Seven years ago, the Cascade Bicycle Club launched the Major Taylor Project with just two sets of Redline bicycles. Still in use today, the bicycles have transformed the lives of the many students who rode them, as well as the parents, volunteers, members and staff that surround them.
The Major Taylor Project (MTP) is a year-round youth development program focused on creating opportunities for teens from underserved and diverse communities to connect with the outdoors and establish healthy lifestyles.
This year, the fleet of bicycles will grow to 150 as the program expands to a 10th site: Lincoln High School in Tacoma, thanks to a collaborative effort from Group Health Cooperative, the City of Tacoma, Cascade Bicycle Club and Lincoln High School assistant principal Logic Amen. Expansion to Tacoma is the continuation of a commitment to diversity and inclusion and improving lives through bicycling.
As MTP celebrates this milestone, I reflect on the progress we’ve made and the fact that our mission remains unchanged, our commitment unbroken and our purpose clear: To support the goals and dreams of the students and the communities in which they live.
This was particularly evident as I rode the streets of West Seattle, Delridge, Burien, Seatac and White Center in April during Cascade’s first annual Ride for Major Taylor fundraising event.
As I rode with MTP students, alumni and donors, we passed the schools and communities we now serve, and I remembered the many students whose lives were transformed by this beautiful vehicle of change. It also took me back to my personal experience with biking. My family grew up in a predominantly African- American neighborhood. My parents sacrificed dearly to send my brother and me to private school. Dad was an avid golfer and rode his bike to work every day. My brother took to golf, I took to bike racing.
MTP is so much more than a bike program, though. It’s about exposing youth to new experiences by giving them access to discover new places and, powered by their own strength, watch them gain confidence, self-awareness and empowerment. That’s exciting stuff!
Learn more about this amazing program and how you can get involved at Cascade.org/Learn/Major-Taylor-Project.
This article comes via guest writer Ed Ewing, Cascade Bicycle Club’s Director of Diversity and Inclusion.