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Ensuring A Voice For Youth: National Youth Bike Council
In 2013, the League released “Engaging Youth In Bicycle Advocacy”, a case study on why youth bike and youth involvement in bicycle advocacy. A lot of the obstacles to youth engagement noted in the study, like a lack of bike accessibility and a disconnect between adults and youth when it comes to leadership, are still prevalent today. Many organizations, including the League itself, can better educate themselves on how to not only get more youth involved in biking but make sure young bicyclists feel recognized as an integral part of the bicycling movement.
As part of that work to listen, learn, and collaborate, we endeavored to hear from organizations made for youth and/or guided by youth to best answer the question of how to do this. In a continuing series, we'll learn more about these groups and their answers. Today, meet National Youth Bike Council.
National Youth Bike Council
The National Youth Bike Council (NYBC) is an active collection of youth cycling enthusiasts and leaders. We are a fully youth-led council created fully via youth power, using cycling as a catalyst to enable leaders in the community. We host informal virtual events to engage our audience and moderate a space for active learning between youth cyclists via Discord.
What would you like to see other groups, especially national organizations, doing to involve more youth in cycling?
During the summer we hosted a Summer Chats series where we talked with youth leaders and youth in the bicycling community about what led them to bikes and the question of how other groups can help more youth join and lead came up a lot. Here’s what some of our guests had to say:
Include Us. Support younger people who take on the initiative of thinking about the bigger picture. Many feel like national groups do not think youth can handle or be considered in the bigger picture of the movement.
Share Our Work. Support us and spread the word by showing other cities (officials) the work youth do.
Communicate. National Groups could communicate more with each other on their initiatives to get more youth involved and support youth groups themselves.
Give Us A Starting Point. National groups can make it more clear where to start in the bicycle community for young people. Events like the Youth Bike Summit are great for that.
“Everyone is always saying: ‘Oh, the cycling community is so big!’ But, sometimes I feel like it’s too big. To the point where young people don’t know where to start.” - Savilia, a professional youth cyclist
Pictured above are young cyclists featured in NYBC's Summer Chats series: Cecily (top left); Gwen S. (top center); Xander and Natalie (top right); Joelle (middle left); Pablo (middle center); Gwen U. (middle right); Savilia (bottom left); Nora (bottom center); Emily (bottom right)
If you’re a youth group or cycling organization interested in sharing your tips for involving more youth in cycling, reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We would love to hear from you!