One of the main goals of our scholarship application for the bicycle safety instructors training was to find out why each candidate was so passionate about bicycling and why they felt they would be an excellent choice. I had the pleasure of meeting Yolanda when she came to the launch of the "Let's Double the Women" campaign back in February. I was thrilled she applied for our bicycle safety trainers scholarship. Yolanda is currently working on the documentary film "RIDE: in Living Color" a ground-breaking documentary that will tell the stories of African American cyclists that are intricately intertwined within diverse communities in California and beyond. The film and campaign will take a look inside at how cycling in urban American communities is increasing in numbers and participation -both recreationally and professionally. It is a topic that has not been viewed or discussed much within the media and that is just what RIDE: In Living Color will do.
Yolanda in Her Own Words
Fifteen years ago, I was transformed. After doing the AIDS Ride in 1996 at the age of 35 (a nearly 400 mile ride over seven days, starting in San Francisco and ending in Los Angeles) my life changed. After this RIDE, I no longer just road a bike – I understood what it meant to move on two wheels and experience the space and communities around me. After this RIDE, I knew what it felt like to be in good shape and actually thought much clearer in my daily decision making. After this RIDE, I wanted and want to be on a bike to simply enjoy life and all the benefits that come along with it rolling on two wheels.
As a child, I road my bike almost every weekend with my sister and neighborhood friends. We grew up and went to school in an area that is now called South Central LA. Growing up in the sixties was a different time – as children we were freer and able to explore much more than what our youth are able to do today. I have two children – ages 10 and 15, and they unfortunately have missed the opportunity to ride like I did as a child – because of the concern that the streets of Los Angeles are not the safest streets to ride a bike.
I am looking to make riding the bike not only a part of my lifestyle but my family’s lifestyle – mother, daughter and son – and in so doing, I can genuinely make it a part of my community’s lifestyle. As the old adage goes – “practice what you preach.”
I have been involved with a wide range of advocacy and riding programs as well as have been activity riding for the past 15years. Organizations such as the Bicycle Advisory Committee for the City of Los Angles and community races and fundraisers in the City of Inglewood for the once very influential bike shop City of Bicycles in Inglewood. I am currently conversing and collaborating with bike top industry professionals, Jay Townley and Elliot Gluskin who conduct overview workshop at the Interbike Conference and Expo in Las Vegas, on research based statistics on the treads of America’s biking activity. In my effort to promote and advocate for the environment and riding, we will be showing a cut of our film RIDE: In Living Color in the Making on April 22nd, Earth Day.
In concluding, my goal in becoming a League Certified Bicycle Safety Instructors (LCI) is to merge my leadership skills as a teacher to educate, encourage and empower participates within my community. The way I see it, giving back 25 hours to educate our youth and adults on how to ride safely on the street of South Los Angeles will be worth every minute. We will surely, through our already established network of friends and followers on Facebook, Twitter, other forms of ongoing publicity and our website keep all informed on the activity of the hands-on training I would do and all the training and other resources available thereafter.
You can find out more about Yolanda and her "RIDE: in Living Color" documentary on her website: http://www.RIDEinlivingcolor.com
Help the "Let's Double the Women & Girls Riding Bikes" Campaign Succeed!
If you're inspired by Yolanda's words please consider donating to our campaign to help fund this scholarship! You can find all of our donation levels here. Or if you would like a special sponsorship created for your business or organization please contact Melissa Balmer at (562) 612-0197 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.