involving year-round cycling activities, community service projects, and preparation for continuing education and career development.

This 700-mile journey will provide the teens with the opportunity to travel across the United States by bicycle, a luxury they would not otherwise be able to afford. During their travels, they will also engage in recreational and educational activities at federal, state, and local sites that will expose them to the physical and cultural geography of the nation. The goal is that the youth cyclists will develop an appreciation for preserved and natural spaces as they cycle through and stop in them.

Focusing on the important role Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. has played in shaping our country, the project will address the NPS’s challenge of engaging diverse communities. This tour will use the legacy of Dr. King to engage youth in learning the rich history of the United States by placing them in the spaces where the history was made. They will get there under their own power via the bicycle. In the spirit of the Civil Rights non-violent, passive resistance movement that was led by Dr. King, the historical theme of Freedom will be explored. The timeliness of this project is special as it is the 70th anniversary of Dr. King’s first political speech at the age of 16 in Dublin, GA when he was selected the winner of an oratorical contest.

Some of the participants come from a demographic that is disproportionately affected by obesity. They will learn the importance of health and wellness (physical, mental, and social) through cycling, hiking, and camping activities. Opportunities provided by the trip and pre-trip training exercises will encourage participants to develop an appreciation for more active lifestyles. Through outdoor recreation and camping activities within the National and state parks, participants will also become more environmentally conscious, learning how to reduce their carbon footprint.

If you believe in the program as we believe in the youth participating, take a moment and make a small contribution to ensure they have all they need. Every dollar donated goes toward youth programming. Donate Here