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The Cadence Youth Cycling (CYC) family — All Star athletes, their parents and siblings, friends, and supporters — gathered on Saturday to recognize graduating seniors, share summer success stories, and present awards to outstanding CYC athletes.

CYC coaches from four teams (tour, race, triathlon, and NBW core) handed out athlete awards in the following categories: MVP, Most Improved, and Rising Star. Coaches shared stories that brought them to their award decisions and fellow athletes encouraged one another, telling the crowd why their teammate had earned a particular award.

Race Team Coach and CYC Alumni, Justin Thompson, remarked on another athlete’s determination to keep up with the rest of the team, noting that he had transformed his mind and his body over the last six weeks.

Alumni Coach Robert Taylor told the crowd that this year’s Race Team is the most energetic and passionate about bicycle racing that he has experienced in his time with CYC. Youth also spoke to their coach’s determination and passion for bike racing.

Graduating senior, Tamia Santiago, remarked, “Justin [Thompson] was one of the most passionate and motivated coaches I know. He enjoyed racing and brought that to the team. Even when I wasn’t too willing to race, he always put it in my head that I can be the best I want to be.”

Triathlon coaches gave accolades to the a group of youth who sought out extra swim instruction throughout the summer; they shared an especially inspiring story of one athlete who learned how to swim this summer through his participation on CYC’s Triathlon Team. “Thank you for teaching me not to drown”, the student jovially said to his coaches.

Tour Team athletes shared stories of the encouragement they received from one another and their coaches. Lurena remarked how Alumni Coach, Kiyoshi Howard, pushed her to excel. Quyseam shared a story of teammate Dante showing up at his house one morning to make sure he got out of bed in time for practice. Their culminating event for Tour Team was a 4-day “Sojourn” to the Jersey Shore and back, complete with backwoods camping, sleeping in tents, and nightly campfires.

We also welcomed new students to our family this summer through re-igniting our summer “core” team at NBW, which works with bike racing beginners. Alumni coach Taevon Oliver noted that one youth went from no desire for bicycling to completing the 4-day “Sojourn” to Atlantic City and back. We hope many of these youth will return to our spring NBW team in 2018!

Emotions were high as Program Manager, Taylor Kuyk-White, called up our six graduating seniors, all of whom are attending college this Fall. Each one of them spoke to the impact that Cadence Youth Cycling has had on their lives. Krystal Philson, from Team Pickett, shared how the confidence and belonging she gained through CYC transformed her.

Before the night ended Krystal’s mother took the stage to share how grateful she is to the program, both for the years her daughter spent highly engaged in cycling, and more recently for the fact that the CYC Scholarship helped to close the gap in her daughter’s college financial aid package.

Prior to Saturday evening’s festivities, CYC Leadership Squad celebrated “CYC Day” by organizing a bicycle skills clinic for youth on MLK Drive Saturday morning. This event was part of the CYC.Le Squad’s summer project and completely organized and publicized by youth athletes.

The clinic covered bicycle safety, light mechanics, and bicycle handling skills.

CYC youth, Mya Miller, shared that one parent who brought her kids to the clinic wants to get her children involved in a CYC team in the future.

 

Cadence Youth Cycling is now Bicycle Coalition Youth Cycling. Click here to learn more about the recent changes, and click here to donate.

Megan

Author

Growing up in Tarrytown, NY, Megan saw biking a form of escapism, a way to clear her head. A bright teal mountain bike served as her steed up and down the Aqueduct Trails that run from Croton to Manhattan (she has yet to bike the whole trail but has her eye on it). Megan made the move to Philadelphia in 2016. Having never owned a car in New York, biking immediately became her primary mode of transportation and she is thrilled to be able to work with the Bicycle Coalition to improve biking conditions around the county. Megan lives in Kensington with her large orange cat, Joey, and her fabulous roommates.